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

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Us at the Elevate Engagement Un-Conference on Journalism & Public Engagement

We are excited to invite the NCDD network to register today to join us at the Elevate Engagement gathering this May 18-21 in Portland – a sequel to the 2015 Experience Engagement un-conference that will continue the exploration of how the journalism world and the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field can amplify and deepen each other’s work. Elevate Engagement is being hosted by the Agora Journalism Center and Journalism That Matters – an NCDD organizational member.
This un-conference will continue the exciting, field-wide conversation that we launched with the journalism-D&D panel during NCDD 2016 and will be continuing with our March 15th Confab Call. We encourage our members to learn more about Elevate Engagement in the announcement below and visit the conference website here to save your spot!


Elevate Engagement Un-Conference 2017

The 2016 election was a wake-up call. Trust in media is at an all-time low. Political polarization has taken a sometimes ugly turn. For some, it may feel as though the health of our democracy is in question. We must embrace this moment as an opportunity to consider how conversation, storytelling, journalism, and the arts, can better engage communities to thrive.

It is time to Elevate Engagement.

On May 18-21, 2017, the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication in Portland will host:

“Elevate Engagement: Listen. Connect. Trust.
How to take your engagement to the next level.”

We are delighted to partner with Journalism That Matters, which brings expertise in designing “un-conference” gatherings that maximize interaction and creative engagement among participants.

Who’s Coming?

This open-space gathering is made possible by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It is designed to welcome a diverse group of people who care about journalism, storytelling, and communication in civic life. Included among them are: journalists, public engagement practitioners, academics and students, funders, public servants, and other engagement pioneers and community members. We also seek to welcome diversity that reaches across race, class, gender, generation, political ideology, and geography.

Our Focus

How can the public engage, not as an audience, consumers or marketplace, but as participants, with journalists, in creating civic structures for engagement and storytelling?

In addition, how must news organizations and journalists evolve so they are seen by diverse communities as trustworthy and culturally competent enough to tell their stories?

To mend and strengthen our civic fabric, we are connecting the diverse people who care about journalism and civic communication to elevate knowledge and practices of engagement that (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Invite Your Local Librarians to Join Our Free Online D&D Trainings!

NCDD is proud to be partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) to help build the capacity of libraries across the country to support their communities using dialogue and deliberation methodologies through a series of online trainings, and we are asking our network to invite your local librarians to join us!

This first series of webinar trainings is designed to support staff members at large and urban public libraries in employing D&D methods, but all libraries are welcome to participate. Subsequent series of trainings will focus on supporting medium, small, and rural libraries as well as academic libraries, respectively.

If you have connections at your local library, we encourage you to share more information about this great opportunity with staff there and invite them to join these free online trainings! They can learn all about the partnership by visiting the ALA website, reading our announcement about the partnership from earlier this year, or they can just go ahead and register for one of the upcoming trainings.

The dates, topics, and registration info for the first series is here:

  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Introduction to Dialogue & Deliberation
    Thursday, March 9, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now
  • Libraries Transforming Communities: World Café
    Thursday, April 6, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now
  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Everyday Democracy’s Dialogue to Change Process
    Monday, May 1, 2017, 1 – 2 pm Central
    Register Now

We also encourage you to invite your local librarians to participate in the training that will be part of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference, which will take place Friday, June 23, 9 am – 4 pm. You can learn more and register by clicking here.

This free webinar series is offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the ALA and NCDD that seeks to strengthen libraries’ roles as core community leaders and agents of change. LTC addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources, and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways. As a result, we believe libraries will become more connected to and capable of supporting healthy, sustainable communities.

This initiative is made possible through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Linking Deliberation & Power for Better Democracy

The gap between the outcomes of D&D processes and real power to implement them is one that our field has struggled with for years. What could be possible if the well-considered recommendations and outcomes of deliberative democracy processes were given the legal power of decisions made through direct democracy? That’s the question that the team at Public Agenda – an NCDD member org – asked recently in on their blog (spoiler alert: they think it would look like PB), and we think their reflections are valuable for us to consider. We encourage you to read their piece below or find the original version here.


Deliberative + Direct = Better Democracy?

Following the Brexit vote in mid-2016, many U.K. voters who elected to exit the European Union expressed remorse at their decision. Immediately following the vote, websites explaining its potential consequences received record traffic. Though the decision has yet to play out, the results of Brexit may have profound and long-lasting ill effects on the U.K. economy.

The Brexit vote was an example of direct democracy. Direct democracy enables the public to decide on policy decisions without a proxy, typically through ballot measures or referenda. California is well-known for its use of direct democracy in its many ballot propositions, a practice that started in 1911.

The counterpart to direct democracy is called deliberative democracy. In deliberative democracy, people discuss issues but usually do not make public decisions directly. In contrast, while people do make decisions in direct democracy, they usually don’t discuss those decisions first.

Each form of public engagement has its pros and cons. As we see in the case of the Brexit vote, direct democracy may not necessarily lead to well-considered decisions that benefit the common good and inspire public confidence. Meanwhile, deliberative democracy can and has led (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD Discount on Dynamic Facilitation Training

We are pleased to share the announcement below from NCDD member Rosa Zubizarreta of DiaPraxis about an opportunity for NCDD members to receive a discount on an upcoming training in dynamic facilitation methods. We encourage you to learn more about the opportunity below!
Rosa shared this piece via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news or thoughts you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!


Advanced 3-day facilitation training & special offer for NCDD folks

Are you interested in effective ways to help people become curious and interested about differences, instead of defensive and threatened?

Last time I was invited to Maine to offer a Dynamic Facilitation workshop, here’s what one participant wrote afterward about the results of this work: “…a dynamic shift in the capacity of the participants and the group as a whole to hold diversity and complexity with their eyes and hearts wide open.”

It seems to me that these kinds of outcomes are needed more than ever. At the same time, to uplevel our game, we may need to learn to do things somewhat differently. In Germany, Dynamic Facilitation is often described as “ein ganz anders moderieren” (“a very different way of facilitating”). How accurate is that? Below is more info about what we do and how we do it, so you can decide for yourself.

But first, a word about the special offer. One is, as an NCDD member, you qualify for the super-low community fee: $425 early-bird rate, $525 regular rate. And in addition, we have arranged for a two-week extra time period where NCDD members can register at the early-bird rate: so instead of March 1st, you have until March 15th.  Of course, if you already know you want to sign up, here is the link.

Ok, back to what makes this work distinctive:

1) Heart-centered listening. What might “active listening” look like if our aim as facilitators or mediators was not to “be impartial”, but instead, to be “multi-partial” and to really support (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New D&D Job Openings

We’ve heard about several job openings this month in the NCDD network, and so we thought we’d share about them here on the blog.  We know that there are many people in our network who would be great fits for these openings, and we strongly encourage you to apply to these positions or share them with your networks!

The list of the openings and links we’ve seen lately is here:

Public Agenda – an NCDD member org – has an opening for a Public Engagement Assistant. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. This would be a great position for younger or newer folks in our field!

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard – another NCDD member org – is in search of a new Associate Director for Democratic Governance. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

The Environmental Dispute Resolution Program at University of Utah – also an NCDD member org – is hiring for an Associate Director / Senior Mediator. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

The City of Laguna Niguel, CA is hiring for a Community Engagement Manager. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. The deadline to apply is March 14th.

The US Department of State is seeking a Regional Public Engagement Specialist. Learn more about the position and how to apply here. The deadline to apply is tomorrow, Feb. 28th, so don’t waste time on this one!

We’d love to see NCDDers fill all of these positions, so we encourage you to apply if one or more of these positions sounds up your alley. Best of luck to all the applicants!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Treating Tension Across Difference as a Positive

As the week closes, we wanted to share an piece from the New Directions Collaborative, one of our NCDD member organizations. In it, NDC shared some useful insights into how they have changed their practices to make differences among participants in their programs and meetings into assets for learning in the face of discomfort. We hope you’ll check out their piece below or find the original blog post here.


Engaging Across Differences

Many of us are working hard to generate solutions to today’s complex and interrelated challenges in ways that are resilient and beneficial for all. This requires new and creative ways to bring people together who have not traditionally worked together.

This is hard work. As a facilitator, I had multiple experiences with groups where not everyone felt heard and the group did not reach its potential. This set me on a journey to understand how we can engage with difference and create spaces where difference can be generative and creative.

Critical to this work is creating environments where different perspectives and experiences within a system can be openly shared and all are equally valid and valued. It requires us to develop our capacity to respond to difference with curiosity, not defensiveness, and to respond to the discomfort that may result with a learning orientation, not withdrawal. When groups come together with this stance, new insight and possibilities almost always emerge.

Building relationships across difference is a necessary foundation. In our work, one way we explore difference is (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Register for the March NCDD Confab Call between Journalists and D&D Practitioners!

We invite our network to register to join us for an especially exciting NCDD Confab Call about strengthening partnerships and collaboration between journalists and dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement practitioners on Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30 pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific! The Confab is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign, and it’s going to be a very special call.

NCDD will be co-hosting this webinar with Journalism That Matters, one of our member organizations, and we are working in collaboration to bring both journalists and public engagement practitioners together on the call to continue the conversation we began at NCDD 2016 on ways that we can work together.

As you may remember, Peggy Holman, Executive Director of Journalism That Matters, moderated a panel of journalists at the NCDD conference this past fall who discussed innovative ways they are engaging communities, as well as their ideas for how journalists and public engagement practitioners can partner more substantively. What we also heard in this conversation was that journalism is more challenged than ever to share stories of people coming together across differences.

Based on our conversations at NCDD 2016, both journalists and public engagement practitioners are needed now more than ever to help us be in conversation on the issues that divide us. How can we bring our skill sets together to do this? How do community engagement practitioners and journalists work together to share stories? We’ll do a deep dive on these questions and more to see what’s possible now with these two worlds coming together to heal communities, and you won’t want to miss it!

(more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

From the Listserv: Is Dialogue Under Attack?

In the past week or two, there has been a lively conversation about the post that former NCDD Board member John Backman shared on the NCDD Discussion Listserv. In the post, John shared an article he wrote asking whether or not dialogue itself has come under attack since the election in November, and since it sparked such a rich discussion, we thought we’d share the post here on the blog as well.
We encourage you to read John’s piece below or find the original here, then tell us, what do you think? Is dialogue under attack? If so, how should our field respond? If not, is there anything you think we in the D&D field should be doing differently in this time of tension?


In Mr. Trump’s Escher World, Is Dialogue Under Assault?

There’s been a lot of talk in the dialogue field since the U.S. presidential election. Practitioners are talking about the meaning of Donald Trump’s victory for dialogue efforts, our collective failure to listen to a wide swath of the American electorate, etc. Many have voiced the belief that we need dialogue more than ever.

And yet, ever since hearing this talk, something has felt off to me. I’m just starting to put my finger on it, and I’m surprised by how dire it feels. In a nutshell, if I’m seeing this right, the very underpinnings of dialogue are under assault.

Consider three of these underpinnings:

Words mean things. To state the obvious: dialogue depends on words. To understand each other, we have to agree on the meanings of those words, or at least understand each other’s meanings. If we don’t, how can I can begin to know what you’re saying?

Yet this very notion is going away. All too often Mr. Trump appears to use the first word that comes into his mind, not caring what it might mean or connote. He makes great use of “throwaway lines,” easy to deny or reinterpret later. Or he dismisses what he’s said as “locker-room talk.” It’s as if, in this new era, words really don’t mean anything, and we should dismiss the value of any given word or phrase. What kind of dialogue could possibly arise from that?

Believe your own eyes. There’s a reason police officers are now being equipped with
body cameras, or private investigators take photos of people in compromising positions. We believe what (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Growing Civic Infrastructure with D&D-Library Collaborations

As we announced early this year, NCDD is partnering over the next two years with the American Library Association on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project, during which we will be helping introduce libraries and their staff to various models of D&D work and training them to use our field’s tools to support the communities they serve. It’s an exciting collaboration that we think will yield potentially transformative results.

To kick-start the project, our Managing Director Courtney Breese and ALA presented a webinar last week introducing NCDD’s work and the LTC collaboration to over 400 librarians and library staff from across the country. We were blown away by the level of participation, and are looking forward to seeing the project grow even further beyond this amazing start!

During the webinar, Courtney shared about our NCDD partner organizations, the models we’ll be training on, the NCDD engagement streams framework, and featured examples of libraries and communities using these models for engagement. Participating librarians expressed excitement for learning techniques that can benefit the libraries and the communities they serve, and they are eager to engage with the NCDD community more broadly as well.

The Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project is a follow-up to the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Turning Outward project which introduced the Harwood Institute – an NCDD member organization – and their Turning Outward approach to libraries. Libraries have been using the Turning Outward approach over the past several years to engage their communities and identify the needs of their community.

NCDD is especially excited about this collaboration with ALA because we believe it will produce possibilities for members of our network to partner in concrete ways with libraries over the long-term. But we know that some of our members already collaborate with libraries, and we’d love to hear about how!

If you collaborate with local libraries in your D&D work or have collaborated with them in the past, tell us about it! Please share a bit in the comments section below about what your partnerships have looked like, what sort of you’ve done, or how you hope to work with libraries in the future. 

We know there are mountains of potential in building library-D&D collaborations as part of our nation’s civic infrastructure, and we can’t wait to see and catalyze more!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Lessons on Turning Deliberation into Action from Alabama

The David Mathews Center – an NCDD member org – recently completed a great deliberative process focused on helping Alabama communities take action together to improve their town, and we think many in our network could learn a thing or two from it, so we’re sharing about it here. The DMC team wrote an insightful piece on their three-stage process of moving the town of Cullman from talk to collaborative action, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original version on their blog here.


What’s Next, Cullman? Pilot Program Wraps Up

The DMC recently wrapped up its pilot forum series for What’s Next, Alabama? in the city of Cullman, with promising results.

What’s Next, Alabama? (WNAL) is shaping up to be the Mathew Center’s largest programmatic undertaking to date. WNAL is a part of the DMC’s flagship program, Alabama Issues Forums (AIF), and will feature three deliberative forums in each community, focused broadly on issues of community, economic, and workforce development.

The first forum will ask, “Where are we now?” How did your community get to where it is today? What has been working well, and what hasn’t? What are the assets already have at your disposal? The second forum will ask, “Where do we want to go?” What would you like to change about your community? What would you live to preserve? What issue(s) would you like to tackle? What are your priorities? The third forum will ask, “How do we get there?” Using the resources you have, what is most doable? What are the next steps? How can you move from talk to action? Partnering with local conveners including the LINK of Cullman County and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, we were able to launch What’s Next, Cullman? as a pilot program and our first WNAL community.

The first forum gave the community an opportunity for deep reflection on the changes Cullman has seen through the years. Attendees crafted an exhaustive list of (more…)

-