The Role of Experts across Two Different Arenas in a Deliberative System

The 35-page article, The Role of Experts across Two Different Arenas in a Deliberative System (2017), was written by Rousiley C. M. Maia, Marcela D. Laranjeira, and Pedro S. Mundim, and published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 13: Iss. 1. In the article, the authors respond to the call to explore a deliberative systems perspective by looking at how one arena of deliberation affects another; they do this by exploring the role of experts in two distinct arenas of legislative public hearings and the media. Read an excerpt of the article below and find the PDF available for download on the Journal of Public Deliberation site here.

From the introduction…

Recently, several deliberative scholars have called for a systemic approach to deliberation in order to expand the scale of analysis beyond individual sites or institutions and tap into the complexity of interrelations among parts in the political system (Bächtiger & Wegmann, 2014; Dryzek & Hendriks, 2012; Goodin, 2005; Maia, 2012; Mansbridge et al., 2012; Neblo, 2015; Parkinson, 2006, 2012; Steiner, 2014; Thompson, 2008). While empirical scholars have been developing ever more sophisticated analyses on deliberation and have brought careful empirical evidence to warrant their claims, most studies are conducted in one single arena or in a separate institution. Thus, interconnections among arenas remain poorly understood, and current research designs fail to take note (particularly through systematic measurement) of how findings in one environment relate to other arenas in regards to the larger purposes of democracy. Whereas the systemic approach to deliberation seems genuinely innovative and attractive, empirical research in this field is underdeveloped.

In this article, we attempt to add a layer to this field. While previous studies have compared debate across different assemblies or parliamentary settings (Stasavage, 2007; Steiner, Bächtiger, Spörndli, & Steenbergen, 2004), we are interested in investigating the role played by a particular actor – the experts – regarding a specific debate in two distinct discursive arenas: legislative public hearings and the media. Although the literature has asserted that this actor can play different roles within democracy (Brown, 2014; Christiano, 2009, 2012; Pielke, 2007), we still have a vague notion of how experts’ opinions in face-to-face discussions in forums can be compared to the mediated comments in the media. We assume part of the systemic function of public hearings is to inform expectations about policy-making choices in face to face meetings. Media-based communication is important to draw public attention to issues of public concern and helping citizens to understand public processes and policies. Processes of mediation by media professionals, considering both technological apparatus and institutional organization, operate with their own logic, needs and standards of newsworthiness (Esser & Strömbäck, 2014; Ferree, Gamson, Gerhards, & Rucht, 2002; Gastil, 2008; Schudson, 2003). By paying attention to the news media within the deliberative system, we follow Dryzek and Hendriks’ (2012, Kindle Locations 897-912) suggestion that “it might be a good idea to work on the parts of the political system that are the least deliberative, where policy debates are highly exclusive, and where the rationale for decisions cannot easily be scrutinized.” Then, we ask how experts express and justify their opinions on public policy in a deliberatively designed forum as well as when they are quoted in the news media. We inquire into the kinds of reasons presented and whether it is possible to find experts’ engagement with conflicting views in these settings.

Through a case study, we investigate the debate around a contentious issue – a bill of law proposing the relocation of a bus station from downtown to a more remote district in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We look at how this controversy played out over two years (2007 and 2008) in: a) public hearings (ALMG) organized by the local government; and b) three major local daily newspapers. Our empirical procedures follow the guidelines of the Discursive Quality Index (DQI), as developed by Steiner, Bächtiger, Spörndli and Steenbergen (2004) and Steiner (2012). Findings reveal that experts, despite facing different conditions, played a fairly similar role in the legislative hearings and as sources in the mass media. Whereas partisan positions for and against the policy at stake had different configurations in these settings, the majority of speakers appealed to technical arguments, and they disputed experts’ diagnoses, knowledge and recommendations to win political disputes.

While focusing only on two sites, we understand this study has some implications for suggesting how the systemic investigation of deliberation can be broadened. First, this study has analytical implications for current research on the role of experts on deliberation, which has proposed that citizens should conduct some checks on the experts’ knowledge input that affects the decision-making process. This study examines practical circumstances of such exchange in both a microsetting (public hearings) and a macro-situation of public debate (the mass media). Second, this article can contribute empirically by examining how a collection of experts can produce intelligibility of controversial policy proposals and clarify policy choices across different settings.

This article is organized in the following manner. First, it outlines a critique of experts in democratic processes and surveys theoretical attempts to reconcile the role of expertise with democratic deliberation. Second, the analysis discusses inclusion in debates, processes of reason-giving and discursive accountability, focusing on public hearings and the news media. Third, we characterize our case study, the methodology and the main issues that structure our research questions. The remaining sections present our empirical results and a discussion on the empirical and theoretical implications of our findings.

Download the full article from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.

About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Journal of Public DeliberationSpearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.

Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem

Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA

Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol13/iss1/art2/

Upcoming 2018 IAP2 Trainings with TPC

If you are looking for D&D trainings to kick off your year, we encourage you to check out the new calendar of trainings offered by NCDD member organization The Participation Company. TCP offers certification in the International Association for Public Participation‘s model, and dues-paying NCDD members get a discount on registration! We encourage you to to read more about the trainings in the TCP announcement below or learn more here.


The Participation Company’s 2018 Training Events

If you work in communications, public relations, public affairs, planning, public outreach and understanding, community development, advocacy, or lobbying, this training will help you to increase your skills and to be of even greater value to your employer.

This is your chance to join the many thousands of practitioners worldwide who have completed the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) certificate training.

AICP members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for these courses.

Foundations in Public Participation (5-Day) Certificate Program:

Planning for Effective Public Participation (3-Days) and/or *Techniques for Effective Public Participation (2-Days)

  • Jan. 31-Feb 2 in Boulder, CO:  3-day Planning
  • Mar. 19-23 in Phoenix, AZ: 5-day Both courses
  • Jul. 30-Aug 3 in Minneapolis, MN: 5-day Both courses
  • Sep. 24-28: Chicago, IL: 5-day Both courses

*The 3-Day Planning training is a prerequisite to Techniques training

IAP2’s Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation (2-Days)
formally Emotion, Outrage – newly revised and renamed

  • Mar. 26-27 in Salt Lake City, UT
  • Apr. 19-2o in Orange County, CA
  • Apr. 26-27 in Los Angeles County, CA
  • Jun. 28-29 in Denver, CO
  • Jul. 26-27 in Minneapolis, MN
  • Oct. 18-19 in Chicago, IL

Register online for these trainings at www.theparticipationcompany.com/training

We also anticipate additional training coming to the following cities:

Foundations: Chicago, DC area, Orlando
Strategies/Outrage: Las Vegas, San Diego

The Participation Company (TPC) offers discounted rates to NCDD members. 

TPC can also assist you and your organization in other endeavors! Our team of highly experienced professionals help government and business clients manage public issues to accomplish client’s objectives. We can plan and manage your participation project from start to finish. We can provide strategic advice and direction. We can coach and mentor your staff and managers. We help you build agreements and craft durable and defensible decisions.

NCDD Board Member on Protecting our Civic Ecosystem

Our NCDD board member, Jacob Hess recently wrote a piece in which he correlates the increasing call to protect our threatened natural ecosystems with the need to also protect our democratic ecosystem. In the article, he shares his experience adapting Living Room Conversations in Utah by collaborating with individuals and organizations already doing civic engagement work, of which developed into a thriving network of civically-engaged folks. We encourage you to read Jacob’s piece below or find the original here.


Preserving and Protecting Our Precious Civic Ecosystem

Lots of attention is going today to physical habitat under siege (and for good reason): without more attention, many of these beautiful areas might go away, or be irreparably damaged. For that reason, many believe that energy invested in this protection and preservation is well spent.

Far less attention, however, goes to the way our civic ecosystem remains under increasing siege. What began as occasional concern for the hostility in the U.S. media and elected leaders, has become widespread trepidation regarding public animosities deepening in every direction, on nearly every issue.

Some believe that without more attention, this precious civic ecosystem could go away or likewise become irreparably damaged, thus prompting similar calls for additional investment to protect and preserve this fragile democratic habitat.

A case study in Utah. Starting in 2014, I had the opportunity to work for Living Room Conversations in a Utah experiment to help cultivate the civic ecosystem there. Rather than plowing up the roots already in place (or riding into town with the “newfangled solutions”), it felt important to build upon and leverage whatever rich habitat already existed.

Thus we began with a local reconnaissance reaching out to 20 different civics organizations to find out what had already been done (it turns out, a lot, as you can see here in a general summary and here in a more recent success in LGBT-religious conservative dialogue). After meeting with a number of leaders in the past work, including John Kesler (Salt Lake Civil Network), Michele Straube (Environmental Dispute Resolution, U of U) and David Derezotes (Peace & Conflict Studies, U of U), I was struck at how underrecognized and little known their efforts were, compared to much louder initiatives that captured the public eye.

Given the lack of recognition and continuing suspicion this kind of bridge-building elicited from many, we have experimented with different ways to connect more people to the possibility of vibrant and productive “disagreement practice”, as defined in the AllSides Dictionary.

Small is big. Perhaps the most obvious way to do so is meeting people where they are – in their own homes and communities. From my own early experiences, I quickly became mesmerized by the almost magical power of small group gatherings to bring people together across divides (see Eating Hummus With the ‘Enemy’: From Aversion to Affection).

We subsequently experimented with different ways to introduce people in Utah to this Living Room Conversation practice, from a local press release with offers of free consultation, to highlights of a filmed conversation, to even going door to door with invitations in my own neighborhood. Our conversations ranged from gun rights and evolution, to women’s rights and same-sex marriage/religious freedom. Everyone who participated came away feeling uplifted and encouraged. Out of all these efforts, two additional lessons became clear: (1) The pervasive busyness of American culture remained the largest barrier to involvement: why should I take away time from other things to do this? (2) As simple as these conversations seem, they elicit some visceral fears in some people of political confrontation or dangerous exposures. That explains another parallel dialogue “gateway” that we attempted.

Easing concerns with a PARTY! Alongside direct invitations to try it in your own home, we also organized larger community events where people could come have some food, laugh and watch a high-quality conversation take place on stage. This was possible due to the critical support of our key partner, Utah Humanities, in two different “seasons” of dialogue events. As you can see in the highlights from our inaugural Village Square event, we intentionally aimed to make the atmosphere light and social.

After repeating this approach in a dialogue on the secular/religious divide in Utah, we got feedback that people wanted more of a chance to explore the issue on their own, rather than just listen to a panel explore it. So in each event since – immigration, policing, climate change, racial bias – we have done a hybrid Village Square / Living Room Conversation model, where we begin with small table conversations over a meal before turning to a panel and then ending with small debriefing conversations.

The success of these efforts over time led to a larger, day-long gathering, that we called the Utah Citizen Summit. Sponsored by nearly 15 prominent Utah organizations, this event brought together local citizens and national speakers to first, learn how and practice dialogue, and then celebrate positive steps being taken. That event expanded our network to include the Salt Lake Public Library system, The Deseret News (the largest newspaper in the state), Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ office, the Governor’s Office of Civic & Character Education, the NAACP, and the conservative Sutherland Institute.

Equipping citizen leaders. Even with all this, however, we noticed most people were hesitant and not confident in their own capacity to make any difference. Thanks to a grant from the Bridge Alliance, we’ve started an ongoing series of training for citizens who want to grow in their capacity to lead conversations, using the Essential Partners “Power of Dialogue” trainings as a vehicle.

Each participant comes away from these trainings with a new awareness of the many approaches they might use in their own community.

Building a practice network. One single event or training is not enough, though. As with most any craft, real time and work is needed to hone and develop the practice.For that reason, we have been deliberate about developing a network of dialogue practitioners throughout the state. This includes in-person and zoom meetings, as well as ongoing coordination in how to support each other’s work.

Like those who gather who practice meditation and gather with others for ongoing support and training, we aim to be a community of like-minded folks who support each other in “honing the craft.” Part of this “practice network” approach is helping each other make space and time for the practice, much like a meditation network encourages each other to “keep practicing.”

Why do we make time for this?

Because it’s worth prioritizing. Rather than waiting for national leaders to figure out how to talk across differences, our network of Utah citizens are committed to do whatever we can cultivate and preserve the civic ecosystem in our own communities. Once again, instead of advocating one technique, one organization or one practice as holding the singular capacity to “save” us from our current political atrophy, our overriding focus is on the complex and multiform civic ecosystem needed in order for communities to thrive. Just as, in nature, no single species in an ecosystem can thrive without a degree of interdependence on other forms of life, so too must efforts toward constructive dialogue draw strength from a web of other existing efforts. In this way, we envision Utah becoming a national model of what it takes to fight to protect a robust ecosystem for civic engagement, and in this way, strengthen our democracy.

You can find the original version of Jacob Hess’ article at: www.livingroomconversations.org/preserving-and-protecting-our-precious-civic-ecosystem/.

What Should We Do About The Opioid Epidemic? (NIFI Issue Advisory)

The National Issues Forum Institute released the six-page Issue Advisory, What Should We Do About The Opioid Epidemic?, published October 2017. The issue advisory presents three options to use during deliberation on how society can address the rising opioid epidemic that has swept the U.S. The issue advisory is available for free download on NIFI’s site here, as well as, a post-forum questionnaire.

From NIFI…

Drug abuse, a problem the United States has faced for decades, has taken a sharp and lethal turn with the rise of opioids—both legal pain- killers, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, and illegal ones like heroin.

More than 64,000 Americans were killed by drug overdoses in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and at least two-thirds of those deaths were caused by opioids. That is worse than the peak of the HIV epidemic in 1995 and more than the number of US combat deaths in the entire Vietnam War.

In the last year, doctors wrote more than 236 million prescriptions for opioids, or about one for every American adult. But many patients became addicted to the painkillers as their bodies began to tolerate higher and higher doses. Others, if they could no longer get prescriptions, switched to heroin; then came the even deadlier fentanyl.

Now drug abuse is so widespread it is even affecting productivity–employers say they can’t fill positions because too many applicants fail a drug test. The Federal Reserve reports that opioid addiction may be shrinking the number of job applicants because it is keeping otherwise able-bodied people out of the workforce.

The problem exists in almost every community throughout the United States, though it has hit hardest in the Northeast, the Midwest, and Appalachian regions, where joblessness and poverty have hollowed out many small towns and left families in desperate circumstances. In Cincinnati, Ohio, police estimated that police officers and paramedics spent at least 102 hours tending to overdose patients in just one week. Responding to the crisis is straining the budgets of many small towns and counties.

Doctors and nurses now see the epidemic’s effects on the next generation, a wave of babies born addicted to painkillers or heroin. Sara Murray and Rhonda Edmunds, nurses in Huntington, West Virginia, founded Lily’s Place, a facility for addicted babies and their mothers.

“The devil has come to Huntington,” Murray said on CNN. “We have generational addiction and that’s their normal. It was their mother’s normal. It was their grandmother’s normal. And now, it’s their normal.”

What should we do to relieve the opioid epidemic facing our communities? This issue advisory presents three options for deliberation, along with their drawbacks. Each option offers advantages as well as risks. If we increase enforcement, for example, this may result in many more people in prison. If we reduce the number of prescriptions written, we may increase suffering among people with painful illnesses.

Option 1: Focus on Treatment for All
This option says that, given the rising number of deaths from opioids, we are not devoting enough resources to treatment to make real headway in turning around the epidemic. Addiction is primarily a medical and behavioral problem, and those are the best tools for combating the crisis. Treatment should be available on demand for anyone who wants it. At the same time, the pharmaceutical companies that have profited from making and promoting opioid painkillers need to contribute more to the solution

Option 2: Focus on Enforcement
This option says that our highest priority must be keeping our communities safe and preventing people from becoming addicted in the first place. Strong enforcement measures are needed, including crackdowns and harsher sentences for dealers, distributors, and overprescribing doctors. And we should take tougher measures to cut off the supply of drugs at the source. Addiction to opioids and other hard drugs brings with it crime and other dangers, and closing our eyes to these dangers only makes the problem worse. Mandatory drug testing for more workers is needed. In the long run, a tough approach is the most compassionate.

Option 3: Focus on Individual Choice
This option recognizes that society cannot force treatment on people. We should not continue to waste money on a failed “war on drugs” in any form. Only those who wish to be free of addiction end up recovering. We should be clear that crime will not be tolerated, but if people who use drugs are not harming society or behaving dangerously, they should be tolerated and allowed to use safely, even if they are damaging their own lives. Those who do not or cannot make the decision to get well should not be forced, and communities shouldn’t spend their limited resources trying to force treatment on people.

About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/issue-advisory-what-should-we-do-about-opioid-epidemic

Exciting Updates from the Center for Public Deliberation

We want to lift up the work going on in our network and the incredible value it brings to improving dialogue and deliberation, public engagement and democracy. To show the value of both the work going on in our field and why we encourage you to support NCDD during our End-of-Year fund drive.

As part of the Fund Drive, we will be sharing the highlights from around the field every week and why we believe in this network’s vital work. That’s why we want to share these exciting updates from our NCDD Board Chair, Martín Carcasson, co-founder and director of the Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) at Colorado State University, and the talented CPD alumni.

Martín gave a “CivicEdTalk” keynote at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) meeting that took place in Baltimore, Maryland from June 7-10, 2017. The talk, which you can find here, is a condensed version of his NCDD bootcamp talk that some of you may be familiar with, tailored to the higher ed audience. He talks about how we engage communities to work to address the “wicked problems,” that he describes as “not bad people with wicked values, but the wickedness is in the problem and not the people.” By framing it this way, the situation shifts people from a less adversarial place to a more collaborative one. We recommend you check out his Facebook page called “the Wicked Problems Mindset,” for more information.

Martín has an upcoming online webinar with IAP2 called “Beginning with the Brain in Mind” on how to build public processes by taking human nature into consideration. Learn how to avoid the negative human tendencies like confirmation bias and selection exposure, and instead tap our positive aspects like creativity and empathy. The webinar is on December 12th at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern and you can register for it by clicking here.

We also wanted to share some of the fantastic work his CPD colleagues and alumni have produced…

  • Kalie McMonagle, the new CPD Program Manager, released the report called, “Partnering for Inclusion: Recruitment strategies for deliberative conversations”, which focuses on how cross-sector partners gathered participants to engage in deliberative conversations.
  • Samantha Maldonado released the report, “Inclusion Around the Cycle: Applying strategies of sufficient inclusion throughout the cycle of deliberative inquiry”on being more inclusive before/during/after deliberative events.
  • Leah Sprain, former CPD Associate Director, released the report, “Citizens Speaking as Experts: Expertise discourse in deliberative forums”.

You can keep up with the CPD’s work at their website or on Facebook.

Keep an eye on the blog and NCDD’s social media this month (and always) for more great updates from the dialogue & deliberation field. Don’t forget to help NCDD and our network continue the important work of sharing the stories of the power of D&D, collaborating, and connecting to improve our work, by contributing to the NCDD End-of-Year Fund Drive!

Land of Plenty: How Should We Ensure that People Have the Food They Need? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The 25-page issue guide, Land of Plenty: How Should We Ensure that People Have the Food They Need?, was published June 2017 from National Issues Forums Institute and Kettering Foundation.. The issue guide offers participants three options to use during deliberation on how to address the inequities within the current food system and how to create a world where all people have the food they need to thrive. The issue guide is available to download for free on NIFI’s site here, where you can also find a post-forum questionnaire.

From NIFI…

All of us affect, and are affected by, the food system: students who grow and eat carrots and tomatoes from their school garden; farm owners who maintain patches of natural habitat for bees; immigrants who hand-pick our apples, grapes, and oranges; public employees who design food-nutrition labels and monitor food safety; restaurant workers who take our orders and serve our meals; food reporters who write about ethnic cuisine; local groups of gleaners who keep edible food out of the dumpster and put it to good use; food pantries that teach teenagers to garden on vacant lots; parents who work to stretch their food budgets to the next payday; policymakers who determine agricultural subsidies; community members who advocate for policies to ensure that all of us have the food we need.

While we have one of the most productive and efficient food systems in the world, millions of people in the US still fall between the cracks. People who may have enough to eat today worry about the availability and quality of food for future generations.

This guide explores different approaches and actions that are, or could be, taken to create a food system that works for all of us. While the approaches overlap in some respects, they do suggest different priorities and involve different trade-offs. With this in mind, what should we do to ensure that people from all walks of life have the food they need?

This issue guide placemat presents three options for deliberation:

Option 1: Improve Access to Nutritious Food
Despite our nation’s abundance of food, some people still don’t have enough to eat, which undermines their health, productivity, and overall well-being. According to this option, we need a food system that ensures everyone has a stable source of affordable, nutritious food. We must strengthen our school nutrition programs and food assistance for low-income families, as well as improve access to fresh food in rural and low-income communities.

Option 2: Pay More Attention to the Multiple Benefits of Food
We have drifted away from traditions and principles that once helped us enjoy a healthier relationship to food, according to this option. We all need to be better informed about the foods we choose, their nutritional value, and how they’re produced and processed. Rather than allowing food advertisements to determine our choices, we need to pay closer attention to what we value about our food, traditions, and well-being.

Option 3: Be Good Stewards of the Food System
We are not managing our food system as well as we should, according to this option. We must do more to safeguard the quality and availability of food for generations to come. Good stewardship is needed at every link in the food-supply chain, from the seeds we plant to the reduction of food waste. It also includes preserving our natural resources, choosing sustainable methods of production, and strengthening the food-system workforce.

Preview the starter video above. Like what you see? Press the ‘BUY’ button in the upper right hand corner of the video. Your purchase includes UNLIMITED streaming and downloads of this starter video.

NIF-Logo2014About NIFI Issue Guides
NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/land-of-plenty

NCDD Orgs Team up for Public Engagement Training

We wanted to let the NCDD network know about these training opportunities coming up with our friends at the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) and Public Agenda (PA). These two NCDD member orgs have teamed up to dive deep into public engagement skills at an in-person workshop in NYC, which also is part of PBP’s final module for their Summer Implementation Institute. Coming up this Weds July 26, is PBP’s final FREE webinar on breaking barriers for outreach during the Idea Collection phase – the third module in the Summer Implementation Institute. Next week, Public Agenda will doing a two-day workshop to strengthen public engagement strategy on July 31-August 1, with PBP presenting their session on the second day.

Coming up…

  • THIS Weds July 26: final FREE webinar with PBP, from 3pm – 5pm Eastern, 12pm – 3pm Pacific
  • July 31st: Public Agenda workshop in NYC
  • August 1st: Joint workshop with PBP and Public Agenda in NYC

To RSVP for the PBP webinar, click here. To register for the PA and/or PBP in-person NYC workshop[s], click here. For more on PBP’s Summer Implementation Institute, follow the hashtag #PBPInstitute on Twitter for more participant quotes, questions, and experiences! You can read the announcements from PBP and PA below or find the original on PA’s site here.


From the Participatory Budgeting Project

At the Participatory Budgeting Project, we’re wrapping up the first-ever PB Network Summer Implementation Institute with a final free webinar on Wednesday and an in-person session in NYC on August 1st.

On our final free webinar, we’re talking about outreach strategies used to generate ideas from non-English speakers, young people and court-involved people during Idea Collection!

Kenneth Tang from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and our West Coast Project Manager, Francesco Tena, will present on their local experience in two flagship PB processes: Oakland (the first process to do PB with federal funds in the U.S.) and Boston (the first youth PB process in the U.S.)

Join other PB-implementing staff and officials from across North America to:

  • Discuss record-breaking outreach strategies.
  • Dive into the challenges and benefits of using innovative outreach tactics in PB idea collection.
  • Collaboratively brainstorm ways to improve and expand outreach in communities where there are barriers to civic participation.
  • Receive tools and resources to use in your PB processes and in your work more broadly.

Likewise, if you’re interested in taking community leadership in government to the next level, join our in-person Steering Committees 101 workshop hosted in New York City next month, in partnership with Public Agenda. This session is focused on building and sustaining effective community leadership in democratic processes.

When: Tuesday August 1
Where: New York City
Cost: $200 REGULAR admission and $75 STUDENT admission. Or, check out the registration page for the full two-day workshop on public engagement with Public Agenda!
Register: Here

Hope to see you Wednesday and in August!

From Public Agenda

Looking for assistance with organizing and sustaining productive public engagement? Struggling to decide how to use online engagement tools? Frustrated with the standard “2 minutes at the microphone” public meeting? Need expert advice on bringing together a diverse critical mass of people?

Our Public Engagement team is leading a 1.5 day workshop on how you can hone an effective engagement strategy along with a special session led by our friends at the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP).

On July 31, Public Agenda’s Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will:

  • Provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of public engagement today;
  • Help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of public engagement in your community;
  • Explore potential benefits of more sustained forms of participation;
  • Demonstrate a mix of small group and large group discussions, interactive exercises, case studies and practical application exercises

On Aug 1, during Session 1, we’ll focus more squarely on options and next steps that participants can take in their communities. These sessions will help participants to:

  • Develop skills for planning stronger engagement systems;
  • List existing community assets that can be instrumental for sustained engagement;
  • Anticipate common challenges to planning for stronger systems;
  • Develop an initial set of next steps to pursue.

During the afternoon session of August 1, PBP will present “Steering Committees 101: Centering community experience & expertise.”

This PBP session is part of PBP’s first-ever Summer Implementation Institute hosted by the North American Participatory Budgeting Network, consisting of 4 modules. The in-person session in New York City is preceded by three online webinars. Each module focuses on a particular phase of participatory budgeting (PB) starting with the PB vote and working backwards through proposal development, idea collection, and building a PB process with community leaders. Along with registering for this in-person session, you can RSVP for the three webinars from PBP here.

The in-person session in New York City is focused on building and sustaining effective community leadership in democratic processes. Here, leaders in community engagement will come together to share experiences, discuss pain points, and solve challenges. This session stems from an asset-based approach to community leadership within PB and beyond. Although focused on PB, this session is applicable to all public engagement practices centered in community experience and expertise.

You can find the original announcement on Public Agenda’s website at www.publicagenda.org/pages/workshop-public-engagement-strategy-in-new-york-city.