Tuning in and Shifting Strategy with Ben Franklin Circles

As part of our partnership with NCDD member org, Ben Franklin Circles, we have been sharing stories from those participating in the circles and some of the key learning that has taken place during the process. Read the remarkable change that happened in Victoria Fann’s BF Circle when she decided to step back from facilitating and have the circle members take the rein. You can read the post below and find the original post on BFC’s site here.


The Spirit of Community

My Ben Franklin Circle in Weaverville, NC has been meeting since November 2017. Since I have been facilitating groups of various kinds since 1989, stepping into the role of facilitator for this group was easy for me. We met for the first four months with me asking most of the questions, reading the quotes and gently steering the conversation if we strayed away from the topic.

This seemed to work well, but something was missing. I had a gnawing feeling that there was a better way to structure our little group. Based on some words from his autobiography, I knew that Ben Franklin would heartily agree. For example, he writes, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Involvement was precisely what we needed!

The first small step in this direction took place at our February meeting. Instead of discussing the virtues in the order listed on the Ben Franklin Circle website, I decided to write each one of the remaining virtues on small slips of paper and fold them up. I brought those papers to the meeting and placed them in a hat. At the end or our discussion, I asked a member to draw out one of the slips of paper, saying that we would discuss whatever virtue was chosen.

This felt good—so good, in fact, that at the March meeting, I decided to take this idea a step further. Prior to the meeting, I wrote out that month’s virtue questions and quotes provided by the Ben Franklin Circle website onto small slips of paper, folded them and placed them into a bowl at our host’s house. I then invited members to draw one out and read it aloud to the group to prompt our discussion. I also encouraged members to add their own questions.

Franklin’s very own group, on which the BF Circles are based, encouraged a similar involvement from the members of the group as he writes here: “I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year, I had form’d most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the JUNTO; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.”

What we discovered during that meeting was that having the members chose the questions at random and read them to the group led to a much deeper level of conversation. I suspect this was because the playing field had been leveled and everyone felt more engaged and involved than when I was the one asking most of the questions. My leadership role softened as I yielded to this more community-based approach. Our trust of each other and our willingness to explore the outer edges of the virtue increased exponentially. Plus, there was almost a palpable feeling of relief among all of us once we shifted into this more egalitarian way of relating to each other. It was clear we’d been seeking it all along.

The lesson for me was a reminder of how important it is to tune into the specific needs of a situation without assumptions, agendas or formulas, but rather an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Though initially my “expertise” proved to be a hindrance, the group process itself became the catalyst that allowed the solution to emerge effortlessly.

Thank you, Ben Franklin.

Victoria Fann is a writer, transformational coach, group facilitator and workshop leader. Her Ben Franklin Circle meets in Weaverville, NC.

You can find the original version of this post on Ben Franklin Circles’ site at https://benfranklincircles.org/ben-franklin-circle-hosts/the-spirit-of-community.

Participedia.net Hosts Democratic Learning Webinar Series

NCDD is excited to share one of our partner organizations, Participedia.net has recently announced their first ever webinar series on Democratic Teaching and Learning starting in June. This free four-part series is open to anyone and will be a great opportunity to connect with Participedia researchers and collaborators around participatory democracy. We are proud to see many folks from the NCDD network collaborating on the sessions and we encourage you to register at the link below! Read the webinar schedule in the post and find the original on Participedia.net’s site here.


Democratic Teaching and Learning: A Webinar Series

Participedia proudly presents its first webinar series on Democratic Teaching and Learning, developed by Co-Chairs of our Teaching, Training and Mentoring Committee, Drs. Joanna Ashworth & Bettina von Lieres! Open to anyone interested in the field, this four-part webinar series will connect Participedia researchers and collaborators with shared interests in teaching methods, theories, and cases that support democratic participation. Join us and our rotating panel of experts for a lively exchange of knowledge about challenges and successes in the evolving field of participatory democratic innovations.

Schedule:

Session One – 8 am Pacific Time June 6, 2018
Participedia.net Teaching and Learning from Cases

Graham Smith (Westminster University) and Tina Nabatchi, (Syracuse University)
Moderator: Bettina von Lieres (University of Toronto).

  • What and How Do We Teach Using Participedia.net? Questions, Cases, and Opportunities?

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SESSION 1

Session Two – 8 am Pacific Time September 26, 2018
Understanding the Practice of Democratic Pedagogy

Tim Shaffer  (Kansas State University), Bettina von Lieres (University of Toronto).
Moderator: Joanna Ashworth (Simon Fraser University)

  • What is Democratic Pedagogy? Schools of Thought and Practice in Canada, US, UK and Beyond

Session Three – 8 am Pacific Time October 31, 2018
TITLE TBC What Works: Coaching and Mentoring Professionals in the Uses and Research of Public Participation.

Matt Leighninger (Public Agenda) and Julien Landry (Coady International Institute).
Moderator: Joanna Ashworth

  • Insights into working with seasoned and mid-career professionals from the public sector, NGOs and more.

Session Four – 8 am Pacific Time November 28, 2018
The Global Context of Participation

Lawrence Piper, (University of the Western Cape), John Gaventa (Institute of Development Studies) and Archon Fung (Harvard Kennedy School; Co-Founder Participedia).
Moderator: Bettina Von Lieres (University of Toronto).

  • How context shapes the teaching of democratic pedagogies: Reflections on Politics, conflict and power in South Africa, the Philippines and Beyond

Save the Date:
RSVP on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/participedianet-17316087019
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Participedia/events/

You can find the original version of this announcement on Participedia.net’s site at www.participedia.net/en/news/2018/05/21/democratic-teaching-and-learning-webinar-series.

Join NCDD at Frontiers of Democracy Conference 2018

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 2018 Frontiers of Democracy conference is happening at Tufts University from Thursday, June 21st until Saturday, June 23rd! The annual Frontiers of Democracy brings together leaders working on deliberative democracy, civic engagement and civic education, to explore how to further advance democracy. NCDD’s Managing Director Courtney Breese will be presenting a session on Friday, June 22rd during on the 2nd session block from 2:30pm-4pm on “Partnering to Strengthen Participatory Democracy: How Might We Connect and Collaborate?”. We encourage you to read the announcement below and find the original on the Tisch College website here.


Frontiers of Democracy Conference

Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University since 2009. The 2018 conference will take place from June 21 (5:00 p.m.) until June 23 (1:00 p.m.) at Tufts University’s downtown Boston campus in Chinatown.

Partners for the conference in 2018 include the Bridge Alliance, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

You can now register and pay to hold a spot. Please note that speakers and session organizers must purchase tickets.

Frontiers of Democracy immediately follows the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, a selective 2-week seminar for scholars, practitioners, and advanced graduate students.

Frontiers 2018 Theme

According to Freedom House, democracy has been in retreat worldwide for 12 years. Many people are pushing back, including activists and organizers who are nonviolently struggling, using tactics like strikes, boycotts, and mass demonstrations against entrenched power. Other individuals and groups take different approaches, some seeking a greater degree of neutrality and emphasizing deliberative dialogue, particularly when they work within institutions such as schools, public agencies, and newspapers. This year, Frontiers will bring people from these communities of scholarship and practice together to ask how they can learn from and complement each another.

You can read the full agenda for the 2018 conference by clicking here.

Looking Back: Frontiers 2017

Thanks to everyone who joined us at an exciting, thought-provoking, and timely Frontiers of Democracy 2017. You can watch the video of this year’s introduction, “short take” speakers, and one of our afternoon plenaries, below. (You can click on each video’s title to watch on YouTube and, in the description, find timestamps that allow you to skip to a specific speaker’s presentation.)

Frontiers 2017 was focused on multiple frameworks for civic and democratic work developed respectively by Caesar McDowell of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and MIT, Archon Fung of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tisch College’s Peter Levine. Our short take speakers included Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, the senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri; Wendy Willis of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the National Policy Consensus Center; and Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

In addition, the Journal of Public Deliberation, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and The Democracy Imperative held a pre-conference symposium on “Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.”

Check out the preconference symposium’s agenda and readings and the full Frontiers 2017 schedule.

You can find the original version of this announcement on Tisch College’s site at https://tischcollege.tufts.edu/research/civic-studies/frontiers-democracy-conference.

NCDD2018 Sesh Proposals Due Weds and More Updates

Several reminders about our upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation happening November 2-4 in downtown Denver!

The most immediate reminder is that session proposals are due tomorrow Wednesday, May 23rd. Are you looking to do a workshop at NCDD2018? Now is the time to get your proposals in! Check out our post on tips for finding collaborators and guidelines for presenting sessions at the conference. We invite session proposals that will highlight the work being done to tap D&D into the peoples’ daily lives, build democratic participation, and better expose D&D work. Our conference team is excited to see what sessions you want to bring!

We want to give you a friendly reminder that the “Super Early Bird” registration rate is available until Thursday, May 31st! On Friday, June 1st, the registration will go up to the”Early Bird” rate of $385, which will be active until July 15th (where it will then go up to the regular rate of $450). Take advantage of this ultra-low rate now to join over 400 leaders, practitioners, and enthusiasts, on Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, our theme for NCDD2018Our goal of the conference is to explore how to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work’s many tools and processes into greater visibility and practice within our society. Learn more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018 and register to secure your tickets ASAP!

In case you missed our announcement, we are now accepting NCDD2018 sponsors! Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together many of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Sponsor ($10,000+), Collaborator ($5,000+), Co-Sponsor ($3,000),  Partner ($2,000), or Supporter ($1,000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and goodwill for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

Finally, we have our FAQs page up on the NCDD2018 conference page, as well as, information on travel and lodging – where you can learn more about the room block price and fun things (besides the conference) to do while you’re in Denver! FYI we will also be posting on the blog later this summer to help folks coordinate if they want to share a room with someone.

Want to get an idea of what past NCDD conferences have been like? Check out these short videos of our 2016 and 2014 conferences!

Exciting Models of Democracy in Engaged Cities Awardees

This week, Cities of Service announced the three winners of the Engaged Cities Awards, given to the cities of Santiago de Cali, Bologna, and Tulsa. As NCDD member org Public Agenda noted in their recent piece, each of these cities offer inspiring examples of civic engagement and better models of local democracy. Sometimes democracy in the US can feel in a rut, but these cities give us innovative ways to bring better democratic practices to our own communities and more fully enrich our lives. You can read the article from PA below and find the original version here.


For Better Models of Democracy, Look to the Engaged Cities of Cali and Bologna

Both Santiago de Cali, in Colombia, and Bologna, Italy, demonstrate the power of putting citizens at the center of governance, giving them opportunities to engage that are meaningful, enjoyable, regular, and sustained.

The main problem with American democracy is that we don’t realize it can be improved. We assume that we’re stuck with the system we have, and we ignore the fact that there are other varieties of democracy already out there in the world.

Two of the three winners of the Engaged Cities Award, given by the nonprofit organization Cities of Service, illustrate some of the possibilities. Both Santiago de Cali, in Colombia, and Bologna, Italy, demonstrate the power of putting citizens at the center of governance, giving them opportunities to engage that are meaningful, enjoyable, regular, and sustained.

Not too long ago, Cali was a city plagued by violence spilling over from drug wars and civil wars. It had a homicide rate of 15 per 100,000 inhabitants. Almost a third of the population came from places other than Cali, and there were regular conflicts between people from different places and cultures. Over 60 percent of Cali residents said they didn’t trust their neighbors.

To remedy an interrelated set of problems, Cali created a comprehensive system for local engagement. As part of a strategic planning process, they created a department and council devoted to “civic culture.” They conducted a comprehensive research process, reaching 30,000 people, to take stock of the civic landscape and find out what kinds of changes people supported.

The backbone of the new system is a set of “local councils for civic culture and peace,” with one in each of Cali’s 22 neighborhoods. Unlike most neighborhood councils in the US, these councils are highly participatory and deliberative, and attract large numbers of people to their meetings and events. Each neighborhood develops a set of norms and “agreements of coexistence” to govern how they will work together. There is an explicit focus on engaging people of different “ethnic, cultural, artistic, religious and social groups.”

The councils make decisions on issues ranging from land use to waste management to environmental concerns. Neighborhoods also identify initiatives that they want to take on. The city supports these high-impact volunteering efforts with teams of professionals who help people plan, research and implement their ideas. Over 300 of those initiatives took place in the last year.

Each year, the work culminates with “Civic Culture Week,” a festival that attracts thousands of people.

The city developed a tool to measure progress called the “Diagnosis of Civic Culture.” Cali residents’ trust in their neighbors and perceptions of public safety have risen. Homicides and violent incidents are at their lowest levels in a decade.

In Bologna, a declining voter rate and increasing mistrust of government were signs of local civic decay. Rather than focusing solely on voter registration or electoral reforms, community leaders decided to be proactive about improving the relationship between residents and public institutions. The city adopted a “regulation on public collaboration between citizens and the City for the care and regeneration of urban commons” and created a new office for “civic imagination.”

To give this new vocabulary a real presence in the city, Bologna has a system of six District Labs which provide spaces for residents to develop plans, share information, make new connections and co-design collaborative projects for the improvement of the city’s physical infrastructure. The labs are considered the “antennae” of the neighborhoods, relaying ideas and concerns within the new engagement system.

In the last five years, 508 collaborative proposals have been developed and 357 have been implemented, with over 1,700 citizens participating in district meetings in the last year alone. The spinoff “Incredibol!” initiative, which called for the support of creative industries by allowing the re-use of public spaces to develop entrepreneurial projects, received 621 proposals, nominated 96 winners and assigned sixteen public spaces.

Alongside the district labs, Bologna has launched a citywide participatory budgeting process that also has engaged thousands of people. The city also uses a range of online tools, including direct emails, social media and a “Comunità” website to facilitate information-sharing and networking within and across districts.

A secret to the success of both Cali and Bologna is that, in those cities, engagement is fun. The Cali system capitalizes on the “recovery of streets and parks, murals, photographic exhibitions, soccer tournaments, gastronomic shows and festivals.” Bologna’s application for the Engaged Cities Award featured the roles played by artists, kindergarteners and cyclists.

Beyond the fun factor, local democracy in Cali and Bologna seems more vibrant because engagement in both cities is sustained and systemic, with a wide variety of opportunities for people to participate.

The third winner of the Engaged Cities Award, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, demonstrates another way to encourage and capitalize on citizen engagement. By creating a team of Urban Data Pioneers, they tapped the tech skills of people inside and outside City Hall. Through a range of new tools and apps, they are identifying and solving problems ranging from traffic incidents to blight.

A great virtue of the Engaged Cities Award, and the role played by Cities of Service in organizing it, is that it provides stories from near and far for spurring our civic imagination. If we are dissatisfied with the state of our democracy, there are inspiring examples to look to elsewhere, and many ways of improving public decision-making, problem-solving and community-building.

You can find the original version of this blog post from Public Agenda at www.publicagenda.org/blogs/for-better-models-of-democracy-look-to-the-engaged-cities-of-cali-and-bologna.

Sign Up for the Local Civic Challenge Starting in June!

Are you looking to dig deeper into local democracy in your community? We encourage you to sign up for the Local Civic Challenge with NCDD sponsoring org, The Jefferson Center! Starting in June, they will email you every week with a mini-challenge for you to learn more about your community, engaging in your local democracy, and strengthening those civic muscles. Read all about the challenge in the post below and on the JC site here.


Join the Local Civic Challenge!

At long last, the leaves are turning green and the temperatures are rising in Minnesota, signaling that spring has finally sprung. Our team is excited to break out of hibernation, and bring what we’ve learned from our recent projects directly to you! If you’ve ever had an interest in getting more involved in local democracy, but haven’t been clear on where to start, this is the perfect opportunity to dive in.

This June, we’re launching the Local Civic Challenge, where we’ll deliver a weekly newsletter to your inbox filled with mini-challenges that will help you become a more engaged citizen. Here are the four themes:

1. Getting familiar with your town

Do you know if you have a strong or weak mayor system? What about where you should go if you want to share your thoughts on how the local government is working? Learning more about the ins and outs of your community helps people feel empowered to make a difference on local issues.

2. Joining local offices, committees, and boards

Groups like the local school board or neighborhood councils are often in need of volunteer members and leaders. Perhaps even local elected office is in your future?

3. Participating in elections, from campaigns to the voting booth

Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to our democracy: why not get more engaged with the process? We’ll provide advice on how to find your voting ward and precinct, register, volunteer at the polls, and more.

4. Supporting local journalism and storytelling

Journalism sometimes ends up on the back burner when we talk about getting involved in our community. But sharing our stories, experiences, and thoughts with one another is a key way we can better understand each other, making it easier to tackle community projects together.

We hope these weekly challenges will give everyone an easy way to stretch out their civic muscles and dip their toes into democracy! If you’re in, sign up here.

You can find the original article on The Jefferson Center’s site at www.jefferson-center.org/join-the-local-civic-challenge/.

Stories from Ben Franklin Circles in North Carolina

As you may remember, NCDD teamed up with member org, Ben Franklin Circles and we announced last month that we were going to be sharing stories from Circles. In the article, Tiyo Hallock shares his experience running Circles in North Carolina, and particularly how the value of Silence has played into his life and work.  You can read the post below and find the original post on BFC’s site here.


Circle Spotlight: Ty from Asheville, NC

Name: Tiyo Hallock
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Sponsoring Organization: Creative Facilitators
Date Launched: October 2017

What attracted you to Ben Franklin Circles?
I’ve done a lot of work with various facilitation methods. I was attracted to how the structure allows the participants to explore principles first and foremost, and then sets the groundwork for action in the community. I’ve been a part of many groups. I know you need to work on the underlying platform of trust and then everything else falls into place. Ben Franklin Circles gives you the tools and the people supporting it are awesome.

How did you recruit members for your Circle? Any lessons learned?
I started to put together some flyers and get the word out there. Then I realized that people I already knew would really appreciate this. I basically reverted my strategy to posting on my Facebook page and doing some one-on-one asks. Every single person I showed the video to and talked about the event with came. I’ve tried to invite someone to every meeting to keep it fresh and to try and keep the numbers up, as some folks have not been able to make every meeting. We have a shorter meeting than most because I am catering to busy folks and I feel like a smaller group size is actually much better for a shorter event. Long story short, we probably don’t need to invite anyone else now that our group is perfect.

How has hosting a Ben Franklin Circle impacted you?
I’ve hosted a lot of these things, but I had a profound experience with the principle of Silence. I was really able to bring my full self. I am an introvert and I felt that, when people had permission to be silent and the silence that we practiced was welcomed with open arms, we had more trust and flow in our group.

Which virtue means the most to you personally and why?
I don’t want to answer! Each one has been meaningful—and I am only on number three! However, I was profoundly moved by Silence and the community ideas that came out of that session, so there you go.

What is the last commitment you made to yourself? How’s it going?
I’m committed to having Silence as a principle, as an exercise when I work with other groups where we are growing trust. I’ve also committed to growing Ben Franklin Circles. I’m spreading the word to try to get other folks to start Circles.

You can find the original version of this post on Ben Franklin Circles’ site at https://benfranklincircles.org/circle-spotlight/circle-spotlight-ty-from-asheville-nc.

Become a Sponsor of NCDD 2018 Today!

NCDD is working hard on putting together our 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this November 2-4 in Denver. It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal conference, and like all of our events, NCDD 2018 will be a great opportunity to gain recognition while supporting the field by becoming a conference sponsor!

Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together over 400 of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Star Sponsor ($10,000+), Collaborator ($5,000+), Co-Sponsor ($3,000), Partner ($2,000), or Supporter ($1,000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and good will for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

The earlier you commit to being an NCDD 2018 sponsor, the more exposure you earn as we begin to roll out our sponsor logos on our website. But the benefits go way beyond that – just look at all the perks you get for being a sponsor!

This year, we are also offering some additional opportunities to sponsor, including sponsoring our Friday Showcase Reception, and purchasing ads in our conference guidebook. All of these options are outlined in our sponsorship doc, and if you have other ideas, we’re happy to discuss them!

By supporting an NCDD conference, our sponsors are demonstrating leadership in D&D, showing commitment to public engagement and innovative community problem solving, and making a name for themselves among the established leaders and emerging leaders in our rapidly growing field. We expect to have between 400 and 450 attendees at NCDD 2018, and all of them will hear about our sponsors’ work!

When you sign on as a sponsor or partner of NCDD 2018, you’ll be joining an amazing group of peers you can be proud to associate with. To give you an idea, check out the list of 2016 sponsors or the spread of our sponsors and partners for our 2014 national conference:

SponsorLogosAsOf9-7-14

Interested in joining their ranks and sponsoring the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation? We encourage you to consider investing in yourself, in NCDD, and in the field by becoming a sponsor today! We would deeply appreciate your support – plus you get so many benefits.

Learn more about sponsor benefits and requirements here, or send an email to sandy@ncdd.org to let us know you are interested in supporting this important convening through sponsorship. And thank you for considering supporting the conference in this critical way!

Watch A Public Voice 2018 Live Stream on May 9th

Coming up this Wednesday, May 9th, is the annual A Public Voice event, hosted by NCDD member orgs – the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute. APV 2018 will bring the outcomes of this year’s forums on immigration to policymakers and their staffers on the Hill. We encourage you to watch the event, which will be live streamed on Facebook Live from 9:30-11:30am Eastern. Learn more about A Public Voice 2018 here.


Watch a Livestream – A Public Voice 2018

May 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern Time
National Press Club, Washington, DC

On May 9, 2018, the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) will host A Public Voice 2018 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A panel will discuss outcomes from early forums on the issue of immigration reform. A more complete report later in the year will draw from forums that will be held throughout the coming months.

The A Public Voice 2018 event will also feature discussions about the potential of creating future discussion materials about divisiveness in public life.

The 9:30-11:30 a.m., Eastern Time, panel discussion will be live streamed on Facebook, where viewers will be welcome to post their comments.

Gary Paul, a National Issues Forums Institute director and professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, will moderate the exchange among members of a roundtable that will include:

  • John Doble, Kettering Foundation senior associate and contributing editor of the Coming to America issue guide
  • Jean Johnson, National Issues Forums Institute vice president for moderator development and communications and contributor to the Coming to America report
  • Alberto Olivas, executive director, Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, Arizona State University
  • Virginia York, National Issues Forums moderator, Panama City, Florida
  • Oliver Schwab, chief of staff, Rep. David S. Schweickert
  • Mischa Thompson, senior policy advisor, US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Adam Hunter, former director, immigration and the states project, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Betsy Wright Hawkings, program director, governance initiative, Democracy Fund

The event will be live streamed via Facebook Live. We want to hear from you about topics, such as how difficult it can be to talk across divides in this country; what those divides look like in your communities; and how you think elected officials could help citizens bridge these divides. Your comments will be part of the live event in DC.

Join the Facebook event to receive updates on when and how to participate.

Learn more about A Public Voice 2018 at www.apublicvoice.org/.
This announcement is from NIFI’s email newsletter which you can sign up for at www.nifi.org/en/user/register.

Opportunities with NCDD Sponsor Org Common Knowledge

NCDD sponsoring org, Common Knowledge Group [also founded by NCDD board member Susan Stuart Clark] recently sent out their newsletter with updates on the work they’ve been up to and we encourage you to check it out! They offer free facilitation webinars on active listening and dealing with difficult behaviors; initially designed for librarians, they are great for other agencies and practitioners as well. Learn more about the opportunity coming up at the Code for America summit, recent community engagement work, and a nice shout out for our upcoming conference NCDD2018! You can read their updates below and sign up for the Common Knowledge newsletter here.


Community Engagement in Action Newsletter

Code for America Summit 2018
Interested in the intersection of community and civic technology? Join Common Knowledge at the Code for America pre-summit workshop on Wednesday May 30. We are pleased to be invited back to share our insights about how user-based design is at the heart of effective community engagement.

See all pre-summit workshops here.
Register for the main summit here.

“This workshop drew rave reviews from participants at the last Code for America Summit, and we are delighted to welcome Susan back to offer it to more of our community.”

Effective Community Engagement Requires User-Based Design
LED BY: Susan Clark, Founder and Director, Common Knowledge Group

Knowing when and how to invite community input into government decisions has become an essential skill for civic leaders. This interactive workshop is for those who have worked at the state or local level to increase civic participation and can bring their experiences of what went well and what didn’t. We’ll unpack differences between “civic culture” and “community culture” to show how to enhance the resident’s experience while also building trust. You will learn how local governments are using lean, iterative approaches to design, invite and report community input. Participants will leave with tools they can use right away for more  inclusive, informed and sustained engagement.

This year our featured guest will be Alex Khojikian, Deputy City Manager, Redwood City.  Alex is doing pathbreaking work coordinating in-person networks and digital networks. 

Free facilitation webinars for libraries and other local agencies
Our colleagues at the California State Library invited us to design and lead two webinars on topics of highest interest for experienced facilitators. We partnered with libraries to share best practices and case stories. The one-hour recordings feature elements from our most popular trainings, plus skilled local leaders who are transforming the role of libraries in their communities.

Facilitating Multi-Dimensional Listening:Helping Groups Identify Common Ground while Acknowledging Differences
Many of us are familiar with the practice of “active listening.” This webinar helps experienced facilitators and discussion leaders learn how to help the entire group listen together more skillfully for clues to where there might be common ground while respecting differences that arise.
Click here to listen.

Facilitating Constructive Contributions:Dealing with Difficult Behaviors
Basic facilitation skills involve keeping a group on topic and on time. But what happens when a participant needs special attention? This webinar identifies common types of disruptive behavior and multiple methods for facilitators to keep the conversation constructive, including meeting design and preparation that helps bring out the best in people.
Click here to listen.

Successful Community Engagement around Housing
With the goal of creating more community momentum for housing in San Mateo County, four cities were awarded grants from Home for All and technical assistance from Common Knowledge: Burlingame, Portola Valley, Redwood City and Half Moon Bay. There are PDF summaries from Burlingame and Portola Valley about their positive first phase results. In both cases, there has been a significant shift in how both the council and the community view each other, as well as the possibilities for moving forward to accelerate housing decisions.

Fall 2018 NCCD Conference: Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators
Our country’s current political climate has people yearning for a different way to interact, including the ability to listen to one another with more understanding, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve how we make decisions together and engage in our democracy. Many people don’t know that that there is a robust network already in place, the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation. Common Knowledge Director Susan Clark is an NCDD board member and she invites you to join her November 2-4, 2018 in Denver for NCDD2018. See what NCDD conferences are like at www.tinyurl.com/ncdd2016vid.

Are you already working in this field? Call for Session Proposals for NCDD 2018 is now open through May 23rd. More information is available at www.ncdd.org/26478.