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Workshops at NCDD Austin

Below is a list of the amazing workshops offered at NCDD Austin, our 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation.  You can see resources generated at/for the workshops by visiting www.ncdd.org/rc/item/tag/ncdd2008.

Friday 1:30-3:30

Debriefing Issues Raised in Traces of the Trade

Harold Fields, National Training Director for Traces of the Trade, and Holly Fulton, Facilitator and Family Participant in Traces of the Trade

Participants interested in this workshop are encouraged to view the screening of “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North” Thursday evening at 7:30 pm.  The workshop will begin with the viewing of a few short excerpts from the film so all can participate if they have not had the opportunity to view the film in its entirety.  Attendees will have the opportunity to dialogue and process personal issues raised while viewing the documentary.  The power of this film comes from watching a white family discover and deal with information about their ancestors’ central role and the widespread northern complicity in building the economy of the United States through the slave trade.  This session investigates how this film can initiate dialogue about white privilege and institutional racism still persisting in what many hope is a colorblind or post-race society.  Participants will explore how dealing with the history and awareness in this film can bring new possibilities to help individuals and groups connect the past and the present when addressing slavery and racism.  They will be invited to discuss a framework for moving beyond cycles of domination and subordination to meaningful reconciliation and repair in their communities. (01)

How Can We Combat Climate Change with Dialogue and Participation? An International Perspective

Dr. Hans-Peter Meister, President and Founder of Meister Consultants Group and Janette Hartz-Karp, Professor at Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute in Western Australia

In this working session, participants will identify what needs to be done and can be done within and by the dialogue community to move forward on the climate change issue. Session hosts from Germany, Australia, and the U.S. will bring an international dimension, sharing their experience with groundbreaking projects in Europe, Australia, Canada and the US (including the timely “Deliberative Democracy and Climate Change” project). Drawing on the knowledge of session participants, we will analyze how dialogue and deliberation can be effectively used at different levels, from the institutional to the personal, to effect change. We will then assess possible approaches for tackling the complex issue of climate change. This session is noteworthy not only in the international dimension to this global issue – helping to strengthen the bridge being built between a global problem and local action – but also the combination of the general with the specific. Included in the more general segments of the session will be ideas for creating broader, whole-systems societal change, made more tangible by the concrete projects contributed by the hosts and participants and the focus on action resulting from the session’s learning. (02)

Attracting Conservative Citizens to Dialogue Events: Liberal-Conservative Campus Dialogue & Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Initiatives

Jacob Hess, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Illinois and Rev. Greg Johnson, Pastor and Director of Standing Together

Although dialogue events may be arguably beneficial to citizens from any background, many communities still face unique barriers to participation. With a growing attention to the limited participation of conservative-leaning individuals in such events, there has been much speculation and theorizing as to “why conservatives don’t like dialogue?!” As conservative practitioners of dialogue ourselves, we offer insights from our own work in two dialogue initiatives across Liberal-Conservative and Mormon-Evangelical lines. After describing each project and sharing a brief video illustration, we will share stories and results (both positive and negative) that reflect a full picture of their impact. Next, we will discuss together unique lessons learned about structuring and framing dialogue events to be attractive to a broad range of citizens – including in their socio-political diversity. Finally, we will facilitate an open discussion with participants to explore questions and wisdom from experiences other people bring. (03)

How Can WE Revitalize Democracy with D&D? – Part 1

DeAnna Martin, Executive Director of the Center for Wise Democracy and Adin Rogovin, Board Member of the Co-Intelligence Institute

NCDD draws together amazing practitioners using many methodologies to improve and transform democracy. We will be exploring how we can collaborate to enable a thriving democracy. This two-part session seeks to begin the conversation among leaders of various methods, those with the passion to transform democracy, and those with resources to discover how we can collaborate to enable a democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people. In 2 sessions over the course of the conference, method and organization leaders from groups like the Co-Intelligence Institute, the Jefferson Center, and the Forum Foundation will be dynamically facilitated in a creative, fishbowl conversation about what might be possible if we were to work together and may achieve concrete next steps for moving forward. Participants are invited to join in the fishbowl if they feel moved to contribute to the conversation and can attend part 1, 2 or both. The session aims to charter an ongoing conversation and collaborative relationships to extend beyond the conference. Strategies will be explored that may lead to local, regional, and national partnerships that will produce results and demonstrate D&D effectiveness on the issues we face. (04)

Raising Revenue, Raising Awareness, Raising Expectations: Supporting Growth Through Business Development, Branding, and Stakeholder Engagement

Cherry Muse, President of the Public Conversations Project; Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks; and Amy Malick, Communication Director at Everyday Democracy

Organizational sustainability, always a concern in the non-profit world, takes on added urgency during challenging economic times. This three-person panel will address sustainability in the context of business development, marketing and communications, and thoughtful planning that involves many stakeholders. This workshop is a panel of representatives from three organizations: AmericaSpeaks (Carolyn Lukensmeyer), Everyday Democracy (Amy Malick) and Public Conversations Project (Cherry Muse). Carolyn will talk about the relationship between strategic planning, social entrepreneurship and business development for a non-profit organization. Amy will share the work that went into the evolution of Everyday Democracy from Study Circles Resource Center. Cherry will outline an initiative of the Public Conversations Project that involved every stakeholder, including board members, staff and practitioners, in charting the organization’s course over the next 20 years. After the panelists have spoken, there will be fifteen minutes for Q&A. The final 30 minutes will be open for attendees to share best (or worst!) practices around fundraising, communications and strategic planning in groups of 2-3. Staff members who are responsible for raising funds, communicating their organization’s mission or strategic planning will be able to speak with, listen to, and gain support from colleagues who face similar challenges. (05)

Transforming Tensions: Enhancing Dialogue and Deliberation Practice through Practical Communication Theory

Barnett Pearce, Professor at Fielding Graduate University; Kimberly Pearce, Professor at De Anza College and co-founder of The Public Dialogue Consortium and Pearce Associates; and Linda Blong, Program Co-Leader of the Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Certificate Program at Fielding Graduate University

As the D&D community has become more sophisticated, we have encountered inherent tensions in the work that we do. As we design processes or make in-the-moment decisions about how to facilitate, we are often pulled in different directions to work toward equally important aims and ideals. These are not dilemmas to be solved, but we have much to gain from exploring and understanding these tensions and how we can effectively act into them. This workshop invites you to take a communication perspective on your D&D work and the tensions you encounter. You will be introduced to the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) communication theory, and learn about how to apply a few of the many concepts and heuristics of CMM to your work. The workshop will involve guided discussion, exploration of a case study, and small group practice in applying the CMM tools to enhance D&D work through transforming tensions. (06)

Speaking Truth to Power: Authentic Voices, Responsive Ears

Robert Stains, Jr., Vice President of the Public Conversations Project and Dave Joseph, Program Director at the Public Conversations Project

Speaking truth to people with power and having them hear and respond requires thoughtful invitation, preparation, speaking and listening. This workshop describes the Public Conversations Project’s efforts to help psychiatric clients (who prefer to be called “Consumer/Survivors”) and high-level state mental health department leaders to communicate and collaborate effectively to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint in psychiatric settings. Building trust and connection was vital, and in the face of unequal power relationships and trauma required extraordinary efforts on the part of all participants and facilitators. In this project, Consumer/Survivors wanted to convey their traumatic experiences with passion, in ways that would invite understanding, not alienation. Many agency staff were extremely empathic and sympathetic, but felt personally attacked and vilified. Poor communication left everyone feeling frustrated and dehumanized. After outlining the background of this case, we will describe a particular moment during which we faced a challenge that involved multiple definitions and dynamics of power. Participants will work in small groups, addressing issues of preparation, the complexities of power imbalances, facilitator assumptions, premises and choices. Upon reassembling, they will share their ideas and insights and learn how PCP responded in the actual case. (07)

And two Youth Dialogue Project Sessions…

NCDD welcomes the Rockrose Institute’s Youth Dialogue Project (YDP) at NCDD Austin to ensure that the voices of young leaders are included in creative and innovative ways. Toward this end, the YDP is hosting three separate and inter-related sessions at the conference: one workshop for people under 30, one for people over 30, and a trans-generational sub-plenary session. Participants to any and all of these trans-generational leadership sessions are requested to bring a photograph or two, of a beloved teacher, mentor, friend, parent, etc., who is no longer among us and/or pictures of children who are currently inspiring their lives. Learn more about the Youth Dialogue Project at NCDD Austin.

1. Including Our Voices: Young Adult Leadership in the D&D community

Hosted by young leaders from On the Verge, a leadership program for young people working in the social change and public benefit sectors. Graphic recording by Mariah Howard. Sponsored by The Rockrose Institute’s Youth Dialogue Project (YDP), San Francisco, California.

Along with the realization of the burgeoning leadership gap within the public benefit and social change communities, came a buzz that has mentors and elders taking a thoughtful look at the next generation of leaders. We invite all young leaders (ages 30 and under) to participate in a peer-led dialogue to surface possibilities, challenges, and requests we want to explore with D&D leaders of all ages. The goal of this session is to provide a safe and supportive environment for each participant to connect with others, and to reflect on their leadership role within the D&D community from a trans-generational perspective. This dialogue will lead into Saturday’s sub-plenary session: Cultivating Trans-generational Leadership in the NCDD Community, and participants in this session are encouraged to attend the sub-plenary as well. (08)

2. Creating Room at the Head of Our Tables: Exploring New Mentoring Roles as Young Leaders Emerge

Co-hosted by YDP mentoring team, Deborah Goldblatt, Ken Homer, Catherine Martell, Milton Reynolds. Sponsored by The Rockrose Institute’s Youth Dialogue Project (YDP), San Francisco, California.

There is an ancient and eternal dialogue unfolding between the generations. Regardless of the time or the culture in which we find ourselves, there is always a conversation going on between the youth, the mentors and the elders. When the dialogue between the generations stalls or falters, for any reason, we collectively lose access to the gifts of wisdom that each of these stages of life has to offer to the others. This results in a weakening of our social fabric and the impoverishment of our culture. If you are over 30, you are invited to join this focused inquiry into how “the more seasoned among us” in the D&D community can best support younger D&D leaders in realizing their full potential, while opening ourselves to better appreciate the gifts they bring to our shared visions. The fruits of this session, along with those harvested in the under 30 dialogue, will inform the whole YDP team in planning and designing the trans-generational sub-plenary session on Saturday: Cultivating Trans-generational Leadership in the NCDD Community. Participants in this session are encouraged to also attend the sub-plenary. (09)

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Saturday 9-10:30

Conducting a Deliberative Poll: Practical Issues

Jim Fishkin, Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, Robert Luskin, Associate Professor of Government at University of Texas, and Alice Siu, Research Assistant and PhD candidate at Stanford University

Deliberative Polling employs scientific samples to assess what people would think if they really engaged with the issues and became more informed. This workshop will provide an overview and discusses the practical steps in conducting a Deliberative Poll topic selection, advisory group, briefing materials, questionnaire, moderator training, small group discussions, final questionnaire, data analysis, release of results and role of the media. We hope to prepare potential collaborators for these practical challenges. We especially welcome potential collaborators to attend – those representing groups or organizations that might consider Deliberative Polling (whether online or face-to-face) at the local, regional or national levels. (10)

Citizen Engagement in the Missouri River Basin Ecosystem Recovery Program

Janet Fiero, Senior Associate of AmericaSpeaks; Brian Manwaring, Program Manager at the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution; and Taylor Willingham, Director of Texas Forums

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Do Big, Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) excite you? In this working session, participants will learn about upcoming citizen engagement efforts to address endangered species recovery in the Missouri River Basin. In addition, participants will contribute ideas and learn how to get involved in this large-scale project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is developing the Missouri River Ecosystem Recovery Plan (MRERP), and is committed to authentically engage people from the 10 basin states, 28 Native American Tribes, numerous interest groups, other federal agencies, and the general public in developing and implementing the plan. The Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution (USIECR), is looking to D&D practitioners to make this ambitious citizen engagement a reality. Participants in this session will roll up their sleeves to work on this large-scale project involving multiple D&D processes. The scope is daunting; the potential results are exciting – a long-range citizen engagement process to restore the ecosystem of one of America’s great rivers. (11)

What Moves You? Exploring the Spiritual and Moral Roots of Our Dialogue Practice

Sarah Beller, Nina Talley-Kalokoh and Kelsey Visser-Eason, Masters Candidates at American University

What originally inspired you to do dialogue and deliberation work? What are your sources of sustenance in the rocky times? Whether you want to reconnect with your own deep motivations to do this work or get energized by tapping into others’, this session will provide a safe space for your exploration. The highly experiential and participatory format of the workshop will include mindful introspection, creative expression, and open dialogue to delve deep into our sources of inspiration. The workshop will conclude with an opportunity to share ideas about using arts-based and experiential tools—-beyond just verbal discussion—-to help achieve the goals of dialogue. All are welcome, whether you are taking your first steps into dialogue or you have journeyed many miles, and whether you see your motivations as moral, spiritual, or both. Bring an open mind and an adventurous spirit. (12)

Embedding D&D into Government Systems

Stephanie Nestlerode, Partner at Omega Point International, Inc.; Lori Alvarado, Regional Director of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services; and John Spady, Executive Vice President of the Forum Foundation

The session will highlight county and state government efforts to transform how they do their work by transforming how they conduct conversations. In other words, how equipped are government agencies to listen – internally and externally? Government efforts to be highlighted: King County (Seattle area), The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, The Colorado Prevention Leadership Council, and The El Paso County Department of Human Services (Colorado Springs area). A panel and participants will contribute to a conversation about lessons learned and questions that remain in the areas of 1) creating structures to support conversation on any topic 2) infusing and sustaining conversational tools in organizational and political systems and 3) fostering social capital. The panel will include multiple perspectives with representatives from government, business, a non-profit, and a consulting firm. The session will be interactive and lively with time devoted to exploring issues in depth. Detailed handouts will be provided from the example agencies. The session will conclude with a conversation on this topic:  If you hold an intention to transform government, what are the most effective ways to approach government agencies? (13)

Sustained Dialogue: It’s Not Just Talk—Students Committed to Changing Campus Climate

Christina Kelleher and Rhonda Fitzgerald, Program Directors of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network

In 1999, students began using a unique process called Sustained Dialogue (SD) to proactively improve race relations on college campuses. A network of Sustained Dialogue practitioners has since formed, connecting students at over a fifteen colleges, universities, and high schools. The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) represents a budding social movement of passionate students, deeply engaged in changing the dynamics of their communities. Come learn the theory behind Sustained Dialogue, the practical steps students across the country are taking to create safe spaces to address divisive issues like race relations that are often taboo in social settings. In this space, participants learn from one another and are changed by the experiences they share so that they can begin to truly understand the problems that face their communities and what power they have, as a group of individuals, to address them. (14)

Exploring How our Work in D&D Contributes to Social Change

Philip Thomas and Bettye Pruitt, Co-Coordinators of the Generative Change Community

This interactive workshop will explore and extend the question raised by the NCDD Streams of Engagement framework: when we facilitate D&D, what are we using the tools for? Recognizing that all we may do with D&D is necessary but not sufficient to bring about the larger social change goals we hold, we will uncover and reflect on some of the assumptions we hold about how change happens and how D&D can contribute. As a group, we will map strategies for change and draw distinctions among different approaches, considering their differences, similarities, and complementarities. We will work on more effective ways to articulate and talk about what we are doing, and what we hope to achieve when we employ different D&D methodologies. The session hosts, from the Generative Change Community, will share ideas and insights that have emerged from similar sessions in other parts of the world (e.g., Canada, Australia, the Philippines). (15)

Virtuous and Vicious Cycles: Beyond a Linear View of Outcome and Impact

Maggie Herzig, Senior Associate of the Public Conversations Project and Lucy Moore, Independent Public Policy Mediator

When dialogue and deliberation practitioners model their work on conflict resolution, they typically see a linear set of steps: talk, generate ideas, decide, act.  Their initiative is seen as having a clear beginning and end and the value of the whole is judged by the decision or action at the end.  In this session, Maggie Herzig will present her “Virtuous and Vicious Cycles” model for thinking about outcomes and impacts, which addresses the limitations of this linear view.  Her model recognizes that in complex systems, endings are also beginnings and a single initiative may, in fact, go through several cycles of engagement and impact and it may generate ripple effects that extend far beyond the formal endpoint of the initiative.  It accommodates the idea that overly defining outcomes from the start is potentially undermining of participants’ ownership of their efforts and under-appreciative of possibilities that were unimaginable before the initiative began.  Finally, the model organically integrates different kinds of work with D&D, including leadership development, prejudice reduction, dispute resolution, and action planning.  In the first half of this session, Maggie, an experienced dialogue practitioner and one of the founders of the Public Conversations Project, will present her model and Lucy Moore, an experienced public policy mediator, will comment on the model from her perspective.  In the second half, the group will offer feedback about this new model and engage in discussing how more systemic and organic ways of thinking about impact and outcome, if adopted by practitioners, leaders, and funders, may foster more energetic and robust civic engagement and problem solving. (16)

Café U

Donald Proffit, Northeast Region steward for The World Café and Eric Haltmeier, performing musician and educator

The Café process has, for us, frequently mirrored the stages of Theory U where first round questions provoke us to suspend the Voice of Judgment and begin to see with fresh eyes and listen with fresh ears. As we move deeper into round two questions and the “magic in the middle” appears in the center of each table, we begin to connect to the source – places and practices of stillness and presence. And, finally, in round three, we emerge into bold new possibilities and future actions. Join us as we delve into Scharmer’s Theory in a World Café format simulating the deep dive experience of the U. Applying the Café framework – three rounds of questions and a final harvest – participants will create a microcosm in which the whole system (all of us) can show up, connect, and transform the structure of our relationship. In addition to graphic recording during the Café, we will also include a real-time, improvised musical score documenting our journey through the U, providing an authentic example of co-sensing, co-presencing and co-creating during this session. (17)

University and College Centers as Platforms for Deliberative Democracy

John Stephens, Coordinator of the Public Dispute Resolution Program at the School of Government, UNC at Chapel Hill; Martin Carcasson, Director of the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation (CPD); and Windy Lawrence, Co-Director of the University of Houston-Downtown Center for Public Deliberation

Across the country, a diverse network of university-based public deliberation programs focused on practical scholarship and hands-on deliberative activities has formed. This roundtable is for college and university staff and faculty as well as D&D practitioners outside of universities to learn about the University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) and other university-based centers focused on deliberative democracy. Practitioners are invited to share their experiences, interests and concerns about university-based public deliberation work. Information on current university supported public deliberation programs and centers will be presented, and three programs will be highlighted to show the breadth of university based centers as they link people involved in programs such as Everyday Democracy, The Democracy Imperative, National Issues Forums, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Policy Consensus Initiative, and public policy dispute resolution programs in addition to NCDD. Small group discussion will focus on (1) the advantages and disadvantages of working with universities for public deliberation, and (2) the opportunities and pitfalls of university-practitioner relationships. (18)

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Saturday 11-12:30

Fireside Chat on Embedding Citizen’s Voices in Our Governing Systems

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, President of AmericaSpeaks

Now is a unique time in history with a surge of citizen involvement and increased voter turnout. If we care about dialogue and deliberation we need to embed new procedures, processes and practices in all levels of governance: local, state, regional and national. As we design new approaches on one level how can we be mindful of the impacts on other levels of governance? We must be strategic on the initiatives we design and support. Come chat with Carolyn Lukensmeyer about her latest thoughts on institutionalizing new government mechanisms that will sustain citizen engagement long past the 2008 election. (19)

Vets4Vets: Iraq-Era Vets Show How They Use “Deep Democracy 2”

Jim Driscoll, Coordinator of Vets4Vets, and several Iraq-era vets who are V4V leaders

Vets4Vets (www.Vets4Vets.US) has trained over 500 Iraq and Afghanistan vets in more than 30 weekend workshops in the last two years all over the U.S. They learn the guided conversation tools of Deep Democracy 2–peer support groups, participant-set topic group discussions and action-oriented decision groups based on individual empowerment rather than consensus. The goal is to build an international peer support community using local groups (8 currently meeting around the country), phone and internet connections among the 1.6 million (and growing) vets who have served in the Global War On Terror and to empower these vets to play meaningful roles of their own choosing in the larger society. If you are really interested in “supporting the troops,” please come and learn from these vets themselves how you can help reach out to this important constituency–and learn a model which can be applied to any other constituency group, including non-traditional ones, for both healing and empowerment. (20)

How to Teach a Course on Deliberation

John Gastil, professor of communication at the University of Washington and William Keith, professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

This workshop gives participants tools and ideas they can use to teach a college or university course on deliberation (or simply sharpen their understanding of the concept). Broadly defined, deliberation connects with a range of research topics and concerns – how political conversations reinforce preexisting prejudices, how media monopolies limit public debate, how partisan pressures warp Congressional debates, etc. The workshop uses a presentation and Q&A to show how to organize a college, high school, or community course on these and other topics, and the workshop includes interactive demonstrations of student activities that teach deliberative skills. (21)

Evaluating Dialogue & Deliberation: What are we learning?

Natasha Manji, Senior Communications Advisor of Public Involvement at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC); Jacquie Dale, President and CEO of One World, Inc.; and Miriam Wyman, Principal Consultant of Practicum Limited

The need for quality evaluation is frequently overlooked and is often an ad hoc consideration rather than a well-integrated component of the dialogue process. There is a growing understanding that many factors influence effectiveness and we need to better understand these if we are going to continue to improve our work and make it more relevant. This session will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the importance of evaluation in sharing learning, building capacity and documenting the ongoing legacy of dialogue and deliberation. The session leaders will bring years of experience and countless evaluation case studies to this session, and a case study on a national process focused on public health will be used as a conversation starter. (22)

Coming to the Table: Addressing Racial Reconciliation in America

Phoebe Kilby, Associate Director of Development at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University; Betty Kilby, CEO of Cultural Innovations; and Amy Potter, Associate Director of the Practice Institute at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Coming to the Table was initiated by descendants of slave-holders and descendants of enslaved people, who were inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that the “sons of former slaves and sons of former slave owners would be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood.” They sought to share their own history and experiences of race as related to the legacy of slavery, including all aspects of that legacy (re-enslavement practices after the Civil War, Jim Crow, civil rights struggles, and modern day racism).  An intentional space and community has been growing where people can share their truth related to the structure of “race” and the emotional impact of slavery’s legacy as well as grapple with what it will take to make things right and create a larger family. Connected descendents Betty Kilby and Phoebe Kilby will share their very different experiences of race related to slavery’s legacy.  Amy Potter, director of the program, will describe what we have learned about creating space for racial reconciliation. Please join us at this symbolic table of brother and sisterhood. (23)

The Power of Poetry to Facilitate Change

David Markwardt, published poet and leadership development professional; Michael Baldwin is Director of the Benbrook (Texas) Public Library; and Neil Meili, founding member of Imago Relationships International’s Peace Project

Just as poetry is an art, so too is creating change. Poetry’s expansive language and images and ideas provide practical insights, create possibilities, and invite courage. Change agents do the same. Are you realizing your potential to create change? Are you having the courageous conversations with yourself and others that you need to be having? The future of our communities needs bold change agents who will create a future distinct from the past. Come to this workshop to have a creative confrontation! (24)

Bullying: A Flexible Community Discussion Model

Nancy Polk, Project Manager of Community Conversations About Education and Penny Rogers, Director of Community Programs at Community Mediation, Inc.

Bullying is one of the urgent issues of the day, in schools, the workplace and society. Community based conversations offer a chance to share experiences, often painful, that can lead to shared strategies. The Community Conversation model creates a pathway for action. You will work together to suggest next steps to confront the issue of bullying. In a small group discussion circle, you will learn how to organize and moderate a discussion on bullying. You will discuss strategies to organize a community conversation on bullying. You will view a short PowerPoint on bullying that uses a flexible format adaptable to a variety of settings. We encourage you to take the PowerPoint home to modify for your own community conversations. We will answer your questions and offer technical assistance to those who wish to organize a community-wide conversation on bullying. (25)

Social Media and the Power of Conversation: Everything is Personal Again

Chris Heuer, Senior Partner in The Conversation Group and Co-Founder of the Social Media Club and Kristie Wells, Co-Founder and President of the Social Media Club

Every day more and more people, non-profits and corporations are joining the conversation online.  In this workshop, we will briefly explore why, and deeply explore how you can make the most of it. Have you heard of conversational marketing?  It is a new trend in which companies are looking at how to reach their customers and potential customers by joining an online dialogue. There is much you can learn from them, and more they can learn from you. During the course of this workshop, we will look at practical uses for new online dialogue tools such as: Twitter, Ning, Facebook, Flickr, and FriendFeed and how you can be more effective in developing grassroots efforts and staying connected with the broader community. Still not interested? Let us know what you want to learn during the course of this workshop, and we will adjust the presentation to your needs.  Whatever you want to know about Social Media and what you are not afraid to ask is what you will learn during this workshop. (26)

The Role of the Facilitator in International Development: Collective Reflection for Sustainable Change

Patricia A. Wilson, Professor of Participatory Development at the University of Texas and Varun Vidyarthi, Executive Director of Manavodaya

“Development from below” is not enough. The key to sustainable social change is development from within – i.e. change in individual and group consciousness that leads to collective capacity for self-management among people’s organizations. A practitioner and a scholar of participatory development explore the inner and outer journeys of both development facilitators and women villagers, as they present the core of their new book, Development from Within: Facilitating Collective Reflection for Sustainable Change. The authors recount first hand the story of Manavodaya, a non-profit organization that has facilitated self-help groups among rural poor and trained development practitioners in methods of dialogue and empowerment for over twenty years. They present a successful method of dialogue called collective reflection that has enabled significant changes in the lives of the participants – both development professionals and villagers alike. (27)

Compassionate Listening: D&D from the Inside Out

Susan Partnow, Certified CL Trainer and Coordinator of Advanced Training and Rachel Eryn Kalish, Certifed CL Trainer and Principal of Workplace Connections

Compassionate Listening is a practice that reaches deep into the heart of discord or disconnection, teaching people to listen and speak with a different “ear” to those around them, with a ‘spiritual ear.’ As facilitators it is vital that we cultivate ways to keep us in connection in the midst of the fire, staying heart centered to foster dialogue and wise deliberation. These powerful tools enhance any D&D process, helping to transform the energy of conflict into opportunities for understanding, productive teamwork, healthy relations, and positive action. In this inspiring and highly experiential session you will learn ways to: integrate the wisdom of the heart, learning about recent findings from neurocardiology; nurture compassion for yourself and others; expand your ability to suspend judgment of self and others; stay more present and open to any group you are part of or leading; manage your triggers so you can stay centered and calm even in challenging situations; cultivate comfort with stepping into the fire by listening and speaking in ways that transform conflict to deeper learning and connection; engage Compassionate Listening as a way to heal wounds that divide communities, transform conflicts within organizations, or build relationships among individuals. (28)

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Sunday 9-10:30

Bluebonnet Hills Sunday Conversation

Dr. Landon Shultz, Minister of the Bluebonnet Hills Christian Church

Conversation in a religious context tends to be more about ‘dispensation,’ where speaking is mainly by authority figures for the purpose of imparting doctrine, than about ‘dialogue,’ where speaking is shared among many participants for the purpose of seeking understanding. At Bluebonnet Hills Christian Church, we use dialogue as a primary approach, and we encourage the expression of a diversity of viewpoints. Each Sunday, we engage in a conversation that is not built around proclaiming established answers, but rather around encountering meaningful questions. Join us for a Bluebonnet-style Sunday morning service! (29)

The Inquiry Process: Zen Meditation and Dialogue as Liberating Intimacy in a Social Context

T. Flint Sparks, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Zen Buddhist Teacher at the Austin Zen Center and Margaret A. Syverson, Ph.D., Director of the Undergraduate Writing Center and Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas

This interactive session will offer participants an opportunity to learn about and experience a deeply nourishing and restorative process of personal exploration and inquiry supported by skillful guidance, interpersonal connection, and contemplation. Recent research in interpersonal neurobiology and the psychological processes of attunement and attachment ground this practice of mindfulness as a relational process that deepens wisdom, clarity, and compassion. Buddhist teachings and practices for expanding awareness, attention, and nonjudgmental responsiveness offer methods for realizing these profound gifts through the immediacy and directness of dialogue. This session will include guided meditation and is offered as a Sunday morning spiritual experience. (30)

If There’s Something Strange in Your Neighborhood, Who Ya Gonna Call? Ex-ten-sion! Li-brar-ies!

Mike Baldwin, director of the Benbrook (Texas) Public Library; Jan Hartough, State Coordinator for Public Deliberation at Michigan State University Extension; Tom Moran, Program and Outreach Manager for the Austin Public Library; Laura Walth, Librarian at the Des Moines Public Library and Member of Iowa Partners in Learning; and Taylor Willingham, co-founder and director of Texas Forums, an initiative of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Contrary to what you may think, Libraries and Extension are more than just books and bulls! They have an historic civic mission and are vital to democracy. They are trusted institutions with expertise, information, and are in the public’s education business. They are the people’s university, the public’s forum for dealing with contentious public issues. Libraries are an ideal venue for public forums. The number of libraries exceeds the number of MacDonald restaurants. University extension educators are the land grant institutions’ “boots on the ground” providing problem-solving expertise in every county throughout the country. Thus these institutions, stalwarts of democracy, are ideally positioned to help communities facing difficult problems. Unfortunately, they are also the community’s best-kept secret! This workshop will highlight innovative ways that librarians and university extension educators are helping communities tackle tough problems. (31)

Beyond the Choir: Using Film and Story for Cross-Sector Dialogue and Policy Change

Shaady Salehi, Program Manager at Active Voice

Immigration. Race relations. LGBTQ rights. In our divided political and social climate, punditry rules, and many people are speaking and working within their own “silos,” keeping a lot of important dialogue isolated. Do you ever feel like you’re talking in a bubble? Would you like some practical tools that can reach BEYOND THE CHOIR and build bridges across divides? Active Voice, a media strategy team, can help you use film to initiate more productive dialogue with people who don’t necessarily share the same perspectives on contemporary issues. Filmmakers are experts at capturing the complex human drama behind the tough issues of our day, telling stories that can help diverse audiences find a “common text” around social and political issues. In this workshop, we will lay out a series of different scenarios, constituencies and opportunities to use documentary film for solutions-oriented dialogue that reaches Beyond the Choir and paves the way for policy change. (32)

Connecting the Dots: How Does Dialogue and Deliberation Work Lead to Change?

Will Friedman, Executive Vice-President and Director of Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement and Alison Kadlec, Associate Director of Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement

This workshop explores the relationship between dialogue & deliberation (D&D) work and processes of change (or impacts) at all levels (e.g., attitudinal, institutional, community, culture and policy). Our aim in the workshop is to make significant progress on developing a richer and better articulated theory of change for D&D work than currently exists. We believe that doing so will help workshop participants improve their work and explain it in clearer and more compelling ways to funders, officials and communities. The workshop will be highly interactive, combining short conceptual presentations, large and small group reflections and discussions, and collaborative model building as we explore such questions as: (1) What are the indicators of significant change that lead us to classify D&D initiatives as either powerful agents of change or as weak ones? (2) In what ways do particular D&D methods relate to different kinds of change? (individual attitudes? policies? new partnerships? transformed culture? institutional changes?) And (3) How do our experiences and observations match up against several existing theories of change and what kind of model of change is suggested by our collective/collaborative thinking? (33)

Beyond the Tools: Applying D&D Principles to Online Engagement

Brian Sullivan, Founder of Practical Evolution, LLC and developer of CivicEvolution and Janette Hartz-Karp, Professor at Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute in Western Australia

Though it is seductive to add an online component to our dialogue and deliberation initiatives, simply bolting on a blog, wiki, or forum is unlikely to deliver the desired results. The question is how to maximize their value? To explore this, we overview the broad range of online tools and social media from a goal oriented perspective: We examine what we are trying to achieve and how each of these tools might help. Specific goals of our fellow participants will provide real-world examples. Effective online engagement is about more than tools: we need to consider the promise, the tools, and the bargain. By applying D&D principles to our tools we can create the structure and process that allows us to deliver on the promise and satisfy the bargain. For example, CivicEvolution is an online workspace that employs process driven collaborative dialogue to help citizens develop solutions to community problems. We will explore some applications of CivicEvolution including sustainability issues and government reform and review the lessons learned and challenges ahead. Participants can continue the discussion on CivicEvolution, exploring their specific challenges with the group. (34)

Tools for Dealing with Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Paradox: Reflective Methods for Group Development

Tom Murray, Chief Visionary & Instigator at Perspegrity Solutions; Sara Ross, President/Founder of ARINA, Inc.; and Jan Inglis, Director of the Integrative Learning Institute

Dialogue and deliberation can become particularly challenging when the focal topic involves substantial uncertainty, ambiguity, or paradox.  When participants hold tightly to particular interpretations, assumptions, and definitions of terms, it is more difficult to find common ground and clearly articulate differences.  We will introduce several methods (for example, TIP Issues Framing and Polarity Exploration) for helping groups grapple with such topics.  These methods are designed to promote mutual understanding and open participants to more flexible understanding of the various perspectives on a topic, and the different ways it can be interpreted.  It includes support for working with grey areas, holding conflicting ideas in mind, thinking in terms of probabilities, spectrums, and systems, all with the goal of greater understanding and “cognitive empathy.” These methods are particularly appropriate to contexts that allow rich dialogue for small to medium group sizes, with facilitation. (35)

Lessons Learned from Facilitating Dialogues about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict within the Jewish Community

Rachel Eryn Kalish, Principal of Workplace Connections; Mitch Chanin, Executive Director of the Jewish Dialogue Group; and Dave Joseph, Program Director at the Public Conversations Project

Within Jewish communities, conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are often either extremely contentious or avoided, due to the intensity of feelings and potential for disrupted relationships. This workshop will introduce methods for organizing and facilitating dialogues programs that create enough safety for participants to take risks and cross challenging divides. It will address how to bring polarized community members to the table; how to create a safe environment; and how to encourage depth and connection across divides. Participants will utilize experiential activities, as well as hear success stories and lessons learned from the workshop leaders, who have facilitated and supervised dialogues in a variety of settings. The workshop will focus on the heart and spirit of dialogue and offer resources that can be used to facilitate dialogues in synagogues, organizations, and communities. The workshop will also explore how dialogue can be used to foster systemic change, through stories and discussion about dialogue projects that have engaged key leaders and/or shifted the culture of institutions and organizations. Participants will leave with an enhanced sense of what’s possible to accomplish and an array of resources to address the challenges inherent in facilitating such dialogues. (36)

Evolutionary or Misapplication? The Use of Innovative “Large Group” Techniques for Dialogues about Diversity

David Campt, Principal of The DWC Group and Senior Associate with AmericaSpeaks

This workshop will explore two primary questions about conversations focused on issues related to race, diversity, and identity: (1) What are the additional complexities involved in using large-scale dialogue approaches that involve trying to coordinate and connect multiple small groups? (2) What are the opportunities and complexities in using audience response keypads in such settings? Dr. David Campt is experienced with AmericaSpeaks’ approach to very large-scale dialogues, and he has organized small group dialogues and extensive dialogue efforts around race and diversity for The White House, Members of Congress, foundations, and community-based organizations. In recent years, David has increased his use of audience keypads in attempts to accelerate the process of finding points of convergence and divergence. The workshop will highlight lessons learned about using audience response keypads and large group techniques when the topic sometimes touches core identities for participants. (37)

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Sunday 11-12:30

“The Straight Talk Dialogues” From Practice to Research

Julie Graves, doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Paul Alexander, Director of the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University

This workshop will present the process and preliminary findings of a 4-session dialogue series, called The Straight Talk Dialogues, involving adult heterosexual participants addressing the topic of homosexuality and related social issues.  The dialogues are in progress now (early Fall 2008) and facilitated by the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University, in Denver, Colorado.  This dialogue series is also the subject of a doctoral dissertation study on attitudes toward lesbians and gay men, heterosexual identity, and the potential for transformation of bias through dialogue. This workshop is co-presented by the dialogue coordinator and the researcher, offering the interwoven perspectives of both practice and research.  Attendees will gain insight into the planning and facilitation challenges of hosting a dialogue on this controversial topic and the ways we met and addressed these.  You will come away with a deepened awareness of the power of intra-group dialogue in general and for addressing social controversy over sexual diversity and related policies.  Handouts will include copies of materials used in the actual dialogues and a complete bibliography. (38)

Findings About Public Participation from the New National Academy of Sciences Report—A Briefing and Commentary From Practitioners

Roger Bernier, PhD, MPH, Senior Advisor for Scientific Strategy and Innovation, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others

In this session, organizers will present a brief summary of the new report just released by the National Academy of Sciences entitled “Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making.” This landmark report has been years in preparation and is the most extensive and exhaustive review of the available evidence on the value and effectiveness of public participation in government decision making. While the report is focused on environmental public participation, its conclusions may be applicable more broadly to the entire field of public participation in decision making. Following the brief summary of the contents of the report, a “reactor panel” of public participation practitioners will provide their reactions to the conclusions from the report and its relevance and offer their perspectives on exactly how this landmark report can be made useful for the field. (39)

Interactive Theater and Dialogue

Trip Barthel, Founder and Executive Director of the Neighborhood Mediation Center in Reno, Nevada and Shamil Fattakhov, Russian screenwriter, director and television producer

This will be a highly interactive session allowing the conference attendees to perform actual skits from a variety of countries and to discuss the principles and solutions to those difficult situations. We will compare your principles and solutions with the culture that created the skit. This will be a new way to experience cultural understanding and practice creative, ethical problem solving. This program uses interactive theater as a way to promote the use of principled decision making through audience participation. Brief skits around local issues are presented and stopped at the high point of the conflict. The audience is then asked to identify the principles involved and the positive, constructive choices available to the parties. The audience can participate in a variety of ways, including acting it out with the participants, writing out solutions, creating a piece of art around the situation and, discussing it as a whole group or in small groups. The Happy Hippo Show originated as a live television program in Kazan, Russia, in 1993 and was eventually shown in 22 cities in Russia. It expanded internationally after the Beijing UN Women’s Conference in 1995. It currently has programs in 63 countries on 5 continents and participated in the 2006 UN NGO/DPI conference. (40)

Taking It To The Streets: Innovative Approaches to Dialogues Addressing Racism

Judith Mowry, Effective Engagement Solutions program specialist for the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement; Catherine Orland, trainer and facilitator; and additional presenters TBD

This session will feature several dialogue and action models which work toward eliminating racism. Interactive cluster sessions will allow workshop participants the opportunity to dialogue with panelists and pose in-depth questions about their methods, goals, challenges, tools and solutions.  In addition to imagining how the models presented could be modified for application in our own communities, participants will also gain an understanding of common practitioner challenges and an opportunity to reflect on the question: What is the internal work that we as D&D professionals have to do to address racism? How do we encourage the conversation, move past our fears, work together for action? (41)

Just Vision: Israeli and Palestinian Peacebuilding Narratives Open New Channels for Dialogue and Action

Irene Nasser, Outreach Associate at Just Vision

Through a screening of excerpts from Just Vision’s award winning documentary film Encounter Point and post-screening small group discussions, this session will introduce a new approach to dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ways to support peace builders. The discussion will explore themes such as bereavement, civic leadership, and human agency. Encounter Point and its supporting resources present under-documented stories of Israelis and Palestinians who have been deeply touched by violence but who nonetheless struggle to stem hatred and promote reconciliation, understanding and nonviolence. Encounter Point has been used by hundreds of communities, schools and individuals as a catalyst for learning, dialogue and participation. This session will model use of Just Vision’s resources, and discuss their application with different audiences. Encounter Point tells the stories of a Palestinian ex-prisoner, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian bereaved brother who risk their lives and public standing to promote a nonviolent end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Encounter Point was jointly produced by a Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American team of young women and has been screened from New York to Dubai to Jerusalem, Jenin, Ramallah, Sderot and Tel Aviv. (42)

Facilitation as Inquiry: Methods Employed in Classrooms, Training Seminars and Public Forums

Erika Mason-Imbody, Project Coordinator for the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD) at Kansas State University and Tim Steffensmeier; Assistant Professor of Speech-Communication at Kansas State University

A knowledgeable, neutral facilitator can be the key to a successful public deliberation. However, examples of effective facilitation are not commonplace in public discourse. A primary mission of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD) at Kansas State University is to provide training and education on facilitation skills. It is our experience that communication trainings typically promote a different skill set – one that values the presentation of answers and arguments over the skills of framing a subject, asking good questions, guiding a discussion, and summarizing results. We approach the concept of “facilitation as inquiry” in three contexts: (1) those who host public forums, (2) those who attend facilitation training, and (3) those who learn in higher education classroom settings. This session will explore theories, methods, and practices that ICDD uses to train participants to see facilitation as a method of inquiry. We will share methods and assignments used in our interdisciplinary classes taught at the university, as well as techniques used in our training of community facilitators. This will include handouts on activities and techniques practiced. We will also have time for group discussion so that others might share ideas that have worked in their teaching of facilitation. (43)

How Can WE Revitalize Democracy with D&D? – Part 2

DeAnna Martin, Executive Director of the Center for Wise Democracy and Adin Rogovin, Board Member of the Co-Intelligence Institute

NCDD draws together amazing practitioners using many methodologies to improve and transform democracy. We will be exploring how we can collaborate to enable a thriving democracy. This two-part session seeks to begin the conversation among leaders of various methods, those with the passion to transform democracy, and those with resources to discover how we can collaborate to enable a democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people. In 2 sessions over the course of the conference, method and organization leaders from groups like the Co-Intelligence Institute, the Jefferson Center, and the Forum Foundation will be dynamically facilitated in a creative, fishbowl conversation about what might be possible if we were to work together and may achieve concrete next steps for moving forward. Participants are invited to join in the fishbowl if they feel moved to contribute to the conversation and can attend part 1, 2 or both. The session aims to charter an ongoing conversation and collaborative relationships to extend beyond the conference. Strategies will be explored that may lead to local, regional, and national partnerships that will produce results and demonstrate D&D effectiveness on the issues we face. (44)

Direct Democracy in the Mountains: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future

Susan Clark, adjunct faculty member at Woodbury College

Dialogue and deliberation practitioners dream of governmental structures wherein citizens would, as a matter of course, co-create and implement their vision for a common future. What would such a system look like? Mountain towns in Vermont and Switzerland may hold some of the secrets. For centuries, town meetings have involved citizens from all income and education levels and political perspectives in the “public talk” at the heart of this decision-making institution. Whether or not town meetings are the highest example of “real democracy” (as some supporters contend), elements of Vermont and Swiss town meetings continue to astonish political scientists worldwide. In this workshop, explore practical lessons today’s D&D practitioners can take away from the Vermont and Swiss systems. Learn about recent data on the Vermont system, with surprising details on its participatory nature. Pitfalls of the systems, including exploitation for undemocratic purposes, will also be discussed. An evocative slide “tour” will include eye-opening photos of outdoor Swiss assemblies. And, as in any good town meeting, there will be plenty of time for interaction and idea sharing. (45)

Thinking More Deeply About What We Do: An Introduction to the Practice of Civic Reflection

Deva Woodly, Project Associate of the Project on Civic Reflection at Valparaiso University

This workshop will introduce NCDD members to civic reflection, the practice of reading and discussing short pieces of literature as a means of reflecting on central questions of civic life. This practice can help citizens talk more comfortably about values, think more deeply about choices, and respond more imaginatively to the needs of their communities. In the past several years, through the work of the Project on Civic Reflection and its partners, thousands of people across America have participated in civic reflection conversations tailored to their civic settings and concerns—from young people clearing trails through the Civilian Conservation Corps in Montana, to retirees volunteering at a food pantry through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in Ohio, to professionals giving to their community through Rotary in Nebraska, to community organizers leading health reform in Illinois. This workshop will begin by introducing participants to the principles of civic reflection. We will then break into smaller groups to share a reading and participate in a facilitated conversation. We will conclude with an overview of resources available through the Project on Civic Reflection, with time for questions and general discussion. (46)

Visual Thinking Tools for Policy Change

Virginia Hamilton, Principle of Conversations Waiting to Happen and John Baker, President of Strategies for the Future

People tightly hold images of themselves and their organizations in ways that can slow down or even stop change. By using visual tools to explicitly uncover these images and their underlying values, we can more easily help individuals and groups change their behavior. Images have an extraordinary power in communication and facilitation because they instantly reveal relationships while tapping into memory and past associations. They are key to releasing intention and will. Unlike graphic facilitation, which typically captures the journey of a group in dialogue, and sometimes has templates and specific processes to guide a group’s work, the focus of this session is based on the belief that images and visual thinking are actually at the core of an individual or group’s behavior. By making these images explicit, and understanding what is keeping them strong, we can more easily grasp actions that we can take to create the change we want to see. The visual method taps into both our intuition and creativity. This session will focus on the use of visual tools in working with groups to accelerate change. Using a set of images from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), participants will review how to use images to tap into right brain thinking and into a bias for action. They will learn how change is deeply rooted to visual thinking, and how image shifts are at the heart of individual and organizational change. (47)

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. What a rich variety of significant presentations in Austin! I won’t miss Seattle. Thanks for the great frontier to which you invite us!

  2. Cheryl Honey says:

    Incredible opportunity for expanding our knowledge and understanding of what’s possible. I’m so impressed with the diverse dimensions of this field that are represented by the sessions. There are many new advancements in the field of D & D. So looking forward to being with you.

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