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Looking Back at NCDD 2016 and What Has Happened Since

ncdd2016-logoThe 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation brought together 350 innovators in dialogue and deliberation to discuss the conference theme of Bridging Our Divides. Over the course of three days we discussed how to tackle some of today’s toughest divides, including partisan, racial, economic, and more. For a recap of the conference in numbers, see our earlier blog post.

Since the conference, NCDD has been producing and gathering media that captures our time together and the stories of our work. And, we’ve been following up on the conversations that happened at the conference and continuing the important work that began or was renewed in our time together.

Sharing the Stories of the Conference

At NCDD 2016 Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos recorded our plenary sessions as well as short videos of participants. Keith is in the process of producing several videos, and has shared with us the following two videos:

Panel on Philanthropy and Fundraising

Mark Gerzon of the Mediators Foundation moderated a discussion among a panel of philanthropists about the constraints and opportunities facing our field’s efforts to bring people together across divides. Panelists shared their experiences funding bridge building efforts and answered participant questions about how we can all be better advocates for our work.

Panel on Journalism and Public Engagement

Peggy Holman of Journalism that Matters moderated a panel discussion among journalists, discussing both their work in engaging the public and discussing the opportunities they see for public engagement practitioners to partner with journalists.

ncdd_podcast_200x200Sharing More Personal Stories

In addition to video, for the first time ever at an NCDD conference we offered participants the chance to record stories and conversation in an audio room, run by sound designer Ryan Spenser. We recorded several conversations that would become our first episodes of our new NCDD Podcast. Check it out on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play. Our first episodes are now live:

  • Listen to Barbara Simonetti, NCDD’s Board Chair, and myself discuss her metaphor for the D&D field as a utility
  • Hear the story of Conversation Café from co-creator Susan Partnow and past steward Jacquelyn Pogue, as they speak with NCDD Resource Curator Keiva Hummel about the process and their hopes for it under NCDD’s stewardship

Stories of bridging our divides were shared throughout the conference – in workshops, informal gatherings, and particularly in our first plenary session where we asked all participants to share a story of a time they witnessed divides being bridged.

We welcome additional stories of how you or those you are working with are bridging divides. In particular, we’d love to have people share using our Storytelling Tool. Using the tool gives NCDD the details for a great case story that we can share on our blog, so your story is shared with more people!

Last but not least, last week we shared our Storify page – take a look at that for a great recap of the social media activity during the conference, along with great photos and quotes!

Continuing this Work

Lots of inspiration was drawn from our time with you all at NCDD 2016, and we have been working to continue to address the needs and desires that arose at the conference. Some of the ways we’ll continue to do that include:

  • The Race, Police and Reconciliation Discussion List: The racial divide was a central part of the conference theme. Many workshops addressed this divide and we heard from three panelists in our first plenary about their work in this area (video coming soon!). Many participants expressed a desire to connect with others on this work, and so NCDD has launched a discussion listserv for folks interested in connecting with one another. So far, more than one hundred of you have joined! Learn more here and then join the listserv.
  • Our #BridgingOurDivides campaign: NCDD has continued our conversation at the conference over the past several months through our #BridgingOurDivides campaign. We’ve been sharing information and resources on social media and the blog. We also hosted a call for our community to talk about our post-election work. We’ll keep this conversation going in 2017, as this work is more important than ever.
  • el_badge_web_03The Emerging Leaders Initiative: NCDD has worked hard to bring students and youth to our conferences in 2014 and 2016, and in between we have been talking with these young and emerging leaders about how to get them involved in NCDD. This has all culminated in our new Emerging Leaders Initiative, which we’ll be more formally launching in 2017. We need to foster long-term resilience for the field of dialogue & deliberation, and we can do that best by intentionally cultivating our field’s next generation of leadership.

We had such a great time at NCDD 2016 connecting and re-connecting with you all and discussing how we can continue to do this important work of bridging our divides in today’s world. Let’s use what has been generated from the conference and continue to build upon it – our communities and our country need dialogue and deliberation right now.

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Courtney Breese
Courtney Breese is the Managing Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce College.

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