NCDD2018 Call for Session Proposals is Now Open!

NCDD’s 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is coming up this November 2-4 in downtown Denver.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada.

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions for NCDD 2018. We’re interested in finding creative ways to highlight the best of what’s happening in public engagement, group process, community problem-solving, civic tech, and arts-based dialogue — and we know you have lots of ideas!

Check out the Application for Session Leaders now to see what we ask for, and start cooking up those great proposals we’ve come to expect from our network! If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, look over the comments on this blog post, where we asked the NCDD community to share what they’d like to see happen at NCDD 2018, and peruse the fabulous sessions offered at the 2016 and 2014 NCDD conferences.

Please note that the deadline for proposals is Wednesday, May 9th. We look forward to seeing what you’d like to offer!

If your work involves dialogue and deliberation, or you want to get involved with this work, you’ll love this conference. Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing leaders in this field, forming new relationships and reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, hearing about innovative new approaches to the challenges you’re facing, and exploring together how we can shape the future of this important movement, all while using innovative group techniques there’s really nothing like it. (See our 2016 Conference Storify page for quotes and pictures.)

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD 2018…

Our theme for the 2018 conference is Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and we invite workshop proposals that in some way build upon or engage the ideas around this theme.

NCDD 2018 is taking place the weekend before the November midterm elections and these are vital times for using the skills and tools of the dialogue and deliberation community to continue to bring people together. We have heard from so many, both in our field and particularly those unfamiliar with D&D work – how do we come together and talk with each other despite the divisiveness that pervades our society? There are many in our country that are unaware of the D&D field’s work to better engage people and improve democratic processes.

Our 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. At the conference, we will dig into how to bring D&D to the more widespread awareness and use by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs of the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

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 through the above connections. Your proposal will be evaluated, in part, by its relevance to our theme and goals.

Some advice for potential session leaders:

  1. Identify great co-presenters.  Most workshops at NCDD conferences are collaborative efforts involving multiple presenters from different organizations and universities. Have you thought about who you can co-present with? Now’s the time to contact them to see if they’d like to offer a session with you! (Use the NCDD Main Discussion list and the comments below to put out feelers for potential co-presenters if you’d like.)
  2. Look over past workshop descriptions. Peruse the list of workshops from NCDD Boston to get a sense of the kinds of sessions the planning team selects. Sessions focused on innovative solutions to common challenges, ways to take this work to scale or to new audiences, and deep dives into great projects (and thoughtful explorations of failed projects!) are especially welcome.
  3. Be innovative with your session.  NCDD attendees are usually not too impressed with traditional panels or long speeches. Get them engaging with you and each other! Think about how you can get them out of their seats and moving around the room. And think about what you’d like to learn from them (not just what they can learn from you). Challenge yourself to run a session without relying on PowerPoint.
  4. Share your stories.  NCDDers prefer hearing your stories to getting a run-down of your organization or methodology.  People are interested in learning about what you did, what you learned, and how they may be able to learn from your experience.
  5. Share the latest.  What’s the latest research? What are the latest innovations in the field? What new challenges are you facing? What are your latest accomplishments?

Not quite ready to draw up a proposal yet? Use the comment field (and/or the NCDD Main Discussion listserv) to float your ideas by other NCDDers and members of the planning team. We may be able to match you up with potential co-presenters who can address the same challenge or issue you’re interested in focusing on.

Look over the comments on our engagement of members around what they would like to see at the conference, on the blog and the listserv. There is a wealth of ideas and insight in those results!

Deadline for submissions
To have your session proposal considered, we need you to submit the session application by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 9th. Members of the conference planning team will review the proposals and plan to respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal early June.

Don’t forget that the super early bird tickets are NOW AVAILABLE! Get yours at this great low rate before it goes up!

“Super Early Bird” Rate Now Available for #NCDD2018!

Hey everyone! We are thrilled to announce the “Super Early Bird” registration rate is now live for the upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! This super low rate of $350 is only available for a limited time (through May 30th), so make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot for #NCDD2018 at this great price!

Our conferences only come around every two years, and you won’t want to miss this one! NCDD conferences aren’t just about having fun and enjoying the company of our field’s movers and shakers. They’re about forming new partnerships, strategizing together about how we can tackle our field’s greatest challenges, showcasing some of the coolest arts, technologies, and methods for public engagement — and so much more.

This year we will be coming together from November 2-4 (Friday through Sunday) in Denver, CO, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. We are so excited for NCDD 2018 and hope you will join us! The theme for this year’s conference is “Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators”, and our intention is to focus on how we can further uplift dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work.

NCDD2018: Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators

So much of our political environment is rife with partisan rancor. Our communities are struggling with crisis after crisis. These and other factors have people across the country yearning for the ability to listen to one another with more understanding and civility, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve how we make decisions together and engage in our democracy.

Just what our field specializes in.

So for the 2018 conference, we are making space to dig deep into what we know about helping and healing democracy. Now is the time to bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field into greater visibility and use. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our extended community of practice offers, and we’d like to explore ways to make this work spread. Join us to cultivate its widespread practice in our communities.

At NCDD 2018, we will explore bringing dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to the forefront by:

  • Cultivating new partnerships and connections with other fields utilizing these approaches, including government, libraries, and journalism;
  • Developing our skills, and building our toolkits to address the emerging needs in the communities we work with and live in;
  • Making the case for public engagement, by elevating the stories of how people are coming together across divides, making decisions and taking action together, as well as demonstrating the value and impact of this work;
  • Growing the skills of D&D in our young people, and cultivating leaders who are drawn to D&D;
  • Building the skills and capacities of others in our communities to do this work;
  • Reaching out to and engaging with those less drawn to D&D, including conservatives, activists, and others;
  • Highlighting the ways D&D can be fun, and exploring innovative methods for public engagement – including the arts.

NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada. Over 3,000 people, from dozens of countries, have attended our biennial national and regional events, and we’re expecting over 400 this year! Hopefully, you’re one of them!

Learn much more about the conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018, and register today at www.ncdd2018.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Super Early Bird rate.

The call for workshop proposals is coming next week, so think about what you might like to present at the conference as well!

NCDD conferences are important networking and learning events for our field. Watch these highlight videos by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of our last two conferences…

TheChisel Releases the American Dream Survey Results

We are excited to lift up this article from Deborah Devedjian, Founder of TheChisel.com, on the recent results from their “What’s Your American Dream?” survey – and the results might surprise you! One of the biggest highlights they found is that of the 34 issues surveyed, Americans agreed on their #1 goal for 53% of those issues. NCDD was proud to be part of this coalition, in addition to many other organizations, including fellow NCDDers – Living Room ConversationsAllSides, and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. We encourage you to read the announcement below or find the original version on PR Newswire’s site here.


Bipartisan Survey Shows Right, Left, and Center Agree on #1 Goal for 53% of 34 Issues

In an era of political divide and confusion, a bipartisan coalition has announced surprising results from its nationwide survey What’s Your American Dream?

“The results demonstrate that despite different vocabularies, favorite news channels, local customs, or professions, Americans maintain many shared values,” said Deborah Devedjian, Founder of TheChisel.com which spearheaded the survey.

Right, Left, and Center agreed on their #1 goal for 53% of 34 issues surveyed. For a further 21% of issues, they shared the same top 2 or 3 goals in varying order.

The survey addressed 7 themes: Economy; Social Justice; Liberty & Regulation; Health, Education & Care; Infrastructure & Services; Foreign Affairs; and Governance.

TheChisel.com’s survey grew out of discussions with former Members of Congress and everyday Americans. All are frustrated with being out of touch with one another. The coalition—30 universities, media outlets, and policy organizations across the political spectrum and the nation—reaches 58 million Americans.

The survey was hosted on TheChisel.com, a unique bipartisan public discussion platform.

“Given partisan stereotypes and soundbites, many commonalities will surprise readers, especially in Employment, Mental Health, Foreign Aid, Campaign Finance, and Elections,” said Erik Fogg, Editor of ReConsider Media.

“The widest divergences were in Guns, Environment, and Police. But even there, we see common ground among pragmatic, compassionate people who want to move the nation forward on American ideals of freedom, prosperity, equality, and security for all,” said Fogg.

Findings will be shared with the media. TheChisel will deliver the report to the President, Cabinet, Members of Congress, Supreme Court, federal agencies, and state governors.

“As a nation, we are frustrated and face uncertainties. We expect this effort will help guide our nation’s leaders to understand Americans’ goals and devise tactics to achieve those goals. It’s time for a new playbook,” said Devedjian.

The book will be released at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on February 27, 2018. Press and lawmakers are invited www.YesWeAgree.Eventbrite.com

The 100-page book features visually-stimulating infographics, is easy to understand, and appeals to a wide audience. Insights from American figures on liberty and freedom and personal comments from respondents add a human voice to the data. To order: www.YesWeAgree.com

Based on 1,318 voting-age Americans reflecting 2016 Census by gender, age, race, geography, income. Respondents self-identified for political affiliation and provided numerical rankings and 5,000+ personal comments.

TheChisel.com is the first and only online civic platform based on 100% bipartisan facts and proposals. No bias. No jargon. And fun, easy-to-understand graphics. Content is developed with recognized experts from both sides of the aisle working together. Our board, advisors, investors, and team reflect America’s full political spectrum. Voice your thoughts, engage with experts, and give your feedback to TheChisel community to realize America’s aspirations.

Universities: Pepperdine School of Public Policy, University of Georgia College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Mary Government and Political Philosophy Department, University of Missouri School of Journalism, University of the Pacific Political Science Department, Williams College Forum.

Media: Associated Collegiate Press, The Citizen’s Story, Exchange Nation, Independent Voter Network, ReConsider.

Organizations: ALL-IN Campus Democracy Challenge, AllSides, Diplomat Books, Future 500, Heartfelt Leadership Institute, Hope Street Group, Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, Living Room Conversations, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, National Speech and Debate Association, ProCon.org, Take Back Our Republic, The Democracy Commitment, The Policy Circle, Wellville, The Women’s Debate.

Sponsors: Gold: Ziggeo. Silver: Collen IP Law; The TAI Group. Bronze: AquaThority Pools & Spas; JGArchitects.

You can find the original version of this article on PR Newswire’s site at www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bipartisan-survey-shows-right-left-and-center-agree-on-1-goal-for-53-of-34-issues-300602892.html.

What would you like to see at NCDD 2018?

NCDD’s staff is in the beginning stages of conference planning, and as we do each conference year, we’d like to hear from the D&D community about what you’d like to see, do and experience at this year’s National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. Over the next twelve days (through March 9th), we’ll be seeking ideas from the NCDD community via email, social media, and the blog.

NCDD conferences look and feel a bit different each year because our events are experiments in collaborative planning, and our planning team is highly responsive to our community’s needs and energy.

NCDD’s national conferences bring together 400+ of our community’s most exciting leaders, innovators, learners, and doers, for an event that enables us not only to network and learn from each other, but to tackle our greatest collective challenges head-on, and to set the direction for our field.

What we cover at our conferences, and how we cover it, is important for this ever-growing, ever-changing field — and we want your input!  Everyone in the NCDD community (members, past conference attendees, subscribers, social media friends) is welcome to participate.

To help you get started, NCDD’s staff and board would like to share some of our thoughts with you and get some feedback. We notice that with the extreme partisan rancor of our current political environment, coupled with the continuous tragedies around gun violence and so much more – has many in this country calling for the need to be able to better listen to each other with more understanding and civility, to work more effectively across differences, and to improve the way people engage in democracy.

Just what our field specializes in.

So for the 2018 conference, we think making space at this year’s conference to dig deep into how we can bring the work of the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field out from what seems like the “fringes” and into greater visibility and use. There are so many valuable processes and resources that our field works on, and we’d like to explore the ways in which we can further make this work commonplace and bring it into widespread practice. We’d like to hear from you whether this resonates, and what ideas you might have for how we might explore this together.

We’re also seeking more ideas. As you consider our intentionally broad framing question, “What would you like to see happen at NCDD 2018?”, think about…

  • What do you think about the idea above?
  • What topics would you like to see covered?
  • What ideas do you have for awesome activities?
  • What would you like to contribute to this year’s event?
  • What could we do this year that might improve your work?
  • What could we do that would help us move the field forward?
  • What can we do while we’re together that we can’t easily do virtually?
  • Dream big, or be specific… it’s all good!

Please share your responses to these questions in the comments below, via our discussion listserv, and on social media.

If you’re interested in playing a role at the conference, helping with planning, or just attending, be sure to fill out our interest form for NCDD 2018, too!

We’re excited to hear your ideas and to get working on putting together another great conference!

Save the Date: NCDD 2018 is set for Nov 2-4 in Denver!

It’s time to mark your calendars for the highly anticipated 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! We’re excited to announce that our next national conference will take place in downtown Denver this November 2-4.

Our conferences only come around every two years, and you won’t want to miss this one! NCDD conferences aren’t just about having fun and enjoying the company of our field’s movers and shakers. They’re about forming new partnerships, strategizing together about how we can tackle our field’s greatest challenges, showcasing some of the coolest arts, technologies, and methods for public engagement — and so much more.

If you haven’t attended an NCDD conference yet, watch our highlight video by Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos to get a sense of the energy and content of the last national conference…

We can’t wait to see you this November!  We’ll be holding the conference at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

Keep an eye out for registration, a call for volunteers for the planning team, and of course efforts to engage the broader NCDD community around conference content and theming. The call for workshop proposals will be distributed in a couple of months, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about what you’d like to present about and who you’d like to present with. Information will be posted soon at www.ncdd.org/events.  For now, be sure to hold these dates on your calendar.

To stay up-to-date on NCDD Denver news and opportunities, be sure to subscribe to our conference updates email list!

Please share this post widely in your networks! Building on a 16-year legacy of popular, well-loved events, NCDD 2018 will be our 8th National Conference and just the latest of many events, programs and gatherings that NCDD has hosted since we formed in 2002.

NCDD Org on the Need for a National Conversation

In such challenging times, we wanted to lift up the blog piece from NCDD member org Essential Partners on the urgent need for holding a national conversation to address our most pressing issues as a country, and what that conversation could look like on an individual level. The article calls for the deeper need to actually hold a national conversation and not just call for one; and then to show up for these conversations with the purpose of listening not just talking, being reflective not just reactionary. We encourage you to read the full piece below or you can find the original version on Essential Partners site here.


What Do You Mean When You Say ‘National Conversation?’

Did you read the recent article by Wesley Morris in the New York Times called “Why Calls for a National Conversation Are Futile?” I did, and though it resonated deeply, I found it troubling. Morris writes to shine a spotlight on the dangerous combination of our limited attention spans and historical amnesia when it comes to demanding a dialogue about a tough topic. Today, he argues, it seems that calling for a conversation is as good as having one. At the very least, it’s as good as absolving us of our accountability to actually engage across differences. After all, easier to call for a national conversation than to actually embark on the thorny, sometimes painful process of having one, committing to truly wrestle with the issues that matter, and about which we painfully disagree.

Morris is right in one sense. In the age of most public discourse happening over 140 characters, we are not in the age of listening he describes, in which the fabric of our civic life was regularly discussed, meaningfully, on mainstream media. He says “I miss everyday Americans opening up on daytime television.” So do we. But whether the voice comes from Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton in a reflection on race or a random Twitter user, it is still a single voice. And that’s where I think Morris’ definition of “conversation” falls short in what it imagines to be possible. No matter how empathetic Oprah and her program, his vision is of a platform better suited for public grandstanding rather than personal connection.

National conversations, be they about race or guns and public safety, are urgent. Media must be part of those conversations. But in today’s landscape, the burden of national conversation can’t land on the shoulders of the media. That’s not because the intentions aren’t good, or the leaders eager to make a difference. It’s because the missing ingredient he names – empathy – doesn’t just happen. Empathy happens when we truly listen to, and are heard by, people who are different from us. Culture shift around how we talk with each other about what matters requires more than tuning in; it requires the deep, careful work of showing up to a conversation ready not simply to share your story, but to listen to others whose words might hurt. More even than willingness, it requires a specific skillset in asking new questions that invite reflection and curiosity, in listening with resilience, in allowing a structure that grounds a conversation in experience. It’s easy to call that hard, human work futile, when it’s really challenging, intimate, and potentially exposing.

There are resources out there. Here at Public Conversations Project [now known as Essential Partners], we focus on equipping individuals and communities to have those essential conversations, and to build the capacity for addressing tough topics for the long haul. Morris is right – we need courageous conversations in our public life. But we also need to embrace a bold will to have those conversations at home, around our dinner tables and in our town halls.  We would welcome journalists to cover the stories when those conversations happen, not simply bemoan the widening divide when they don’t.

You can read the full article on Essential Partners site at www.whatisessential.org/blog/what-do-you-mean-when-you-say-national-conversation.

Civil Conversations Project

The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference. We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.

Better Conversations: a starter guide
It seems we are more divided than ever before — unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and others. We offer this guide as a resource for creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more as citizens, out of what we’ve learned in over a decade of conversation on On Being.

The seven-page pdf opens with an invitational letter from Krista Tippett, and provides a flexible roadmap for speaking together differently in a way that allows us to live together differently.

This guide is intended to help ground and animate a gathering of friends or strangers in a conversation that might take place over weeks or months. Adapt this guide for your group and your intentions, choosing a focus and readings you find meaningful and relevant.

Download the Better Conversations PDF here

From the guide…

Our young century is awash with questions of meaning, of how we structure our common life, and who we are to each other. It seems we are more divided than ever before – unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children.

Yet you and I have it in us to be nourishers of discernment, fermenters of healing. We have the language, the tools, the virtues – and the calling, as human beings – to create hospitable spaces for taking up the hard questions of our time.

This calling is too important and life-giving to wait for politics or media at their worst to come around. We can discover how to calm fear and plant the seeds of the robust civil society we desire and that our age demands.

This is civic work and it is human, spiritual work – in the most expansive 21st century sense of that language. We can learn for our time what moral imagination, social healing, and civil discourse can look like and how they work.

The Civil Conversations Project is a collection of audio, video, writings, and resources for planting new conversations in families and communities. How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? Can we find ways to cross gulfs between us about politics and the meaning of community itself? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep, contrasting convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes? You will have your own questions – particular to your community and concerns – to add.

We insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not an exercise in niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that aren’t serving our age of change. This is a resource and reflection for beginning this adventure — creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more urgently as citizens.

Public life is bigger than political life. We have narrowly equated the two in recent years, and we’ve impoverished ourselves in the process. Public life includes all of our disciplines and endeavors, including our selves as citizens and professional people and neighbors and parents and friends. The places we’ve looked for leadership and modeling have become some of the most broken in our midst. And so it is up to us, where we live, to start having the conversations we want to be hearing and creating the realities we want to inhabit.

I have seen that wisdom, in life and society, emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and fierceness, mine and yours.

About On Being
On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.

Resource Link: www.civilconversationsproject.org/