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Creating Spaces for Change: Working Toward a “Story of Now” in Civic Engagement

Matt Leighninger, Executive Director of The Deliberative Democracy Consortium (an NCDD organizational member), wrote the report Creating Spaces for Change: Working Toward a “Story of Now” in Civic Engagement. Creating Spaces for Change draws heavily on the views and experiences of the people who participated in the Kellogg Foundation’s Civic Engagement Learning Year and the conference convened by DDC and The Democracy Imperative called “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners.”

Over the last two decades, ordinary people have been playing increasingly prominent roles in politics and public life, thanks in part to the work of an unheralded set of leaders. These practitioners of “active civic engagement” are a diverse lot, and their work is inspired by several different philosophies. They are, however, using similar strategies, and their goals and ideas may in fact be converging. Creating Spaces for Change: Working Toward a “Story of Now” in Civic Engagement, a new report from the DDC and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is an attempt to describe these areas of convergence, and the remaining differences, so that the people who advocate, support, or practice civic engagement might better understand one another and decide how to work together more effectively.

Creating Spaces for Change draws heavily on the views and experiences of the people who participated in the Kellogg Foundation’s Civic Engagement Learning Year and the conference convened by DDC and The Democracy Imperative called “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners.” The report captures the spirit and substance of the discussions that occurred at those meetings, explains some of the tensions and opportunities facing this emerging field, and provides recommendations for funders and other leaders. It raises up the area of shared interest that both community organizers and deliberative democrats want to prioritize: going beyond mobilization techniques to more structural changes in the ways that communities make decisions and solve problems.

The report can be downloaded on the DDC Resources page at http://deliberative-democracy.net/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=93

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