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The Culture Hack Curriculum

Reframing narratives: The Iceberg Exercise

In the previous video, we gave you an overview of how we reframe narratives. A simple way to guide you through this process is to use the image of an iceberg and outline three steps. 

Step 1: Analyze metaphor, truth & ideology

The metaphor of the iceberg is often used in narrative work and is a useful way to understand the narrative form model quickly (from Module 2).

Narratives are like icebergs, there is a visible part above the surface and a hidden part, under the water:

  1. The part that is visible are the messages and communications that are the actions and expressions of the narrative. 
  2. The not visible section of the iceberg represents the deep layers of the narrative (the frames, metaphors, logics, and ideologies).

What we are most interested in, are frames because frames unify the whole narrative into a coherent view. To identify the frames, we must first focus on the metaphors, logics and ideology in the messages. 

Metaphors used in the messages give us the most insights. Metaphors are comparisons between two things. That means we can understand one thing in terms of another.  For example, the metaphor ‘the economy is growing’ invokes the sensation of natural growth.  The frame here is economic growth. The logic that sustains this frame is that we can grow the economy infinitely on a finite planet. The ideology behind that is neoliberalism.

The longer notes offer prompt questions to analyze the narratives you collected from your data using the iceberg activity and complete step 1 of the reframing process. Remember to use one iceberg per narrative community.

Step 2: Change the metaphor, truth & Ideology

The next step in the iceberg exercise will be to use your narrative objectives to flip the deep logics of this frame to create a change according to your point of view (POV).

The longer notes guide you through how to change each of the aspects you identified in Step 1 and provide an example.

Step 3: Create a new frame

In this step, you will come up with a new narrative frame that embodies your new metaphor, truth construct, and ideology. These new frames will be used in the last part of this module to create the narrative strategy for your hack. You will find prompt questions in the longer notes to help you complete this exercise.


  1.  Neoliberalism is an ideology and policy model that applies market principles to all areas of society beyond the economy and assumes individuals are self interested rational actors. It is a version of late-stage capitalism. Read more.