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From the CommunityFrom the Community

AmericaSpeaks Seeks Communications Coordinator

AmericaSpeaks (www.americaspeaks.org), an organization that specializes in large scale citizen engagement and public deliberation, is looking for a Communications Coordinator to support their communications and marketing activities and take a role in their mission of reinvigorating American democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives. The coordinator’s roles will include researching, writing and disseminating key communications documents and supporting the development and implementation of media strategies for AmericaSpeaks’ projects. You can learn more about this position on the AmericaSpeaks website.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Email Templates for Publicizing the 2008 Conference

Please Note:  The following information dates back to the planning stage of our wonderful 2008 event in Austin, TX.  We’ve kept it on our website for reference.  Most links, specifically those with the domain “thataway.org” will no longer work. You can learn more about our Austin events at www.ncdd.org/events/ncdd2008 or www.ncdd.org/events/ncdd2010/austin.


Below are a bunch of different email “templates” you can use to help get the word out about the conference. Just pick the one that works best for the person, group, listserv, etc. you’re reaching out to, copy it (control-C or apple-C) and paste it into your email program (control-V or apple-V).

If your email program allows it, feel free to also paste the pictures at the bottom of the page into your message. And certainly use one of these pictures and/or the NCDD logo in blog posts, e-newsletters, print newsletters, etc.

Also – a bunch of other ideas for getting the word out about the conference, like distributing postcards and Moo cards, are posted at www.thataway.org/events/?p=67. And a banner and two smaller images for the conference are posted at www.thataway.org/events/?p=143.
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From the CommunityFrom the Community

On the Media, Dialogue & Deliberation

Recently a couple of news items have caught my attention as exemplary of what NCDD’s Dialogue Bureau concept aspired to achieve. Readers might recall that during 2004 and 2005, NCDD sponsored research into the feasibility of a service that would: 1) assist news outlets make better use of dialogue and deliberation techniques to augment reporting; 2) help dialogue and deliberation practitioners make better use of partnerships with news outlets; and 3) help track and promote dialogue and deliberation in the news.

This week, two news items caught my attention for their salience to how dialogue and deliberation can enrich the coverage of local and national issues. The first is the City of Portland’s Restorative Listening Project sponsored by the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement headed by NCDDer Judith Mowry. The second is the recent establishment of a National Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Model Dialogue Coverage on the Oregon Website

Restorative Listening Project Online CoverageNCDD member Judith Mowry runs a Restorative Listening Project in Portland, Oregon that uses dialogue, storytelling and restorative justice to engage the city in race dialogue. Some amazing press coverage went up today on the Oregonian website which highlights the project using articles, a multimedia website and beginning a year long community wide dialogue. Check it out at www.oregonlive.com/special/.

Mowry, now with the city Office of Neighborhood Involvement, designed the project from her background in restorative justice, which aims to mend harm by inviting the sufferer to describe the harm, revealing, for both sides, their shared humanity. “The one who strikes the blow doesn’t know the force of the blow,” Mowry says. “Only the one who has received the blow knows its force.”

I love one page of this web coverage in particular, and the image on the right shows you what the page looks like. The page allows you to click on the faces of dialogue participants and then listen to audio of them talking about what race and gentrification means to them (I clicked on Judith’s name so her image and audio is the one highlighted). It’s an amazing example of how to cover dialogue in the local press using new media.

Be sure to also read the accompanying article by Erin Hoover Barnett, called “Speak. Listen. Heal.” and the column by S. Renee Mitchell titled “A successful crossing of the racial divide.”

You can also read a nice write-up of the Restorative Listening Project in NCDD’s Learning Exchange.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Community Arts Fellowship Program

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (www.jmkac.org) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin announces its Community Arts Fellowship program. In its inaugural year, the Community Arts Fellowship is designed to experiment with and define new ways of hands-on collaboration within an arts organization between artists and a broad community. Working in The ARTery space—a hands-on, drop-in, collaborative art-making gallery—the Fellow will have the opportunity to develop interactive projects specific to his/her area of interest that reach out to new communities, provide more in-depth engagement into the exhibitions in the galleries, and provide an accessible entry point to the Arts Center for active participation by people of all skill levels and ages. The fellowship is intended to offer an artist, teaching artist, or artist-administrator (graduate-level candidate or an exceptional undergraduate candidate) professional experience in a nationally acclaimed arts environment. The fellowship start date is August 1, 2008, and the deadline for applications is May 15, 2008. Please see their website for more information.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a nationally acclaimed visual and performing arts complex in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Arts Center is devoted to innovative explorations in contemporary art, new models for community arts, unique educational partnering with an emphasis on early childhood education, presenting internationally acclaimed performing artists, as well as supporting practicing artists through a variety of residencies. The 100,000-square-foot complex includes ten galleries, a theatre, an interdisciplinary performance space, studio-classrooms, meeting spaces, gift shop, and café. The Community Arts Department is one of the programming departments at the Arts Center—the others being Curatorial, Performing Arts, Education, and Arts/Industry—and is comprised of five programs: Connecting Communities, The ARTery, the Community Gallery, the Partnership Program, and Community Events.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Central Texas D&D Summit Set for Saturday

State of Texas shapeThe Central Texas Team for the 2008 NCDD Conference is co-hosting an innovative gathering at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin this Saturday (April 19th) called the “Central Texas Dialogue & Deliberation Summit: Learning from Practice.” The half-day, highly interactive event will bring together people from Central Texas who use dialogic and deliberative group processes to solve tough problems and build relationships in the region.

The University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development’s Civic Engagement Initiative, The UT Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, Texas Forums and the NCDD 2008 Central Texas Planning Team are hosting the summit. Their aim is to bring together the talented and diverse array of individuals throughout the community who focus on the “process” side of the equation when working with groups on difficult issues so that they can reflect together on our various experiences with this work, examine key learning, insights and challenges, and strengthen their connections and relationships with each other. The Summit will also provide an opportunity for local D&D leaders explore some of the issues and challenges we will focus on at NCDD Austin this October.

A small group of practitioners has been invited to attend from a range of sectors – civic, government, business, non-profit/NGO, education – with a myriad of expertise and knowledge both on issues and approaches, from smaller-scale group dialogues to large, multi-stakeholder initiatives.

The convening committee consists of the following people:

  • Patricia Wilson, Director of the Civic Engagement Initiative of the UT Center for Sustainable Development
  • Taylor Willingham, Coordinator, Texas Forums, an initiative of the LBJ Presidential Library
  • Jen Meigs, M.P.Aff Candidate 2008, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Diane Miller, Chair, Central Texas 2008 NCDD Conference Planning Team
  • Steven Fearing, Erin Kreeger, Charles Knickerbocker, and Landon Shultz: members of the Central Texas 2008 NCDD Conference Planning Team
  • Susan Schultz, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Central Texas D&D Summit on Saturday

State of Texas shapeThe Central Texas Team for the 2008 NCDD Conference is co-hosting an innovative gathering at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin this Saturday (April 19th) called the “Central Texas Dialogue & Deliberation Summit: Learning from Practice.” The half-day, highly interactive event will bring together people from Central Texas who use dialogic and deliberative group processes to solve tough problems and build relationships in the region.

The University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development’s Civic Engagement Initiative, The UT Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, Texas Forums and the NCDD 2008 Central Texas Planning Team are hosting the summit. Their aim is to bring together the talented and diverse array of individuals throughout the community who focus on the “process” side of the equation when working with groups on difficult issues so that they can reflect together on our various experiences with this work, examine key learning, insights and challenges, and strengthen their connections and relationships with each other. The Summit will also provide an opportunity for local D&D leaders explore some of the issues and challenges we will focus on at NCDD Austin this October.

A small group of practitioners has been invited to attend from a range of sectors – civic, government, business, non-profit/NGO, education – with a myriad of expertise and knowledge both on issues and approaches, from smaller-scale group dialogues to large, multi-stakeholder initiatives.

The convening committee consists of the following people:

  • Patricia Wilson, Director of the Civic Engagement Initiative of the UT Center for Sustainable Development
  • Taylor Willingham, Coordinator, Texas Forums, an initiative of the LBJ Presidential Library
  • Jen Meigs, M.P.Aff Candidate 2008, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Diane Miller, Chair, Central Texas 2008 NCDD Conference Planning Team
  • Steven Fearing, Erin Kreeger, Charles Knickerbocker, and Landon Shultz: members of the Central Texas 2008 NCDD Conference Planning Team
  • Susan Schultz, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Can A Mural Change A School?

Twinfield School MuralDuring the weekend of April 11-13, more than a dozen Twinfield staff, parents and students helped to sort, record, and mount the more than 450 “Peace Tiles” that would compose a new mural in the school’s cafeteria. The Peace Tiles – individual collages on 8-inch square wood panel – each responded to the question, “What is my place?” This question, asked in a series of discussion forums, was intended to deepen thinking about three aspects of place: the people, institutions, and geographies that shape our experience of place.

Students then used the mental imagery, words, and ideas that they developed in response to the question and their discussions to create their tile. When combined with others into a mural, they produced a single image representing the Central Vermont landscape where they live – a theme selected by the 2008 graduating class.

While the mural represents one of a few large works in the school, there is some concern that students will find the mural a ready target for vandalism. I am not so certain, for two reasons. First is that each student has a piece in the mural: everyone contributed to it, and as a result I would expect that it feels more “owned” by the entire student body. The second reason is that the mural should have some longevity: every student, from pre-K up to the graduating class, contributed to the mural – which means it could be up to 12 years before that bit of school history graduates. In my mind, that’s a pretty lengthy bit of time for a story to circulate. Both aspects of the mural I hope will garner students’ delight and respect for many years to come. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Study on Community Information Needs and Access

(from a Aspen Institute press release)

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute today announced the launch of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The high-level Knight Commission will look into whether the information needs of 21st century American citizens and communities are being met and make recommendations for public policy and private initiatives that will help better meet community information needs. “The Commission will look at the issues of information, news and society from the perspective of communities across the nation,” said Alberto Ibargaen, Knight Foundation president and CEO. “We want to assess their information needs, then take a snapshot to see how they are being met. The Commission will offer creative recommendations to improve democratic problem-solving at the local level through more and better engagement with relevant news and information.”

More after the break… (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

More About the "Call for Innovations"

Have you found an innovative way to address one of our field’s major challenges, like moving from D&D to action or policy change, or embedding D&D in organizations, schools, or government?  Have you addressed a specific issue area, like climate change, racism, political polarization, or gentrification in an innovative way?

If so, we invite you to submit a description of your innovative project, program or strategy. We’ll select the most compelling “innovations” and match them up according to the challenge area or issue they address – then we’ll help you work with two or three others to collaboratively plan a dynamic workshop (concurrent session) on that challenge area. This is our way of encouraging innovators in D&D to share “lessons learned” around specific areas of interest to conference participants – rather than walking them through every step of a project or methodology.

If your innovation is selected, we will put you in touch with two or three others who have been selected, and whose innovative projects, programs or strategies fall under the same challenge area or issue as yours. We’ll then ask your new group to collaboratively plan an interactive 2-hour concurrent session, or workshop, aimed at helping conference participants learn new ways to address challenges they commonly face.

Members of the conference planning team will help you with this process as needed, but we don’t want to hinder your creativity with too many guidelines. Your session could be highly experiential, it could focus on presenting “success stories,” or utilize any format that you think would be most valuable in engaging people around these issues.

This is an opportunity to (1) present a session at NCDD Austin even if you don’t have a full workshop’s worth of material and activities, (2) participate in a collaborative exploration of successful approaches to addressing challenging issues, and (3) meet and work with other pioneers in this work who share your interests.

Here are some of the issues and challenge areas we are seeking “Innovations” for…

  • Embedding D&D in systems like schools, organizations, and government
  • Framing this work in a way that is accessible and compelling to those beyond our immediate community
  • Demonstrating to power-holders (public officials, funders, CEOs) that D&D works
  • Creating/disseminating quality evaluation tools, the results of which can feed into research
  • Demonstrating how D&D contributes to the bottom line in the private sector
  • Strengthening the link between D&D and community action and/or policy change
  • Addressing issues of oppression and bias within the D&D community
  • Fostering the development of regional D&D networks and gatherings
  • Learning from what D&D innovators outside of the U.S. are doing
  • Using D&D to tackle timely issues like climate change, health care and the energy crisis
  • Using D&D to tackle group and identity-related issues like racism, heterosexism, interfaith conflict, and class-related issues like gentrification
  • Helping practitioners identify how, when and why to integrate multiple D&D processes and practices

Although the deadline for submitting Innovations is May 17th, the Innovation groups that are formed after the deadline will have two months to plan their collaborative workshop.

Have additional questions? Email them to Sandy Heierbacher at sandy@thataway.org.

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