Round Three of NCDD2018 Workshop Now Available!

In case you missed it, we have been announcing workshops for the upcoming 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation over the last few weeks! This is round three of workshops and you can check out the line-up of sessions we’ve announced so far on the main conference page (and this is just half..we have 30 more to announce!). NCDD2018 will be from Friday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 4th in downtown Denver, but we encourage folks to get an early start on the NCDD fun with the pre-conference sessions happening on Thursday, November 1st (read more here). If you are looking to split the cost on a hotel room, we’ve created a space on the blog to coordinate room shares. Finally, we invite folks to contribute to the Scholarship Fund Drive we recently launched and support a student or fellow NCDDer to attend the conference who would otherwise be unable to do so!


NCDD2018 Workshop Sessions

We will continue to announce workshop sessions over the coming weeks to follow!

Participatory Systems Change – Engagement for Big Impact
Addressing many of today’s societal, economic and environmental problems requires a systems lens that takes into account the values of citizens and stakeholders, identifies leverage points for intervention, and builds collaboration among multiple actors. Through hands-on activities, participants will explore how dialogue-based engagement and systems approaches can be connected to create Participatory Systems Change, by rethinking key aspects of engagement, i.e.: ownership; issue framing; sequencing; the nature of democratic exchange; the method of analysis; and communications strategies.

Robin Prest
Program Director, Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Martín Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Libraries Transforming Communities: Working with Your Local Library to Bridge Divides
Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change (www.ala.org/ltc) was a two-year initiative of the American Library Association and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation that sought to strengthen communities by giving libraries the tools they need to bring disparate voices together and lead change. In this session, ALA and NCDD will share the experience of training librarians to lead dialogues in their communities, including opportunities and lessons learned from the project. Participants in this session will discuss ideas for continuing this work, collaborating with their local library and building a community of practice for facilitators and library practitioners. (Intermediate)

Mary Davis Fournier
Deputy Director, American Library Association, Public Programs Office

Courtney Breese
Managing Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Samantha Oakley
Program Officer, American Library Association, Public Programs Office

Facilitating Deliberation Online – Reflections and Advice on Tools and Practice
This session will bring together platform designers, consultants, and practitioners from the world of online deliberation for a survey of currently used tools and best practices. Panelists provide a range of experiences from research to nonprofit boards to citizen participation. We will provide a brief overview of research in online deliberation over the past 20 years, and discuss findings of the ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census. Tool designers and online deliberation facilitators will share reflections and advice applied to different deliberative contexts.

Todd Davies
Associate Director and Lecturer, Symbolic Systems Program, Stanford University

Tim Bonneman
Interim Director, Center for Applied Community Engagement (CACE)

Flavors of Free Speech on Campus
Campuses across the country are grappling with the tensions between two core values: free speech, as protected by the first amendment, and inclusion of diverse people in the campus community. Explore the boundaries of free expression and inclusion by asking questions such as: Should universities try to establish “safe spaces”? Are provocative speakers allowed to speak on public campuses? Is dialogue a realistic option to address some of these free speech challenges? Come discuss these questions and raise your own in an interactive discussion with representatives from Rutgers and UC Davis.

Carolyn Penny
Director, Campus Dialogue & Deliberation, University of California – Davis

Nancy Kranich
Lecturer, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

Confronting the White Supremacy Culture of D&D
This session will pose the question: how does the field of D & D encounter the culture of white supremacy? Using a combination of individual reflection, small group, and whole group discussion, participants will be asked to reflect on questions about how white supremacy manifests itself within the thinking and practices of dialogue and deliberation as well as how D&D has confronted the challenges of white supremacy.

Frank Dukes, PhD
Distinguished Institute Fellow, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Tanya Denckla Cobb
Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Selena Cozart, PhD
Community Facilitator, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Bridging Divides through Dialogue and Digital Narratives
We all know how digital media too often distracts/detracts from constructive dialogue. How can digital narrative production be used instead to promote individual self-awareness, empowerment of underrepresented voices, and dialogue across difference? This workshop highlights a multi-step, dialogic process for just that, as utilized by the national Story Center in recent collaborations with groups at the University of Colorado. Students and staff together will share sample narratives and lead participants in exercises and discussion around lessons learned and methods for productive dialogue.

Ashmi Desai
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Colorado – Boulder

Jim Walker
Norlin Teaching Faculty, University of Colorado – Boulder

Daniel Weinshenker
Director, Midwest Region, Story Center

People’s Movement Assembly for Envisioning an Inclusive Democracy Movement
Democracy begins at the community level, and it requires intentionality to create inclusive spaces that bring together as many voices to the conversation. Since 2010, Move to Amend has facilitated Peoples’ Movement Assemblies as a mechanism to promote democratic dialogue and deliberative problem solving for democratizing the US Constitution. PMAs will help participants to develop a shared analysis of the current crises we face, create a shared vision of the world we want to build, and collaborate strategically across social movements and fronts of struggle towards coordinated action.

Keyan Bliss
Grassroots Volunteer Coordinator, Move to Amend

Jessica Munger
Program Director, Move to Amend

Designing Community Deliberation in College Courses
The design of public deliberation and dialogue varies depending on community needs, goals, context, and audience. Presenters will provide deliberative pedagogy models and syllabi for involving students in research, design, facilitation, assessment, and reporting of different community dialogues and deliberations. Through examples of integrating deliberation into college curricula and the accompanying student learning outcomes and community results, participants will develop strategies for bringing college curricula and deliberation theory into effective, sustainable community-based practice.

Leila R. Brammer
Professor/Chair/Co-Director, Public Deliberation and Dialogue, Gustavus Adolphus College

Pamela Conners
Associate Professor/Co-Director, Public Deliberation and Dialogue, Gustavus Adolphus College

Brandon Anderson
Visiting Assistant Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College

Addressing Coercive Power in Dialogue and Deliberation
Facilitators may encounter interactions that leave a dialogue participant feeling uncomfortable, silenced, or even feeling their identity is threatened. We call these interactions instances of coercive power. This workshop raises awareness about instances of coercive power in dialogue settings and provides a chance to workshop responses to two cases of coercive interactions. We conclude by sharing the facilitator’s actual responses and analyzing effects of their intervention. You will develop a nuanced understanding of coercive power and build a deeper repertoire of ways to respond.

Roudy Hildreth
Associate Director, CU Engage: Center for Community Based Learning and Research, University of Colorado – Boulder

Karen Ramirez
Director, CU Dialogues, University of Colorado – Boulder

Alison Kadlec
Founding Partner, Sova Solutions

Pilar Protsko 
Assistant Director for Coordination and Outreach, CU Dialogues, University of Colorado – Boulder

Jennifer Pacheco
Graduate Student, School of Education, University of Colorado – Boulder 

ELEVATE: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Develop a New Strategic Plan
How do you develop a community-driven strategic plan with a large, diverse group of people? Adams 12 Five Star Schools, north of Denver, spent a year using the Appreciative Inquiry process to bring together over 7,000 parents, community members, students and staff from 49 different schools to develop a five-year strategic plan to elevate student success. Learn about the Appreciative Inquiry process and how it can be used to mobilize and motivate diverse groups of stakeholders to achieve a collective effort in developing organizational goals.

Mark Poshak
Culture and Engagement Coordinator, Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Barbara Lewis
Principal, Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change

More to come soon!

Help Students Attend NCDD 2018 – Scholarship Drive Launches Today!

The 2018 NCDD national conference is coming up this November, and as we share more and more details with you all, the interest in the conference continues to grow! Not everyone who wants to join us has the ability to cover all their expenses, however, and so today we are launching our NCDD 2018 Scholarship Fund Drive to help those who need some financial assistance in attending the conference, particularly students and young people.

Would you like to make a difference in sponsoring someone to be able to attend the conference?

Our amazing NCDD community has stepped up year after year to make sure that students, young people, and those who need a little support can join us for this exciting gathering. We are hoping to raise at least $10,000 for scholarships, if not more, and we can’t do it without you! Whether you can give $5, $500, or beyond – please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Scholarship Fund today!

Scholarship applications have been coming in over the last several weeks, many from students looking to explore more deeply the field of dialogue and deliberation, and make those essential connections for growing their practice. As part of the theme for this conference, Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, we will focus on how to bring D&D work into more widespread practice; a big part of which, is expanding the inclusivity of our field. We must consider who will continue to carry on this work and that contributing to the Scholarship Fund is a concrete way to support our fellow innovators and ultimately, the future of our field.

We’ve heard from 5 individual students who would love to attend NCDD, several for the first time – but are unable to get there without a little help. If you have resources to make a difference, even a little can go a long way for these students!

Student registration is $250. Our hotel room rate is $82.50/night for a shared room. Airfare costs $300 roundtrip on average. That means, for a student, young person, or someone with a limited income, the overall cost of $250-$1,000+ can make attending NCDD feel impossible. If we can raise $10,000, we will be able to help at least 25 people attend this conference who otherwise would not be able to afford it. The more we raise, the more people we can help attend NCDD 2018!

Who Your Donations Support

Please take a minute to read the 5 quick stories below, from some of the students seeking scholarships, who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend the conference. If you’d like to help support their attendance at NCDD 2018, please contribute to the scholarship fund here and enter “Scholarship Fund” in the “Donation Note” field!

Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to helping us provide travel reimbursements, shared hotel rooms, and registration for scholarship hopefuls. Plus, anyone who donates $50 or more will have their contribution acknowledged in the printed conference guidebook!

1. One senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Fletcher, hopes to attend as a co-presenter in a workshop called, Bridging Divides through Dialogue and Digital Narratives. As Fletcher put it, “I would like to attend the NCDD conference because I want to continue learning to communicate with people different than myself. I am particularly interested in the 2018 theme because… Although CU has slowly made progress in becoming more racially diverse, it is still very politically homogeneous. Although I tend to fit in with the majority opinion, it feels wrong to me that conservative or independent views are squashed on campus. Attending the NCDD conference would help me to foster an environment at CU in which all views are, at least, listened to and attempted to be understood.”

As a Colorado resident not far from Denver, Fletcher is only seeking support to cover the $250 conference registration fee for students, which they cannot afford at this time.

2. One woman named Brenda describes herself as an undocumented student, hoping to help share other stories from the undocu-community “in order to move the world in a productive direction.” She believes that “dialogue is the way we change the world”.  She recently accepted a student teaching job and as a Colorado resident not far from Denver, Brenda’s also only seeking support to cover the $250 conference registration fee for students, which she cannot afford at this time.

3. Fatima, a Pakistani immigrant, just completed an undergraduate degree in Peace & Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo. She dreams one day of “launching an intra-faith dialogue program that allows the Muslim community to dialogue around polarizing topics.” Her positive experience at the last NCDD conference allowed her to “develop many connections and start making a lay-out of my envisioned dialogue program.” She hopes to attend this next conference as a way to “continue learning, continue making connections and continue working on my dialogue program.”

Fatima has a $100 voucher for her airfare and is hoping for some additional support to make the trip from Canada – as well as cover the $250 student registration and lodging.

4. Amanda is a full-time student at Portland State University conducting her dissertation on the educative potential of participatory democracy and dialogue. She’s hoping to attend NCDD for the first time to help present in the session, “The Art of Civic Engagement”. As a mother of two young children, however, she lacks the resources to attend this conference without it creating a financial hardship.

Amanda can contribute $50, but is hoping for help to cover the remaining $200 of student registration. She’s also hoping to find low-cost lodging, and potentially some travel support.

5. Sam is an Asian-American student getting his Master’s in Conflict Resolution at the University of Denver. He is hoping to attend NCDD for the first time. Sam’s introduction to dialogue began as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer (current role) for a conservation non-profit in Trinidad, Colorado – a rural city on the southern border with New Mexico. There he was tasked with developing collaborative projects to tackle environmental concerns in the local watershed. “To do this,” he writes, “I set up a committee that included city employees, recreation enthusiasts, conservationists, and ranchers and producers to look at resource issues on a 4.5 mile stretch of the river as it runs through town. Through this process, I learned about the importance of facilitating open dialogue and reaching consensus among a group of people with diverse interests to address environmental concerns.”

Sam can contribute $50, and is seeking an additional $200 to cover the student registration cost. As a Denver resident, the rest of his expenses are covered.

The individuals above are just a few select stories of many who have reached out and have requested support. Can you help these students and others like them join us for NCDD 2018? Contribute on our donation page today!

Second Round of NCDD2018 Workshop Announced!

Check out the second round of workshops happening at the 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation from Friday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 4th! This year’s exciting convening will take place in Colorado at the Sheraton Denver Downtown – which you can book using our discounted room block by clicking here. We encourage folks attending the conference to consider arriving a little early because we have several fantastic pre-conference sessions available on Thursday, November 1st (read more here). Stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks to learn about the rest of the 60 total sessions that will be offered at #NCDD2018!


NCDD2018 Workshop Sessions

We will continue to announce workshop sessions over the coming weeks to follow!

Respect & Rebellion: Fighting to Preserve a Civic Ecosystem on American Campuses
Like the enormous resources invested to preserve natural ecosystems under threat, it’s time for complementary “species” of dialogue organizations to come together to find creative ways to protect our civic ecosystem under serious threat. Our collaboration brings together premiere student and faculty organizations spanning the sociopolitical divide, with technological innovations that help amplify the work of dialogue. We will also share and gather feedback on our campaign to get “divergent speaker pairs” to model trustworthy rivalry on campuses while inviting students to complete a “subversive friendship” dare.

Liz Joyner
CEO & Founder, The Village Square

Kyle Emile
Founder, Free Intelligent Conversations

Jacob Hess
Co-Founder & Co-Director, Village Square Utah
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Mannie Ajayi
CEO & Co-Founder, Pnyka

Manu Meel
CEO, BridgeUSA
Junior, UC Berkeley

Andrew Evans
BYU Law School, Center for Conflict Resolution

What Did We Just Talk About? How to Turn Deliberative Talk into Deliverable Data
Deliberative events bring community members together to address public problems, but what happens after the discussion is over? How do we turn participant input into useable information? During this session, we’ll brainstorm ways to build data collection into process design. We’ll think about the different information needs of various partners community organizations, government officials, practitioners, and academics and discuss how to generate data that captures the conversation, highlights citizen decisions, and evaluates the process without straining organizational resources.

Katie Knobloch
Assistant Professor and Associate Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Sara Drury
Director and Associate Professor, Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse

Kalie McMonagle
Program Coordinator, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Ben Franklin Circles: Small Conversations about Big Ideas
Ben Franklin Circles from the 92nd Street Y are a nationwide initiative to bring together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to discuss how they can improve themselves and the larger community. At monthly meetings, Circles use Franklin’s 13 virtues (moderation, humility, silence, etc.) as discussion prompts and personal growth commitments. In this presentation/workshop, Julie Mashack and Patty Morrissey from 92Y will provide a general overview of the project and then lead a Ben Franklin Circle-style meeting for people to experience the model.

Julie Mashack
Director of Global Programs, Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

Patty Morrissey
Outreach Consultant, 92nd Street Y

Collective Leadership for Community Change
In an era when community organizations can no longer succeed on their own, shared leadership has ascended as the logical next step toward successful collective action. The co-creators of this session offer a helpful starting point for turning outward toward our communities, explaining how we can harness the collective capacity within and across our organizations to achieve significant and lasting impact. This interactive session will provide an overview of collective leadership and then some case studies how it helps move communities forward by creating sustainable and systemic social change.

Nancy Kranich
Lecturer and Special Projects Librarian, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

Cassandra O’Neill
CEO, Leadership Alchemy LLC

Voting, Art, and Dialogue: Building Democratic Capacity through Voting Stories
Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy, yet is often shrouded in secrecy. While ballots themselves should remain private, the process of voting can and should be a social activity. This session will share an event that infused art and dialogue to encourage university students and community members to come together and share their stories of democratic participation. Multimedia products of the event will serve as inspiration to attendees as they have the chance to explore their own voting story and plan how to create a dialogue around voting in their own communities.

Marsha Olson
Instructor of Communication, University of Alaska Anchorage

Donna Aguiniga
Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Alaska Anchorage

The Definitive Online Public Engagement Checklist
Online engagement can dovetail powerfully with face to face dialog events to dramatically increase the reach of public engagement. Inspired by an extensive review of case studies that have engaged over 10,000 people online, this session will produce the first ever definitive checklist to prepare engagement professionals for the effective application of online public engagement to support their outreach projects. This checklist will be compiled into an eBook based on the research results and the practical experience of NCDD attendees through a fast-paced interactive exercise.

Dave Biggs
Chief Engagement Officer, MetroQuest

Eileen Barron
Strategic Communications Manager, Utah Department of Transportation

Saying “Yes, and” in a Polarized World
In a polarized world improv has emerged as a tool for bringing people together and transforming conversation. With a focus on ‘yes and’ and ensemble-building, improv helps people create together using everything including disagreements. Participants will be introduced to an approach to development and community building that uses improv to create ensembles with some of the most contentious groups including police/youth, refugees/locals and people across the political spectrum. Participants will perform and lead conversations that embrace differences, encourage risk-taking and meaning-making.

Carrie Lobman
Chair, Department of Learning and Teaching, Rutgers University

Lainie Hodges
Development Specialist, Improv Alchemy

Storytelling, Embodied Cognition and Climate Activism: A Faster Learning Process
Climate campaign organizations typically don’t have time to invest in face-to-face storytelling training for their activists, and climate activists sometimes view storytelling as a gimmick. Former academic and philosopher Maria Talero develops communication interventions based on embodied cognition, a revolutionary area in the scientific study of consciousness. This interactive session will spotlight key practices in speeding up the storytelling learning process for Citizen’s Climate Lobby advocates and lobbyists who work to bridge the partisan climate gap in Congress and around the country.

Maria Talero
Principal, Climate Courage LLC

Thaddeus Cummins
Area Coordinator, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Colorado
Managing Researcher, Economic GPS

A Road Map to Washington’s Future
Instead of establishing a typical “blue ribbon task force,” the Washington State Legislature asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center to articulate a vision for a desired future, and identify needed additions, revisions or clarifications to the state’s growth management framework. The Center conducted 50+ dialogue workshops across the state, engaging local leaders and elected officials, and will present a final report in June 2019. This session will engage participants in an interactive conversation on tools, tips, and lessons learned conducting state-wide engagement processes.

Amanda Murphy
Senior Project Lead, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Molly Stenovec
Project & Program Manager, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Michael Kern
Director, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Building Bridges: A Community Collaboration for Culture Change
In November 2017, City of Boulder embarked on a two-year experiment working with the community to change the culture of local civic dialogue. In partnership with University of Colorado’s Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement, city staff engaged more than 400 community members in design-thinking workshops, online forums, and multi-generational programs to discover ideas that could lead to more productive communication. In this session, participants will experience elements of the workshop process first-hand as well as learning about the prototypes that were generated in Boulder.

Brenda Ritenour
Neighborhood Liaison, City Manager’s Office, City of Boulder

Lydia Reinig
Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement, University of Colorado Boulder

More to come soon!

Initial Round of NCDD2018 Workshops Announced!

We are thrilled to share this initial round of workshops for the upcoming 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD2018) happening in downtown Denver! This is just a handful of the 60 sessions that will be offered over the three days from Friday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 4th. We will continue to announce the remaining sessions over the following weeks – you can check our workshops page for the latest as well as the blog. We encourage you to check out the pre-conference sessions available at NCDD2018 on Thursday, November 1st – which you can learn about in last week’s blog post here. Looking to use our discounted room block or find a roommate at the conference?? Click here!


NCDD2018 Workshop Sessions

We will continue to announce workshop sessions over the coming weeks to follow!

Democracy’s Hubs: The Role of Local Centers in Building Capacity for D&D
Directors from a variety of centers and institutes dedicated to building capacity for local dialogue and deliberation will share their models and stories. The session will be particularly useful for academics and civic leaders either involved with local organizations or considering developing an organization. Key networks and resources will be discussed, such as the Kettering Foundation’s Centers for Public Life training program and the University Network for Collaborative Governance.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Lori Britt
Director, Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue, James Madison University

Windy Lawrence
University of Houston-Downtown Center for Public Deliberation

Lisa-Marie Napoli
Indiana University’s Political and Civic Engagement Program

Sara Drury
Director, Wabash College Democracy and Public Discourse

Putting Dialogue Before Deliberation within Polarized Communities
The connection between theory and application of Dialogue and Deliberation becomes clear in this session. Lauren Barthold, a Ph.D. philosopher will share theory from a book she is writing on the best way to weave Dialogue together with Deliberation in highly polarized settings. Robin Teater will cover a real-life project she oversaw at Healthy Democracy in which people on both sides of the political aisle had a chance to Dialogue with each other on challenging issues. Participants will learn a fishbowl form of Dialogue they can use in similar settings.

Linda Ellinor
Founder and Senior Consultant, Action Dialogue Group

Lauren Barthold
Professor/Senior Research Fellow, Endicott College/Essential Partners

Robin Teater
Executive Director, Healthy Democracy

Communicating Civilly with Voters You Disagree with during the Election Cycle
Through both Civil Dialogue and blogging, workshop participants will engage in modeling civility through civil communication and civil listening. Participants will take part in a Civil Dialogue on a provocative topic relevant to the upcoming election by choosing to occupy a range of positions. Then, the developer of the website Clamoring For Change will discuss ways to best express extreme positions with the objective of promoting mutual understanding (not necessarily agreement) rather than persuasion. When understanding is the goal, civility rather than polarization is a likely outcome.

Clark D Olson
President/Professor, Institute for Civil Dialogue and Arizona State University

Guy Nave
Professor, Luther College

Russ Charvonia
Past Grand Master, Masonic Grand Lodge of CA, Masonic Family Civility Project

Jennifer Linde
Senior Lecturer and Artistic Director, Empty Space Theater, Arizona State University

Carl Luna
Institute for Civil and Civic Engagement, University of San Diego

Civic Initiators at Work!
Across the nation, community-based coalitions of “civic initiators” are forming with this goal in mind: to catalyze productive, democratic ways for community members to talk and work together on public issues over time. They are building broad, cross-sector networks of public discussions that reflect the complex, interconnected nature of issues that impact their communities. And they are creating opportunities for people to learn from each other’s work within communities and across the country. Join us in this highly interactive session to explore these practices and to share your insights!

Betty Knighton
Senior Associate, Kettering Foundation
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Lisa-Marie Napoli
Associate Director, Political and Civic Engagement Program; Director, Voices for Democracy and Civility, Indiana University Bloomington

Cristin F. Brawner
Executive Director, David Mathews Center for Civic Life

Blueprint of We: A Dynamic Document for Increasing Collaboration and Trust
Blueprint of We (BoW) is a dynamic framework that increases the capacity to collaborate in any environment: public engagement, workplaces, families. The results are more trust & creativity for two people, a group, an entire organization or community. Participants learn 5 components for a BoW and how it links to neuroscience to calm and connect, hear stories of BoW’s impact in various settings, & begin the process of writing and sharing their own BoW. The session will be lively, experiential, deep and useful to take forward into today’s challenges. Beginning, intermediate or advanced practitioners.

Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C.
Partner, Blueprint of We California

Sheella Mierson, Ph.D.
Partner, Blueprint of We California

Difficult Facilitation Experiences: Working through Challenges
Dialogue and deliberation are participatory processes, designed to promote diverse voices and encourage communities to work through differences. Despite laying out productive communication guidelines, sometimes difficulties arise. This session will focus on recognizing and addressing struggles in facilitation, particularly around diversity and identity. Staff and students from Colorado State University and Wabash College will share experiences, and the second half of the session will focus on developing collaborative strategies for addressing such challenges.

Sara Drury
Director and Associate Professor, Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse

Kalie McMonagle
Program Coordinator, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Katie Knobloch
Assistant Professor and Associate Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Creativity, Complexity, & Comprehension: How Do We Address Affordable Housing?
What forms of dialogue increase our “fluency” on an issue carrying so many meanings, from shelter to wealth? This workshop identifies approaches to a prevailing critical issue, with takeaways applicable to other complex topics. Presenters and participants will share methods for representing all stakeholders, exploring prevailing assumptions, fact-finding for local conditions, and building momentum for long-haul changes in the housing system. We will demonstrate conversation methods grounded in arts and design, and exercise techniques for sustaining attention on an issue that won’t go away.

Donna Schenck-Hamlin
Program Associate/Projects Coordinator, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, Kansas State University

Katie Kingery-Page
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning, Kansas State University

Briana Carrillo
Graduate Assistant, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, Kansas State University

Negotiating the Creative Tension between Protest and Deliberation
Utilizing polarity management as a tool to spark productive conversation regarding key tensions, this session will work through the critical tension between social change tactics focuses on protest and those focused on dialogue and deliberation. Participants will work in small groups to complete worksheets mapping the polarity, considering their strengths and limitations, what situations each perspective is best suited or necessary, and how ideally the tension can be transcended to capture the best of both worlds.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Wendy Willis
Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

A Journalist & A Deliberative Democrat Walk into a Bar: A Collaboration Story
Healthy Democracy’s Robin Teater will moderate a conversation between Paula Ellis and Wendy Willis, the co-founders of Two Women & a Republic, a weekly correspondence exploring the culture surrounding citizen-centered democracy. Paula is a journalist from South Carolina; Wendy is a democracy practitioner from Oregon; together they have created what they fondly refer to as a Brainpickings for Democracy. They will share what they are learning and then turn to you for a discussion of the issues and trends affecting your work. You never know, you might find yourself showing up in the pages of 2W1R!

Wendy Willis
Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Paula Ellis
Senior Associate, Kettering Foundation

Robin Teater
Executive Director, Healthy Democracy

Emerging Roles of Academic Libraries in Dialogue and Deliberation
Academic libraries, like their public cousins, are positioned uniquely within their communities to further dialogue and deliberation. In addition to the commonalities, such as being safe and brave spaces, academic libraries have institutional connections, particularly with campus partners already engaging in dialogue, that allow them to scale beyond their current abilities. The session leaders invite you to an interactive discussion about the ways academic libraries can further the goals of dialogue and deliberation at their institutions and in the broader community.

George J Fowler
University Librarian, Old Dominion University

Nancy Kranich
Lecturer, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

More to come soon!

NCDD2018 Pre-Conference Sessions Announced for Nov 1!

We are excited to announce the pre-conference sessions for the upcoming 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation happening in downtown Denver! While the conference will officially be from Friday, November 2nd through Sunday, November 4th; we also have a full day planned for several pre-conference sessions on Thursday, November 1st! We encourage you to keep these in mind when planning your trip for NCDD2018 and consider joining us the day before to participant in these fantastic pre-conference sessions – which you can check out below.

Stay tuned to the NCDD blog in the coming weeks for information on registering for these pre-conference sessions, and we will begin announcing the workshops next Monday. Friendly reminder to get your tickets for NCDD by clicking here. We have a room block at the Sheraton Downtown Denver (where the conference will be held), and if you are looking for a roommate for the conference – check out our blog post here to coordinate!


Pre-Conference Sessions: Thursday, November 1st

Tackling Wicked Problems in Local Communities: A Workshop for Local Governments, School Districts, and Community Leaders
This workshop is focused on building local capacity to engage difficult issues more collaboratively and productively through the use of deliberative engagement processes. Deliberative engagement involves interactive, often facilitated, small group discussions utilizing materials and processes designed to spark collaborative learning rather than merely the collection of individual opinions. An opening session will examine the concept of “wicked problems” as a framework to better understand difficult issues and then review recent research on social psychology to help explain why traditional engagement processes are often counterproductive to supporting the high quality communication democracy requires. The workshop will then review the key components to deliberative engagement and explore and engage in hands-on practice with a variety of tools and techniques drawn from several dialogue and deliberation traditions. The workshop will be particularly valuable to practitioners focused on their local community working to build capacity across the public, private, and non-profit sectors for higher quality engagement.

All proceeds from the workshop fees are being provided to NCDD to support their ongoing efforts.

Martín Carcasson, Ph.D
Professor of Communication Studies at Colorado State University, the Founder and Director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) (www.cpd.colostate.edu), and the current chair of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Board of Directors (www.ncdd.org).

We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe
The Community Rights movement has helped more than 200 communities in nine states to pass local laws that begin to dismantle corporate rule from the local up. Communities are banning harmful corporate activities, stripping corporations of their corporate personhood, & enshrining local community self-government. Profound culture shift takes place in this transformative process, where residents discover their power & authority as We the People. Learn how YOUR community can join this growing movement of people saying “No!” to corporate interference and “Yes!” to nurturing healthy communities.

Paul Cienfuegos
Founding Director, Community Rights US

Standing Up for Social Justice in Times of Fear & Hatred
When discussing and confronting “heated” racial and/or social justice issues within our communities, utilizing practical facilitation skills that are both culturally-responsive and sensitive to the needs and issues facing minority groups are imperative. In this workshop, we will make use of personal stories, diversity vignettes, and film clip scenarios to encourage participants to authentically address a variety of social justice issues. The group will be taught “Mindful Facilitation Techniques” to support one another to become stronger and more effective allies within our communities.

Lee Mun Wah
Master Diversity Trainer, Founder/CEO, StirFry Seminars & Consulting, Inc.

Transforming Community Spaces: A Workshop for Community Facilitators
Many places around the globe are seeing insistent challenges to monuments, memorials, contaminated sites, and other locations identified with histories of harm. These challenges offer opportunities to foster more complete understandings of history and to take action to remedy deep, systemic inequities, which tend otherwise to be ignored or suppressed. “Transforming Community Spaces” (TCS) is a new, national project led by the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia to help institutions and communities take on these challenges through inclusive, transparent dialogues that uncover hidden histories, advance social justice, and promote collective healing. This training will introduce facilitators to the concepts of problematic community spaces, to cultural humility, to trauma-informed facilitation, and to the Transforming Community Spaces Toolkit that will be provided to community leaders and others working to better their communities. The training will be highly interactive with both exercises and simulations. We anticipate that participants will return to their own institutions and communities with a new appreciation for the issues at stake in these conflicts and new capacity to help those institutions and communities bring people together to address their own problematic spaces.

Frank Dukes, Ph.D
Distinguished Institute Fellow, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Tanya Denckla Cobb
Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation
Selena Cozart, PhD
Community Facilitator, Institute for Environmental Negotiation

A Taste of the Theory and Practice of Bohm Dialogue
This one-day pre-conference session will provide participants with a weave of the background, theory, guides, and basic building blocks of Bohm Dialogue together with an experience of being in Dialogue on emergent topics. Bohm Dialogue can play a powerful role within polarized communities. This process is based on the work of the late David Bohm, a quantum physicist who turned to philosophy to move ideas from his quantum worldview into practical ways of resolving complex social problems often rooted in unacknowledged cultural assumptions.

Linda Ellinor
Founder and Sr. Partner, Action Dialogue Group
Beth Macy, Ph.D
Owner and Lead Consultant, Macy Holding Management LLC 

Looking for a roommate at NCDD2018? Coordinate here!

In just a little over three months, the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation will be taking place in the heart of downtown Denver. NCDD2018 will convene folks from across the country who are passionate and dedicated to dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work. With ticket sales flying and folks already trying to find hotel roommates, we wanted to hold space here on the blog for conference attendees to use for coordinating NCDD2018 connections – whether it be to find a roommate, organize rideshares, or whatever else you need. Use the comments section of this blog post to let other attendees know what you’re looking for. Click here to check out our blog post for the previous NCDD2016 conference for an example of what we mean.

While the official conference kicks off the morning of Friday, November 2nd, we wanted to give attendees a heads up to consider arriving on Wednesday evening or Thursday because we have a full line-up of pre-conference session being organized for Thursday, November 1st! We will begin announcing those pre-conference sessions next week and are thrilled for what our network has in store.

In addition to the cool offerings at NCDD2018, the conference is really well located in Denver’s cute downtown and there is no shortage of fantastic restaurants and things to experience. The conference will run until Sunday, November 4th around 4pm, so we recommend you stay until Sunday evening or depart Monday, November 5th. Find out more about your transportation options on our NCDD 2018 travel & lodging page.

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, located right on the popular 16th Street Mall. We’ve negotiated a great rate of $165/night for conference attendees. You can learn more about the hotel on their website here, but you must use this link to get the NCDD rate:

www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/NCDD2018

Alternatively, you may book by phone by calling Central Reservations at 888-627-8405 and mentioning you are part of the “National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation – NCDD2018” block. Note that the rate is only in effect until 5:00pm MST on Wednesday, October 10th, though we encourage you to book your room ASAP as rooms are filling up fast.

If you need to cut lodging costs while still staying at the hotel, drop a comment in the comment section below about your interest in finding a roommate. We suggest you mention:

  1. Your name, gender, and any special requirements or considerations your potential roommate should know about you (for example, if you’re a smoker, night owl, snorer, etc.)
  2. When you’re arriving and departing and which nights you want to share a room
  3. Email or phone contact info in case people would like to connect with you directly

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, check out our conference FAQ page. If you still have questions after that, feel free to send Keiva an email at keiva@ncdd.org.

Can’t wait to see you all there!

NCDD2018 Early Bird Extended Until Tomorrow, July 18th!

In case you missed the opportunity to get your tickets for NCDD2018 at the Early Bird rate, we’ve decided to give folks some extra time to take advantage of this great deal for one of the premier events in the dialogue, deliberation, and engagement field. Which is why we have extended the Early Bird rate to still be active until tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18th!

The National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation will be from November 2 – 4 in Denver at the downtown Sheraton. It is already shaping up to be an immensely engaging event, where over 450 leaders, practitioners, and enthusiasts in the D&D field will come together to dive deep into this work, collaborate, learn from each other, network, and build relationships that carry on long past the closing plenary. The conference team has been deep in planning over the last many months – developing interactive plenaries, coordinating a jam-packed workshop session line-up, and building networking opportunities in-between it all – you don’t want to miss this exciting opportunity! (Pssst, while not part of this early bird rate… insider tip: we also have several full-day pre-conference sessions that are being developed for Thursday, November 1st – stay tuned to the NCDD blog for more info!)

The early bird rate is $385 until tomorrow, then it goes to our regular registration rate of $450 on Thursday. So we encourage you to get your tickets for #NCDD2018 ASAP while this rate lasts!

You can learn much more about this year’s national conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2018, and register today at www.ncdd2018.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Early Bird rate.

Want to get a better sense of what our conferences are like? Watch the video of NCDD2016 and NCDD2014 and learn even more about our past conferences by clicking here.

NCDD Update: ALA Conf, Frontiers, NCL, and CO Workshop

The NCDD staff has been up to some exciting ventures this last month that we wanted to fill you in on! June 22nd, in particular, was a busy day for the NCDD team as we each trekked to several exciting events that were happening in our network; Co-Founder Sandy Heierbacher was at ALA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, Managing Director Courtney Breese was at the Frontiers of Democracy conference at Tufts University, and I attended NCL’s National Conference on Local Governance in Denver where NCDD Board Chair Martín Carcasson presented.

As part of our partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), Sandy ran a workshop on Host Training in Conversation Café with NCDD member Susan Partnow. They gave this fantastic day-long session to a packed room of participants from public libraries serving small, mid-sized and/or rural communities; where attendees learned how to organize and host Conversation Cafés. In many communities, particularly smaller and more rural areas, libraries hold vital space as epicenters of community engagement and social change. The workshop prepared participants to run Cafés in their local libraries and how to use this great tool for holding exploratory dialogues with the community.

At the Frontiers conference, Courtney did a session on Partnering to Strengthen Participatory Democracy: How Might We Connect and Collaborate?, in which participants learned examples about efforts to connect engagement practitioners with librarians and journalists, and then explored ways to deepen network connections, particularly across fields. The conference was hosted by the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University and a primary focus this year was around how engagement work can better connect to activism. For example, there was a panel of students from Boston public high schools and Ph.D.s from UMASS, who spoke about the walkout they self-organized over budget issues, what their roles were and the ways they organized. Another one of the speakers was someone who had been previously incarcerated and they spoke about challenges of re-entering into society, the roadblocks they experienced, and how this impacted their ability to fully participate in a democratic society.

NCDD member org – the National Civic League, hosted the National Conference on Local Governance which was a jam-packed, one-day opportunity to dive into some of the cutting-edge practices and processes that improve equity within communities. Martín presented a session about Resident Engagement: How to Change Negatives in which he spoke about the neuroscience behind why traditional public engagement efforts often fall flat and how by designing better engagement processes, communities can be more effective in addressing challenging issues. It was a fantastic session with a perfect blend of information, while being engaging and entertaining! If you haven’t attended a session by Martín, I highly recommend you check one out the next opportunity you get! (Secret insider tip: He’s going to be running an exciting pre-conference session the day before NCDD2018 on Nov 1st that we encourage you to check out – Stay tuned to the blog for details to follow…)

Last week, I spoke at the monthly meeting for the Arvadans for Progressive Action about cultivating constructive conversations, in which I shared more about the NCDD network and several helpful tips and resources for making conversations more effective. Despite being a hot Colorado day, it was a great turnout of folks dedicated to working hard to engage the community and create a more equitable world. Huge thank you to all those who attended the event and asked really dynamic questions; and many thanks to the Arvadans for Progressive Action for inviting me to come share conversational tips and wisdom from the NCDD network.

On a related note, NCDD staff would love to come hold a workshop with your group, organization, or event!  We are happy to tailor the workshop to your needs for navigating challenging conversations. I am located in Denver, Managing Director Courtney Breese is in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Co-Founder Sandy Heierbacher is in Boston; all of us can travel to our respective surrounding areas to hold workshops. For folks that are located outside of these places, contact us and let’s see if we can coordinate logistics with travel or technology to make a workshop happen for you! Please contact me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]orgfor workshop inquiries. 

Recap of our NCDD Confab Featuring Undivided Nation

We had great Confab call last week featuring NCDD members David and Erin Leaverton of Undivided Nation – and you missed an excellent call if weren’t able to join! The Leavertons shared with the 40 participants on the call, about their experience traveling to every state in the US to listen to folks throughout the country and find ways where people can be united. We strongly encourage you to check out the recording to hear about their transformative adventure and learn of the powerful takeaways.

With the beautiful Lake Champlain in the background, David and Erin joined us via video call during their stop in Vermont, to share about their journey so far and some of the humbling learning opportunities they ‘ve experienced. Just before the beginning of the year, the Leavertons sold their house, bought an RV, and have been traveling state-to-state with their three children. Spurred by the fierce partisanship David experienced while working in politics, they sought to talk with folks from all parts of the US and better understand the roots of this country, in order to hopefully find ways to unify the deep divisions. Initially, they began their journey thinking people would be focused on the political divisions in this country, and yet they found that most have shared about the deep racial and socio-economic divisions they experience.

Halfway through their trip, the Leavertons have already had profound learning and said that every person they’ve connected with has impacted them. With humility, they shared how their understanding of the racial realities in this country has shifted and recognized how much more complex the issues in the US are than they previously believed. As their understanding has grown of the deep inequities some folks in this country experience, they noted the need to genuinely address these inequalities in order to work toward a country that is just and provides the constitutional ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – to all people.

We were live tweeting during the call and here are some of our favorites from the Confab:

  • “We wanted to help bring unity…My heart was breaking about what was going on in the country and I had a desire to be part of the change I wanted to see, that’s what set off this journey.”
  • “We asked ourselves – how can you begin to bring unity to people you’ve never met before? So we sold our house, got an RV to travel to every state and talk to people.”
  • “We invite people to come along with us and share what we’re learning, it’s too good not to share. It’s radically changed our understanding of our county and it was important for us to do it this way.”
  • “We’re traveling to a new state every Mon, we started the journey thinking ppl would focus on political divisions, but people have been more focused on racial and social-economic divisions.”
  • “Many people have a fear of other people… on some level… and have to get past this fear of people to be able to listen. You don’t have to sacrifice your truth to understand another.”
  • “To tell people who have experienced violence to forgive or be civil, it’s not just civility and while forgiveness is a part of it, we need to understand the reality before we preach forgiveness.”
  • “We need a candid conversation about the history of this country and when we come to terms with our true story, there’ll be a day of mourning – we need to come clean and acknowledge, before we, as a country, can move forward.”
  • “You can’t force people to interact… but you can invite people. Curiosity is the key ingredient, and it will help get you through the face of fear”

We recorded the whole presentation in case you weren’t able to join us, which you can access on the archives page by clicking here. We had several insightful contributions to the chat, which you can find the transcript of here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).

Confab bubble image

We want to thank David, Erin, and all the Confab participants for contributing to this informative conversation! To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

Exploring Civility in America through Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

As part of our partnership with NCDD member org, Ben Franklin Circles (BFC), we have been sharing stories from BFC. Because of the vitriol of the US political climate these last few years, there has been an increased call for civility. The article offers the views of Ben Franklin and Dale Carnegie as thought fodder for bringing more civility to America. You can read the post below and find the original post on BFC’s site here.


Ben Franklin & Civility

“The only way to win an argument is to avoid it.”

Dale Carnegie’s famous remark was preceded by Benjamin Franklin’s own formulation of this axiom, which he describes in his Autobiography as the “habit of modest diffidence.” Franklin explains that this practice banishes the categorical from his vocabulary, ascribing to this habit much of his success “when [he] had occasion to inculcate [his] opinion and persuade men into measures.”

Gone were words such as “Certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give air to the positives to an opinion,” and welcomed were such phrases as “I conceived,” “I apprehend,” and “I imagine it to be so.”

At bottom, Carnegie and Franklin offer the same bit of advice: to persuade people to your point of view, you must appear to not disagree with them at all.

If you are now thinking, “How are you supposed to have a conversation without appearing to say anything different from one’s interlocutor?” I know what you mean. It is also fair to ask whether it is patronizing—or even dishonest—to smile and nod at your conversation partner for the sake of personal gain or social ease.

Indeed, Carnegie and Franklin may well be accused by one Tom Scocca of being purveyors of “smarm,” a disposition he scathingly condemned in a 4,000 word treatise.

“Smarm,” says Scocca, “is a kind of performance — an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance.” Smarm, he says, is the tool of self-aggrandizers and the death of public discourse and intellectual honesty. It was when BuzzFeed assumed Thumper’s motto, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”—which sounds vaguely reminiscent of Carnegie’s and Franklin’s advice—that Scocca could no longer stay silent. “The evasion of disputes is a defining tactic of smarm. Smarm, whether political or literary, insists that the audience accept the priors it has been given. Debate begins where the important parts of the debate have ended.” Smarm refuses to engage with ideas by instead “smoothing over” disagreement for the sake of social comfort or personal gain. This, for Scocca, is what makes smarm dishonest and worthy of contempt.

Writer Leon Wieseltier concurs: “In intellectual and literary life, where the stakes may be quite high, manners must never be the primary consideration. People who advance controversial notions should be prepared for controversy. Questions of truth, meaning, goodness, justice and beauty are bigger than Bambi.”

I quite agree.

But that does not mean we should wholly discard Carnegie’s and Franklin’s admonitions. It is possible to disagree with someone without permanently rupturing the relationship, and they point us how to do that.

By encouraging us to be sensitive to how our interlocutor will hear our words, Carnegie and Franklin direct us toward true civility, a mode that respects the inherent dignity of each person with whom one interacts

By placing people at the center, true civility provides a framework for understanding not just when to criticize and when to focus on social ease but, perhaps more importantly, how.

True civility is more than “niceness” because it respects people enough to take them and their ideas seriously. The truly civil person is one who is teachable, who is willing to be wrong, and willing to place a relationship before being right.

Oscar Wilde wrote, “A gentleman is one who never gives offense… unintentionally.” There is, contrary to Carnegie and Franklin’s position, a time to take a strong stance that perhaps even gives offense. We also are not always in control of when others are offended by us. But by plumbing with reinvigorated rigor the foundation to our souls, examining if our values and priorities are reflected in our words and deeds, and be part of re claiming a more authentic, and truly civil, America.

You can find the original version of this post on Ben Franklin Circles’ site at www.benfranklincircles.org/virtues/ben-franklin-civility.