Tiny House
More About The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation • Join Now!
Community News

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Missed Our “Democracy Machine” Confab Call? Hear it Now!

NCDD hosted another one of our Confab Calls last week, and it was one of our most engaging calls yet! We hosted a conversation with the dynamic duo behind the concept of the “Democracy Machine” and had a very lively discussion with nearly 40 participants about the possibilities and practicalities of building a massive, integrated, deliberative online commons. You really missed out if you weren’t there!

Confab bubble imageOur presenters were John Gastil and Luke Hohmann, who have been working together to outline the technical, organizational, and collaborative process that would be needed to begin to link and integrate the many existing online D&D tools and platforms to create a functioning digital public commons that could facilitate sustained deliberative engagement and send ongoing feedback to both government and citizens to improve how the public interfaces with the public sector. It’s hard to understate the enormity of this undertaking, but the Confab Call presentation and discussion with John and Luke was a great opportunity to wrap our heads around the idea and discuss its pros, cons, and potentials.

If you missed out on the call but still want to see and hear the presentation and conversation, then we encourage you to watch the recording of this Confab Call by clicking here. This Confab Call also had one of the most active discussions we’ve had in the accompanying chat box, and the great back and forth is also worth reading along with the presentation, so you can find discussion from the Confab Call’s chat by clicking here.

NCDD is proud to have supported John and Luke in taking another step in making the Democracy Machine a reality by hosting this first broader conversation on our Confab Call. As you can hear in the call recording, there is still a lot more work to do to make the idea feasible. But the next step that John and Luke have planned to is to use their interactive session on building the democracy machine during our NCDD 2016 conference in Boston this October 14th-16th. They’ll be using the session to collect more feedback and ideas from leaders in the field and also to enlist collaborators for the future, so if you’re interested in being involved in their project, be sure to register for the conference today so that you can continue the conversation in person!

Source: Challenges to Democracy blog

If you are looking for a bit more background on the idea of a “democracy machine,” we encourage you to read about the basic concept in John’s recent post on the Challenges to Democracy blog or read his full essay, “Building a Democracy Machine: Toward an Integrated and Empowered Form of Democracy,” by clicking here.

Thanks again to John and Luke for relying on NCDD to help advance their ideas and for collaborating on this Confab Call! To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/confabs.


Call for D&D Showcase Presenters at NCDD 2016

NCDD is excited to announce that we’ll once again be holding our popular “D&D Showcase” during the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, and we are looking for presenters!

yardsign_300pxThe D&D Showcase is a lively cocktail networking event that provides an opportunity for select individuals and organizations in our field to share some of the leading ideas, tools, projects, and initiatives in dialogue & deliberation with conference participants all in one space. It’s a fun way for conference-goers to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in D&D and hear about the projects, programs, and tools that are making waves in our work.

How the Showcase will work

Showcase presenters display simple “posters” about their work, tools, or projects and bring handouts and business cards to share with participants who are interested in learning more or following up. Showcase presenters will be ready to succinctly express what’s important for conference participants to know about their resource, method, research, program, etc. and to elaborate and answer any questions people may have.

During the 90-minute Showcase event, conference participants will stroll around the ballroom, chatting with presenters, and checking out their displays and picking up Showcase2014-2handouts. We’ll also have finger foods and beverages available as well as a cash bar, adding to the social atmosphere of the session.

The Showcase is a great chance to strike up conversations with leaders in the field and other conference participants who are strolling around the room, perusing the “wares.”

You can get a good sense of what the Showcase is like by watching this slideshow from our 2012 conference in Seattle.

You can also see Janette Hartz-Karp and Brian Sullivan presenting at the 2008 Showcase event here (back when we called it the “D&D Marketplace”), and check out the video of Noam Shore, Lucas Cioffi, and Wayne Burke presenting their online tools here.

Showcase2014-1Becoming a Showcase Presenter

The conference planning team is hard at work planning NCDD 2016, and one of our upcoming steps includes selecting people and organizations who are passionate about sharing tools and programs we know will interest our attendees as presenters during the Showcase. If you are interested in having your tool, project, idea, or work being featured in the Showcase, please email our conference manager Courtney Breese at courtney@ncdd.org and include: what it is you would like to showcase, a brief description of it, any links to where more information can be found, and any questions you have.

Please note that these slots are very competitive, and we will be favoring Showcase presentations that relate to the conference theme, Bridging Our Divides. So if your work, project, or tool focuses on helping people work across persistent divisions in our society, we definitely want to hear from you!

If you are selected as a D&D Showcase presenter, you’ll be expected to:

  • Register for NCDD 2016 and attend the conference.
  • Prepare a quick spiel or “elevator speech” about your Showcase topic that will get people interested in learning more. Practice it until it comes out naturally. We suggest you prepare several introductions of different lengths (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.) so you can adjust quickly to different circumstances during the Showcase.
  • Prepare a simple, visually interesting poster and bring it with you to the conference.
  • Showcase2014-4Bring handouts about your program, method, online tool, publication, etc. that include further details.
  • Have any laptop-dependent pieces of your Showcase presentation finished, functional, and ready to share (you’ll need to bring your own computer).
  • Show up for the Showcase session about 20 minutes early so we have time to make sure everyone is set up and has everything they need.

We are looking forward to having another informative and inspirational D&D Showcase this year, so we hope you’ll consider applying to be a presenter or urging your colleagues who are doing ground-breaking or critical work in the field to do so. We can’t wait to see all of the cutting-edge projects showcased in October!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

When Dialogue Facilitators Can’t Be Neutral

In the wake of the week of high profile violence and killings that took place earlier this July, NCDD member Parisa Parsa of the Public Conversations Project penned a powerful piece on neutrality in situations of injustice that we thought it was important to share. Parisa highlights some pitfalls of being neutral at certain times in our field, and how “multi-partialness” can offer a way forward for dialogue in the face of power imbalances. We encourage you to read her piece below or find the original here.

Turning To Each Other

PCP new logoThe violence, grief and acrimony of the last week has been brutal. In the midst of such public anger and heated rhetoric, I was reminded of another piece of sad news: the death of Holocaust survivor and man of brilliance Elie Wiesel. Of a lifetime of wisdom, no words of his have felt more urgent than these; I have clung to them for both courage and challenge:

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

It seems like a forthright, straightforward – if bracing – statement. We have a duty, moral and relational, to stand with those who are suffering injustice. As an activist, I prided myself on living that commitment: to be on the side of what was right, to speak up for those who were being tormented.

Now I lead an organization that works to bring people with very different perspectives, beliefs, and backgrounds, into relationship. What we see in our work that community is not a given – it does not arise spontaneously due to our proximity in neighborhoods or workplaces. Community is a choice: an act of courage when fear and mistrust threaten to tear us asunder.

Because of our commitment to being present with the many perspectives that reside around any issue that matters, we do not take a side on the issues. Yet we are not neutral. We make an active commitment to listen, to engage, to honor each person and perspective that arrives. Our practitioners call this being multi-partial – not im-partial, or lacking a (more…)


NCDD is the New Steward for Conversation Café! – Now What?

In case you haven’t heard, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation has become the new steward of Conversation Café (CC). Andy has revamped the CC website, which you can check out at www.conversationcafe.org, and we are in the process of reconnecting with the CC network and figuring out how we can best support and grow this important community.

NCDD’s Sandy Heierbacher and Keiva Hummel will be spearheading this effort, so feel free to contact either of us if you have questions or want to help out!

We’ve created a new one-way announcement list to share news about Conversation Café happenings once in a while (no more than monthly). We encourage all of you to subscribe to that list if you have some interest in CC’s by sending a blank email to conversation-cafe-subscribe-request@lists.ncdd.org.

If you’re a Conversation Cafe host or promoter (or want to be) also consider joining the new Cafe-Community listserv – a discussion list we’ve modeled after the NCDD Discussion list to encourage CC leaders to network, share information, and discuss key issues facing the CC community. To join that list, send a blank email to cafe-community-subscribe-request@lists.ncdd.org.

Why does NCDD feels it’s important to support Conversation Café?

Back in March 2014, we had an amazing conversation with the NCDD community on the blog here about whether we should play this role, and though there were many eloquent arguments both for and against NCDD becoming the new stewards for the CC method, we decided in the end that it was important to help this elegantly simple approach survive and thrive – and we hope you can support our decision!

We think Conversation Café is a wonderful model for dialogue that can and should be widely adopted across the U.S. and the globe. Our vision for Conversation Café, in part, is that it be used to help communities address national and local crises that call for immediate dialogue.

We think CCs are nimble, accessible, and elegantly simple enough to be used very quickly by many people, and NCDD is particularly well equipped to help new CC groups use other forms of dialogue and deliberation when the time is right.

We also just want to see more people, in more places, engaging regularly in conversations that matter, and feel that Conversation Café is uniquely suited to helping make this happen.

In addition to subscribing to the announcement list or discussion list mentioned above, we strongly encourage any of you who have hosted CCs to take a minute and complete the quick form at www.conversationcafe.org/main-survey to tell us a little about your work and interests. Our main interest right now is to learn about what is currently (and has been) going on in the Conversation Café community, and this would help us a great deal!

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join NCDD’s “Democracy Machine” Confab Call on Thurs.

We wanted to share a friendly reminder that time is running out to register for our next NCDD Confab Call, which takes place this Thursday, August 25th from 1-2 PM Eastern (10am-11am Pacific)! We are excited to be hosting a call with NCDD members John Gastil and Luke Hohmann about their expansive vision of creating a “Democracy Machine” – an integrated online commons comprised of today’s best civic technology and digital deliberation platforms. Be sure to register today to join the conversation!Confab bubble image

On the call, John and Luke will introduce the NCDD network to their project of making this vision a reality. They are gathering together software designers, civic reformers, academics, and public officials to envision and build the “democracy machine” as a digital public square that would draw new people into the civic sphere, encourage more sustained and deliberative engagement, and send ongoing feedback to both government and citizens to improve how the public interfaces with the public sector. NCDD members will have an important role to play, so make sure to register for the call to find out how you can be involved!

Participants in the call are invited to bring ideas and questions about the design and development of the “democracy machine” to share with John and Luke.  We also encourage participants to read about the basic concept in John’s recent post on the Challenges to Democracy blog or read his full essay, “Building a Democracy Machine: Toward an Integrated and Empowered Form of Democracy,” by clicking here.

Don’t forget! John will also be hosting an interactive session on building the “democracy machine” during the NCDD 2016 conference, so be sure to register for the conference today so that you can continue the conversation in person!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Initiative Experiments with Collective Healing Processes

In the lead up to our NCDD 2016 conference, we continue to lift up stories of people who are Bridging Our Divides. So we wanted to share the piece below written by NCDD member Beth Tener of New Directions Collaborative about a great collective healing initiative she’s involved in that seeks to experiment with processes that will help large groups heal from old wounds that maintain separation. We encourage you to read her piece below or find the original here.

Collective Healing: Shifting Historical Patterns that Divide Us

We live in times of extreme partisanship, increasing divisions between the rich and poor, the working class and upper class, experiences of people of color vs. whites, and disconnects of people from nature. As the US Presidential election and the Brexit vote in the UK illustrate, our current political process tends to amplify divisions and generate more discord rather than greater understanding, stronger connections, and wise solutions balancing multiple needs.

When people are divided and disconnected, it is not surprising that there is a lack of empathy, curiosity, and care for the experiences and well being of people different than us. It can be easy to label people and disdain their views versus seeing them as individuals whose stories and struggles I understand and have talked to them about.

Finding new ways

It is time to find ways we can work together that overcome these patterns of division and separation. This is already happening in many places, perhaps at the edges and not that visible yet, but real nonetheless. Global communities of practice are inventing and evolving these processes (e.g., circle process, participatory processesparticipatory budgeting, networks for system change.) While these experiments may seem at the edges when all the attention is focused on the mainstream political debate, they can hold seeds of a better way.

Over the last two years, I have been part of a rich dialogue with people who are exploring ways to bring people together that can help heal these long-standing harmful patterns. This group includes (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

KF & NIFI Launch Environmental Issues Forums, Host Webinar

The good folks with the Kettering Foundation and National Issues Forums Institute – both NCDD member organizations – recently launched a key partnership with the N. Am. Association for Environmental Education called Environmental Issues Forums, and we want our members to know about it. The program provides trainings, issue guides, online forums, and other resources for educators wanting to host deliberative forums about our changing climate. We encourage our members to learn more about this important effort here.
The team is hosting a webinar on Aug. 24 about how this program can be applied in higher ed, and we encourage you to register. Learn more in the NIFI blog post below or find the original here.

WEBINAR: Environmental Issues Forums & Higher Education

NIF logoJoin the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) for a webinar on Wednesday, August 24th, at 4:00 PM EDT!

Climate change. Drought. Energy. Biodiversity.

How can we facilitate civic deliberation about controversial issues like these on our college campuses?

NAAEE and the Kettering Foundation created the Environmental Issues Forums (EIF) to help. Join this webinar to learn more about EIF, the newly published issue guide Climate Choices: How Do We Meet the Challenge of a Warming Planet?, and how faculty at UW Stevens Point and Eastern Kentucky University are integrating deliberations in their coursework.

Click here to register.

For more information about NAAEE’s Environmental Issues Forums, visit us online.

You can find the original version of this NIFI blog post at www.nifi.org/en/webinar-eif.


Don’t Forget to Contribute to Our Survey of the D&D Field!

Small green NCDD logoAs we recently announced, NCDD is teaming up with the Kettering Foundation to conduct an Inventory Survey of the D&D and public engagement field, and you’re all encouraged to participate! In addition to just getting a better sense of the state of our field, our hope is to use the results to create a map of facilitators and organizations that can be searched by location, the approaches you use, and the issues you specialize in. The map would be designed to help folks outside of the field connect with your consultancy or organization.

But we can’t build this amazing resource for the field without practitioners taking this easy 15-minute survey, so please fill it out today!

Click here to complete the Inventory for Individuals

Click here to complete the Inventory for Organizations

If you or your organization does any kind of dialogue or deliberation work, we ask that you take the time to complete this survey as soon as possible. Remember, you do NOT have to be a member of NCDD to participate – we want perspectives from as many practitioners as possible.

We look forward to hearing all of your insights in the survey!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Featured D&D Story: Facilitating Dialogue Circles at the Mixed Remixed Festival

Today we’re pleased to be featuring another example of dialogue and deliberation in action. This mini case study was submitted by Angelo John Lewis of Dialogue Circles via NCDD’s Dialogue Storytelling Tool. Do you have a dialogue story that our network could learn from? Add your dialogue story today!

ShareYourStory-sidebarimageTitle of Project:

Facilitating Dialogue Circles at the Mixed Remixed Festival


Last June 10 and 11, I and four other facilitators participated in the annual Mixed Remixed Festival at the Japanese National Museum in Los Angeles. The festival bills itself as “the nation’s premiere cultural arts festival celebrating stories of the Mixed experience, multiracial and multicultural families and individuals through films, books, and performance.”

I and my colleagues saw our role as giving the festival participants and opportunity to share their stories in an audience of people whose experience was similar to their own. We did this by facilitating two dialogue circles and an additional workshop which gave participants an opportunity to write about and share their stories.

We were overwhelmed by the response! All told, about 125 people participated in our sessions and many said it was the first time they’d (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Free Online Event with Mark Gerzon on Bridging Partisan Divides

UPDATE: Did you miss the webinar? The Shift Network has posted the recording of the hour-long call, which you can listen to by clicking here.

So many Americans are disheartened by how political polarization seems to be driving a wedge between us. This polarization has become a national crisis with profound repercussions for our personal relationships, collective well-being and the future of our nation.

MarkGerzon-speakingNCDD’s upcoming national conference in October is focusing in on how the amazing people in our field are bridging political, racial, and other divides, and how we can play a major role in healing our nation after the presidential election.

Leading up to the conference, we’re also excited to support an online event that’s taking place on Wednesday, August 17 at 8:30pm Eastern / 5:30pm Pacific that features our good friend, author, and transpartisan political thought leader Mark Gerzon. As you may know, Mark has facilitated retreats for members of Congress and has a long and distinguished history of work on transpartisanship – he’s also a member and supporter of NCDD.

The event, titled “Bridging Partisan Divides: 4 Keys to Reuniting Our Families, Communities & Country,” will highlight practical solutions that have already begun healing divides all across the country, from local communities all the way to Congress. Mark will show participants how to engage in political discourse – even, and especially, potentially “charged” conversations – in a way that creates the opportunity for understanding and bridge-building.

You can register for this FREE virtual event, here: https://shiftnetwork.isrefer.com/go/bpdNCDD/a16042

During this one-hour call event, you will (more…)