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Reflections on a Text, Talk, Act Dialogue on Mental Health

We want to share an update on Text, Talk, Act – the youth mental health conversation initiative launched in 2013 by NCDD-supported Creating Community Solutions – that we saw on NCDD organizational member the Public Conversations Project‘s blog. They featured a piece by Nancy Goodman reflecting on the what was discussed in the TTA conversation she facilitated with high school teens, and it gives a great glimpse into how TTA works and how powerful these dialogues are.

We encourage you to read Nancy’s piece below or find the original PCP post here. Learn more about Text, Talk, Act by clicking here.

Teens Talk Mental Health

I am a transition coordinator at Gloucester High School and a Public Conversations training alumni. In May, I facilitated a group of students coming together to discuss the stigmas around conversations about mental health as part of the nation-wide “Text, Talk, Act” campaign, of which Public Conversations Project was a partner. The conversation was deeply personal, but also indicative of the more broadly felt silence we as a society hold around this topic. Here are some of the questions and ideas we explored together.

Why is mental health a hard topic to talk about?

The students’ answers included, “You can’t see it – compared to physical illness,” “We’re under so much pressure to be perfect, to be acting as if we’re coping well,” and “There’s such a stigma associated with mental stuff.”

How closely has mental illness affected you?

Three of the six students described experiencing some depression or anxiety; one of them had (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

UN Hosts History’s Largest Global Climate Deliberation

Last month, the team with the Jefferson Center, an NCDD member organization, hosted one of 96 day-long deliberations that occurred around the world where average citizens discussed what should be done about climate change. It was the largest ever such consultation, and the results from Minnesota and abroad are fascinating. We encourage you to read the Jefferson Center’s piece about the process and the results below, or find the original here.

JeffersonCenterLogoWorld Wide Views in the Twin Cities

This past Saturday, we hosted 70 Twin Cities metro area residents at the Science Museum in Saint Paul to discuss climate and energy issues as part of a global day of public deliberation. Organized by the World Wide Views Alliance, 75 countries around the world conducted World Wide Views on Climate and Energy forums in the largest ever global citizen consultation on climate change. The goal was to gather quantifiable public opinion to inform decision makers at every level, but particularly negotiators at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21).

Each of the 96 host sites followed the same agenda and addressed the same questions. The resulting data is credible and consistent, making the results an important asset to both researchers and politicians. Every site, including ours in St. Paul, provided participants with the same informational materials on current international climate policy issues. Participants were asked to discuss and vote on a series of questions designed to reflect controversies that might arise at the COP21 talks in Paris this December. Voting results were uploaded in real time.

67% of the Minnesota participants identified as “very concerned” about climate change, and 79% felt that (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Addressing 7 Myths about Audience Polling

We are pleased to share the piece below from NCDD Sustaining Member, David Campt, who recently authored a great new book on deliberative polling technology called Read the Room for Real. David submitted the piece below on common misunderstandings about deliberative polling, and if you like it, consider checking out his book on Amazon by clicking here.

Read the Room for Real on AmazonDavid Campt is the primary author (along with Matthew Freeman) of Read the Room for Real: How a Simple Technology Creates Better Meetings. In the book, audience polling is referred to as Speed Polling to Enhance Input and Knowledge, or SPEIK (pronounced as ‘speak”).

Myth 1: Audience polling is expensive.

With the advent of text-based polling about 8 years ago and the proliferation of polling based on web access or dowloadable apps, the cost of SPEIK systems has plummeted. Some services (such as Poll Everywhere) have monthly subscription services that you can join briefly, then suspend when you don’t need it. Costs per user can be as low as 1$ per user per month. For renting or buying standalone equipment (such as from Turning Technologies, usually called the industry leader), the cost per use is higher for one usage. However, if you buy the equipment and amortize the expense over a few years of usage, those costs start heading toward zero.

If you consider the cost of meetings in terms of people’s time, the marginal cost of SPEIK technology is (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI Demonstrates Potential of Deliberation in the Classroom

We want to encourage our network to check out the fascinating video that the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD organizational member – made recently to showcase how their signature deliberative forums can be amazing NIF logolearning exercises in everyday classrooms.

Here’s what NIF said in their recent blog post about the video:

This 19-minute YouTube video features students in Wisconsin and Alabama as they participate in deliberative forums using materials from the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI). In Birmingham, Alabama, teacher, Zakiya Jenkins, with assistance from Peggy Sparks, of Sparks Consulting, reflects on eighth-grade student deliberations about Youth and Violence. And in Wausau, Wisconsin, teachers Sarah Schneck, Shannon Young, and Kevin Krieg, discuss student deliberations about America’s Role in the World. The student forums in Wausau were hosted by John Greenwood of the Wisconsin Institute for Policy and Service.

The video really shows the potential of applying deliberation as a learning tool. It was quite impressive to see high schools students learning real skills and deep lessons from running their own deliberations – guiding their peers through the framing of a problem, exploring options and their corresponding trade offs, and finding common ground as a group that they can live with.

Just imagine how different our world and our politics might be if every young person had to learn how to deliberate on controversial issues before they graduated high school…

You can watch the inspiring video below:

You can find the original version of this NIFI blog post at www.nifi.org/en/groups/watch-video-deliberation-classroom.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Participate in IAF’s International Facilitation Week, Oct. 19-25

Every year, our good friends at the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) host something called International Facilitation Week – an event aimed at showcasing the power of facilitation to new and existing audiences and at creating a sense of community among facilitators and our groups worldwide – and we strongly encourage NCDD members to consider participating!

This year’s International Facilitation Week (IFW) will be celebrated from October 19th – 25th, 2015. Facilitators from around the world and across the NCDD network can celebrate IFW by organizing trainings or showcases, publishing articles or blog posts, beginning collaborations or projects – the list goes on. Basically, participate however you’d like to, and gain exposure for your work by the affiliation to IFW.

Here’s a bit of what IAF says about the Week and some of their suggestions for how you can participate:

The IAF is simply the catalyst for International Facilitation Week. The invitation to celebrate the week is open to everyone.

Generally, the Association holds its virtual Annual General Meeting during IFW, as well as a number of international live Twitter chats. We also announce our new inductees to the IAF Hall of Fame.  IAF regions and chapters hold numerous activities too, both virtual and face-to-face.

Here are some ideas to inspire your activities: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Agenda Launches Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment

We were excited to hear a recent announcement from the team at Public Agenda – one of our great NCDD organizational members – about the creation of the new Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment, and we encourage you to join us in congratulating PA and its co-founder, Dr. Daniel Yankelovich, on the accomplishment!

PublicAgenda-logoThe Center’s official inauguration took place at PA’s celebration of both its 40th anniversary and Dan’s 90th birthday, which you can read more about here. The Yankelovich Center was made possible with the generous support of another wonderful NCDD member organization, the Kettering Foundation, and Kettering has committed to a robust program of joint research through the Center. Kettering’s president David Mathews created a video to commemorate the occasion, which you can see here.

Here’s some of what PA said about the new Center:

…Public Agenda is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment. The Center will develop, disseminate and apply Dan Yankelovich’s seminal ideas about democracy, including how the public comes to judgment, the public’s critical role in the functioning of a just and effective democracy and the conditions that help the public to play that role. We surprised Dan with an announcement of the Center during Public Agenda’s 40th anniversary celebration, which coincided with Dan’s 90th birthday.

The Yankelovich Center will (more…)


An Update on the NCDD-CRS Meetings

As many of you know, NCDD has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service since last October’s NCDD national conference, to organize meetings between NCDD members and CRS staff at their fourteen regional field offices. This was inspired, in part, by CRS director Grande Lum’s speech at the conference.

We wanted to let the network know that meetings have begun taking place in several cities over the past few months, and more are in the works!

GrandeLum-NextStepBubble-borderThese meetings are an exciting opportunity to start a productive relationship with staff of an important government agency based in your area. They are also providing the supporting NCDD members who attend with an opportunity to talk about how we can be more responsive during times of crisis that call for dialogue, and to build relationships that strengthen our ability to respond. See our November 6th blog post at www.ncdd.org/16724 for more information on CRS and our initial plans for these meetings.

Meetings took place this past winter and spring in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Seattle, where our members came together with CRS staff to learn more about one another’s work and discuss opportunities to collaborate and support each other. Some exciting ideas have emerged from these initial discussions, including:

  • Supporting CRS and NCDD members alike by inviting one another to trainings
  • Sharing resources, including facilitators and mediators, and making referrals from CRS to NCDD members, and vice versa
  • Involving one another in regional networking
  • Working together on initiatives, such as CRS’ Student Problem Identification & Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT), or building a community responders network in members’ communities


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Davenport Offers CA Cities $50,000 for Public Engagement

We encourage our NCDD members in California to check out an exciting grant opportunity being offered by NCDD organizational member the Davenport Institute. Davenport is offering $50,000 worth of training and support for public engagement work, and the deadline to apply is Sept. 14th, but don’t wait to apply. You can learn more in the announcement they recently made below or by clicking here.

2015 Davenport Institute Public Engagement Grant Program Application Period Now Open!

DavenportInst-logoIf you have a public engagement project that could use some financial support, now is the time to apply for the eighth annual Davenport Institute Public Engagement Grant Program! This year we will be awarding up to $50,000 in funded consulting services to California cities, counties, special districts, and civic organizations looking to conduct legitimate public processes on issues ranging from budgets to land use to public safety to water policy.

The Grants are made possible through funding from the James Irvine Foundation’s California Democracy Program. We anticipate awarding 2 – 4 grants with a minimum individual grant amount of $5,000 and a maximum individual grant amount of $20,000. Prior to beginning their public engagement campaign, grantees will receive training and consultation from the Davenport Institute to build understanding and support for the civic engagement effort amongst administrative and elected officials.

The deadline for the 2015 Public Engagement Grant is Monday, September 14.

Here are some FAQs: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Call for Papers for New Journal of Dialogue Studies

We are happy to share the announcement below from Elena Liedig of the Dialogue Society. Elena’s announcement came via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

Call for Papers for Journal of Dialogue Studies
Autumn 2015, Volume 3, Number 2
Dialogue and Democracy

Paper submission deadline: 07/11/2015

This is a call for papers for the Journal of Dialogue Studies, a multidisciplinary, blind-peer-reviewed academic journal published twice a year. The Journal seeks to bring together a body of original scholarship on the theory and practice of dialogue that can be critically appraised and discussed. It aims to contribute towards establishing ‘dialogue studies’ as a distinct academic field (or perhaps even emerging discipline). It is hoped that this will be directly useful not only to scholars and students but also to professionals and practitioners working in different contexts at various cultural interfaces.

The Editors would like to call for papers providing ‘dialogue and democracy’ for the forthcoming issue. However, authors are also welcome to submit papers that address the topic of the previous issues, namely (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Tips on How to Stop Talking and Start Acting from EvDem

Making the transition from doing dialogue to taking action is often difficult, but helping groups make that shift is the specialty of the folks at Everyday Democracy – an NCDD member organization. We encourage you to read their six tips on the move below or to find the original post by clicking here.

6 Steps for Moving from Dialouge to Action

EvDem LogoTypically, the action coming from dialogues falls into various categories. Large, diverse programs will result in many different kinds of change, happening at all levels in the community. for individuals, ideas for change start through the dialogue process. Collective action and change often begin after the round of dialogues, when participants pool their action ideas. It is these ideas for collective change that can require additional oversight and resources.

1. Refer back to your program goals

Review the decisions the coalition made about program goals and supporting action during its planning conversations. Establishing an action committee will help you organize this phase of the process. Make sure the action committee has the right diversity of people and skills to help move from dialogue to action. Pay particular attention to whether the people on the action committee reflect the demographics of your community. Make sure that people from group which have been excluded in the past from decision-making have a meaningful role on the committee.

2. Decide how much support you can provide for action initiatives

With members of the coalition, action committee, and coordinator, talk about what will happen when the dialogues conclude. Consider these questions: (more…)