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Scenarios from 8-4 Interfaith Sub-Plenary Call

Below is a summary of a brainstorming call about a sub-plenary session scheduled to be held at NCDD Austin on Saturday, October 4th from 2:15 to 4:00 pm. Those of you who were on the call are strongly encouraged to use the comment box at the bottom of this page to share your reactions to the three scenarios outlined. Which scenario do you prefer? Are there elements of one scenario you would like to see incorporated into a different scenario? Is there something missing? Anyone else viewing this post is welcome to add their thoughts and ideas as well!

Present on the 8/4/08 call:

  • Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard
  • Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD Director
  • Maggie Herzig, Public Conversations Project- Co-Founder
  • Dave Joseph, Public Conversations Project – Programs
  • Diane Miller, Leads Central Texas Team
  • Tom Spencer, CEO of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries
  • Stephanie Ruloph, Conference Manager and Coordinator of Interfaith Sub-plenary

Some things we agreed on…

  • we don’t want yet another Hummus Dialogue (“gee – we all like hummus!”)
  • we don’t want a safe, contrived, self-congratulatory conversation that doesn’t get into any depth about the issues
  • we do want to encourage our speakers to tell stories, and to be honest about the challenges they have faced and where they need help
  • we want to develop some finely-tuned questions in order to focus the conversation
  • we may not be able to pull off a real dialogue on stage during the time allotted, and given the public setting
  • a moderator will be on stage with the panelists, helping the conversation along (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Notes from 8/10 Call About Conservatives Panel

We are putting together a panel of conservative leaders who support public engagement for a sub-plenary session at NCDD Austin on Saturday afternoon. The dialogue and deliberation community and related communities of practice like the deliberative democracy community and the conflict resolution community struggle with the fact that this kind of work attracts many more progressives than conservatives. The vast majority of D&D practitioners are politically progressive, and it’s often more challenging to recruit people with more traditional or conservative views as D&D participants. This is a major problem for a field that embraces inclusion as a core principle, and we want to address this challenge head-on at NCDD Austin.

The session, which is still being designed, will begin with a panel of conservatives who have been involved in dialogue and deliberation efforts to various degrees. The panelists will share why they support public engagement, and will touch upon all of the things that make conservatives wary of this field and what can be done about that. Following the panel, we will most likely engage all conference participants who are in the room in small-group dialogue about what they just heard and how we, as a community of practice, should respond.

The session will take place from 2:15 to 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 4th, and there will be two other sub-plenaries held at the same time as this session.

The panelists we have lined up so far for the session are:

  1. Joseph McCormick, Co-Founder of Reuniting America (www.reunitingamerica.org)
  2. Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (www.atr.org)
  3. Michael Ostrolenk, President of the American Conservative Defense Alliance (acdalliance.org) and Co-Founder and National Director of the Liberty Coalition (www.libertycoalition.net)
  4. Pete Peterson, E.D. of Common Sense California (www.commonsenseca.org) and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy (publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu)

We had our first conference call on August 12th, and Sandy’s notes from the call follow. Carrie Hale was on the call in lieu of Grover Norquist, and four other conference planning team members were on the call: Susan Clark, Sandy Heierbacher, Jacob Hess, and Dave Joseph. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Engagement Advisors to the Next POTUS

The November 5th Coalition is asking the D&D community…

“Who should be invited to serve as advisors to the next President on issues of public engagement and democratic governance? What specific issues and challenges should these advisors focus on?”

Please follow this link – www.surveyconsole.com/console/TakeSurvey?id=489582 – to a brief survey that will allow you to tell them what you think.

The November 5th Coalition is an all-partisan alliance (including NCDD!) committed to civic partnerships that address our biggest challenges. The Coalition is named for the day after the 2008 election, when a new chapter of America’s civic history will begin.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

You're Invited!: Democratic Governance at the Neighborhood Level

NCDD member Matt Leighninger, director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, sent me an announcement about this Florida event, and I confirmed with him that this event is open to everyone…

Democratic Governance at the Neighborhood Level: What Have We Learned?

An event organized by Grassroots Grantmakers and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, with assistance from
the National League of Cities and NeighborWorks America

– November 11th, 2008, 9am-5pm – Orlando, FL –

Thirty years ago, a new democratic experiment began in a handful of American cities. In Portland, Oregon, and a number of other places, local governments created neighborhood council systems as a way of engaging citizens in public decision-making and problem-solving.

What have we learned from these civic experiments? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What lessons do they offer about how to initiate, recruit for, staff, support, and fund neighborhood-level democracy?

Please join us for a stimulating, interactive day-long session in Orlando! The meeting will feature representatives from Portland and other “first wave” cities in the morning, then turn to a broader discussion of lessons and potential innovations in the afternoon.

The cost of the event will be $50 (to cover breakfast, lunch, and coffee). To RSVP, please contact Matt Leighninger at mattleighninger@earthlink.net by October 21st.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Editor(s) Needed for Int'l Journal of Public Participatino (IJP2)

NCDD member Nancy Glock-Grueneich just emailed me about this opportunity…

We are seeking an editor to lead, manage and further develop a three-year old online, peer-reviewed journal, with an international audience, the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2). The mission of the IJP2 is to foster integration and dialogue within the professional field of public participation across its different traditions and related disciplines and to bridge theory and practice.

The Editor of IJP2 provides overall leadership and vision for the Journal as well as content planning and development, consistent with its mission and that of its parent organization, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). The Editor works with the IJP2 Editorial Board and its Executive Committee, as an ex-officio member, and with current and prospective authors, reviewers and audiences. (This position may also be shared between co-editors, applying together, with complementary qualifications that together cover the requirements of the position.) (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Creative Conversations on the Arts

Every October, in honor of National Arts & Humanities Month, Americans for the Arts partners with emerging leaders from across the country to host Creative Conversations. Last year, more than 1,000 emerging arts leaders participated in 41 locally hosted Creative Conversations throughout the country, and those leaders continue to be engaged at the national level.

Want to host a Creative Conversation? Learn more.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Suggest a Topic for Friday’s Networking Session

You’re coming to the conference, in large part, to meet people who share your interests. At NCDD conferences, people tend to leave knowing that they’ve built a slew of new supportive, collaborative relationships.

To help this along at NCDD Austin, we’re holding a structured networking session during the very first plenary session of the conference. This networking session will allow participants, right off the bat, to meet people with similar interests as them. Maybe you’re passionate about a particular issue, like climate change, racism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps you focus on a specific area of D&D work like restorative justice or deliberative democracy. Maybe you’d like to meet other researchers who are at the conference, other college students, or others from outside the U.S.? This networking session will give you the chance to meet others like you.

But like everything we do at NCDD, this will work best if you’re involved. If you are passionate about a topic, process, etc. and you’d like to meet others who feel the same, or you’d like to meet others in the same circumstance as you, please submit that topic for consideration.

All conference participants are invited to suggest topics for this networking session – whether or not you are willing to serve as the “table host” for that topic and move the conversation forward with some light facilitation. The point of this session is networking – meeting and starting to get to know others who share your interests, so hosts will ensure people have the chance to introduce themselves and share how their work relates to the topic.

One suggestion:  focus broadly, like the topics suggested above (“using D&D to address climate change” rather than “using D&D to encourage high school students to recycle”).

Complete this form to suggest topics and/or offer to serve as a table host. And visit this page to see the topics people have submitted so far. (Links no longer active.)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Eric Haltmeier to Create Original Musical Composition at NCDD Austin

We’re very excited to announce the special role that musician and educator Eric Haltmeier will be playing at the 2008 NCDD conference. Using a variety of acoustic and digital instruments, and collecting sound samples throughout the 3-day conference, Eric will create and perform music that will serve to reflectively represent conference themes in sound.  Eric will work with our graphic recording team, and conference attendees will have the opportunity to become a part of the musical creation.

Update: Listen to Eric’s NCDD 2008 composition at http://www.erichaltmeier.com/dialoguesongs.htm.

Eric has worked with D&D practitioner Don Proffit in the past. In fact, we learned about Eric because in his workshop titled “Cafe U,” Don plans to have Eric create 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.” Needless to say, we were intrigued and wanted to learn more.

You can see an incredible example of Eric’s improvised musical composing at http://emhmusic.blogspot.com/2008/05/cafe-concerto.html, where the process for creating Cafe Concerto is outlined. You can listen to a number of MP3’s to see how the piece evolved. The piece begins with ambient sounds of street noises, leading to the sounds typically found in a cafe (clinking glasses, cash registers, conversations). The ambient sounds lead into a layer of music inspired by a Peruvian percussion rhythm. “Vision Statements” were collected from participants and recorded as sound clips which, when heard in the musical composition, represent the array of ideas heard and overheard in conversation.

As the cafe process evolved at this event, participants wrote important individual “notes” (or thoughts) on circular pieces of paper which a graphic recorder then placed on a wall mural that looked like a musical staff. These ‘notes’ ended up forming three different ‘melodies’ that were to become the integral musical material of the Cafe Concerto. Each cafe participant held onto one of their written ‘notes’ and was then asked to read the note into a microphone. Every person attending the cafe recorded their own ‘sound note’. These ‘human notes’ were incorporated in the Cafe Concerto in between each of the melodic phrases.

The Cafe Concerto was performed in real-time at the end of the cafe, as we plan to do on the last day of the 2008 NCDD conference, using a combination of keyboard controllers, laptop software, and saxophone. The performance acted as a reflective summary of the entire cafe. The final composition, bringing together all of the above elements, can be heard at www.box.net/shared/9ec612l0c0.

Eric Haltmeier is an active performing musician and educator.  For twelve years he taught and developed the Instrumental Music Program at Lawrence High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  Eric has also been on the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University since 2000, teaching courses in music education and technology.  He performs regularly with his experimental-jazz trio and with Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter (and former student) Matt Cranstoun.  Eric’s current research interest focuses on the development of critical media literacy through the arts, education, and technology.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

European eDemocracy Award 2008

The annual European eDemocracy Award honors the most valuable European eDemocracy initiative amongst 50 selected websites in EU, 27 featuring a wide range of eDemocracy tools and content strengthening eParticipation, transparency, representative participatory democracy and citizen participation in the democratic decision-making processes at the European, national or local levels of governance. The “call for candidatures” is open until August 8th.

Sounds like something we should be doing in the U.S. too, no?

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Looking for Democracy Short Film Contest

Show what democracy means to you in the Looking for Democracy Short Film Contest. Any genre is fair game: documentary, narrative, experimental, music video. Filmmakers are encouraged to unleash their radical imaginations and look for democracy in creative and unusual places. Can you find democracy where you might least expect it?

As the 2008 presidential election heads into its final months, democracy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But democracy is defined by more than just electoral politics. Where do you find democracy in your life? Can you find it in your school, church, union, community, or a professional or sports association? How do you see democracy functioning locally, nationally, and globally?

Videos cannot be more than five minutes and must be submitted by Tuesday, September 2, 2008.  For more information, please contact Maggie Berndt at The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council at 312.422.5585 x239 or mkb@prairie.org or visit www.prairie.org/DemocracyFilmContest.