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About Us

Topos has as its mission to explore and ultimately change the landscape of public understanding where public interest issues play out.










When traditional tools aren’t enough

The Topos approach is designed to go beyond conventional research and strategy — which has often led advocates to a “plateau” of support that they can’t seem to get beyond — by taking into account the cognitive and cultural foundations of a public interest issue. Our unique and innovative approach to developing framing strategies synthesizes new methods adapted from the cognitive and social sciences with the more familiar methods and perspectives of public opinion research and communications practice, in a single process that leads to new insights, uncovers hidden directions, and provides advocates with new options for success.

The Topos Partnership has as its mission to explore and ultimately change the landscape of public understanding where public interest issues play out. Founded by Axel Aubrun and Joe Grady of Cultural Logic and Meg Bostrom of Public Knowledge, Topos was created to bring together the range of expertise needed to understand existing issue dynamics, explore possibilities for creating new issue understanding, develop a proven course of action, and arm advocates with new communications tools to win support.

For more resources outlining the Topos approach go to Resources.

Axel Aubrun photo

Axel Aubrun – Co-founder

Axel Aubrun, Ph.D., is a psychological anthropologist who focuses on long-term culture change. He has authored articles in publications ranging from the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute to Non-Profit Quarterly. Aubrun is a graduate of Amherst College, Oxford University, and the University of California, San Diego, where he spent a year lecturing in cultural anthropology before co-founding Topos.

Meg Bostrom – Co-founder

Meg Bostrom is a veteran communications strategist with a unique perspective resulting from her rich and varied experiences as communicator, public opinion analyst, advertising agency executive, and political consultant. As co-founder of the Topos Partnership, she has researched public opinion and analyzed communications strategies on a wide range of social issues.

Joe Grady photo

Joe Grady – Co-founder

Joseph Grady, Ph.D. is a cognitive linguist whose academic research and publications have focused on the role of metaphor in thought and communication. Before founding Topos, Grady taught linguistics at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, and also spent a number of years as a consultant helping to analyze and develop brand names. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Andrew Brown – Research Director

Andrew Brown, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist whose research has looked at the interaction between culture, rhetoric and public discourse. His work has included cross-cultural research in the US, Ireland and the former Soviet Union. He has taught at Colby College and the University College Cork and serves as Research Director.

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Mariama Eversley – Field Researcher

Mariama is an anthropologist, researcher, and organizer. She currently serves as the embedded historian fellow at Blights Out, an art-based community organizing initiative in New Orleans. Before this, Mariama worked as a client advocate at the Orleans Public Defenders office providing paralegal and social work support to clients and lawyers. She also coordinated the city’s prostitution diversion program. Mariama continues to blog about mass incarceration and housing.

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Monica Gallego – Project Manager

Monica Gallego serves as Topos’ Project Manager and bi-lingual research coordinator. She is a California native, born of Colombian parents. She has worked in education teaching Ecology/Nature Conservation and Spanish and holds a BS in Marketing.

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Diane Garbow – Field Researcher

Diane Garbow, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist whose research examines Colombian and Latino immigration to the US, federal and local immigration policies, race and citizenship. She has taught courses in both Anthropology and Latin American Studies.

Charles Lord photo

Charles Lord – Analyst

Charles Lord, Ph.D. began his academic training in cultural anthropology, exploring the interactions of culture and education in North Africa, and ultimately received his doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Michigan, based on ethnographic study of US community colleges.

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Katherine Metzo – Analyst

Katherine Metzo, PhD is an applied socio-cultural anthropologist who focuses on strategic planning, human-centered design, and community engagement. Her research and publications address food systems, local economies, sustainability, and wellness in the Unites States and Russia. She has taught at Indiana University, IUPUI, UNC-Charlotte, Martin Luther University (Germany), Buriat State University (Russia), and Winthrop University.

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Michelle Munyikwa – Analyst

Michelle Munyikwa is an MD/PhD student in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies the intersection of race, gender, and migration in the United States.

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Julia Offen – Analyst

Julia Offen has a PhD in cultural anthropology, an MA in Sociology and an MFA in English, and has conducted ethnographic research among circus performers in central Europe.

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Amy Tennant – Research Assistant

Amy Tennant is a Research Assistant and Transcriber for Topos Partnership.

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Greg Tennant – Filmmaker

Greg Tennant has been a filmmaker and videographer for over 30 years. His work includes dramatic fiction, feature-length documentary, nonfiction television, and ethnographic research. He is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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Remy Trupin – Senior Fellow

Remy Trupin is a creative, strategic and entrepreneurial leader with extensive policy advocacy experience.  Remy was the founding executive director of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, an organizing which he led and grew into a national model.  He brings strategic insight from working with organizations and coalitions developing and implementing legislative advocacy, communication and ballot campaigns. Remy volunteers board leadership and strategic advice to social service, civic and human rights organizations and is an American Marshall Memorial Fellow.

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Margy Waller – Senior Fellow

Margy Waller is a veteran policy advocate and communicator whose past work has included serving as Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Senior Advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton-Gore White House, Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and Director of Public Policy at United Way of America.  She joins Topos as a Senior Fellow and will use her expertise to help expand the reach and impact of our work.

Zak Wear – Assistant Research Director

Zak Wear is a graduate of Guilford College with a B.A. in Political Science. Based in the Bay Area, his work spans grassroots campaign organizing, New Economy initiatives and faith-centered advocacy.

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Brittany Webb – Analyst

Brittany Webb is a doctoral candidate in the anthropology department at Temple and her ethnographic research is on the political economy and professional networks that produce black heritage museum exhibits and festivals in Philadelphia and Havana.

 

 

 

 

Collaborating with the Topos team is an inspiration and a pleasure. Their creativity, versatility, and integrity would be assets to any communications or public engagement project. They consistently produce research findings that are both profoundly illuminating and genuinely useful. In fact, Meg, Joe, and Axel are among a small handful of innovators whose work is transforming the way progressive advocates approach messaging and movement-building challenges. They are also exceptionally generous, supportive colleagues – a joy to work with.
Priscilla Lewis
Director, the U.S. in the World project of Dēmos

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