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Call for Proposals for NCDD 2014!

NCDD’s 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is coming up this October 17-19 in the DC metro area.

Table-group-600px-outlinedNCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada. 400 people attended our last national conference (Seattle in 2012), and we hope to beat that number this year!

If your work involves dialogue and deliberation, you’ll love the conference. Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing people in our field, constantly forming new relationships and reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, hearing about innovative new approaches to the challenges you’re facing, and exploring together how we can shape the future of this important movement, all while using innovative group techniques… there’s really nothing like it. (See quotes from past attendees.)

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions for NCDD 2014. We’re interested in finding many creative ways to highlight the best of what’s happening in public engagement, group process, community problem-solving, and arts-based dialogue — and we know you have lots of ideas!

Check out the Application for Session Leaders now to see what we ask for, and start cooking up those great proposals we’ve come to expect from you! For ideas, look over the results of our March Codigital experiment, where we asked the NCDD community to share what they’d like to see happen at NCDD 2014, and peruse the fabulous sessions offered at the 2012 and 2008 NCDD conferences.

We look forward to seeing what you’d like to offer! Please note that the deadline for proposals is Monday, June 16th. (We’re extending the deadline by one week due to the number of requests we’ve received for more time! Please do get your proposals in by the end of the day on Monday, June 23rd.)

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD 2014…

Our theme for the 2014 conference, Democracy for the Next Generation, invites us to build on all the innovative practices and tools that have been invigorating the dialogue and deliberation community in recent years. Now more than ever, we have both opportunity—and the increasing imperative—to bring this work to a much larger stage in order to build a stronger democracy that is able to address society’s most pressing challenges.

YoungLadiesWithMug-NCDDSeattleWhat do we want the next generation of our work to look like, and how can we work together to get there? We’ll address these questions through the 2014 NCDD conference goals:

  • Create new pathways, new partnerships, and new ways of thinking about how we can expand the scope of our work and find new ways to embed our practices in governance.
  • Provide attendees with insights and know-how for harnessing the emerging technologies that support dialogue and deliberation.
  • Connect seasoned practitioners to newcomers, for the benefit of all generations.
  • Inspire and invigorate attendees’ current work through exposure to new ideas and innovations in the field, and by boldly addressing how to break down persistent barriers to participation.
  • Map out the future tools of democracy that enable a thriving culture of engaged citizens and communities everywhere.

This “next generation” of democracy is the future that embodies the best of what we have to offer the world. Session presenters are strongly encouraged to help us explore these critical elements in moving the work of our community forward. Your proposal will be evaluated, in part, by its relevance to our theme and goals.

Some advice from the NCDD 2014 planning team for potential session leaders:

  1. Identify great co-presenters.  Most workshops at NCDD conferences are collaborative efforts involving multiple presenters from different organizations and universities. Have you thought about who you can co-present with? Now’s the time to contact them to see if they’d like to offer a session with you! (Use the NCDD Discussion list and the comments below to put out feelers for potential co-presenters if you’d like.)
  2. Look over past workshop descriptions. Peruse the list of workshops from NCDD Seattle to get a sense of the kinds of sessions the planning team selects. Sessions focused on innovative solutions to common challenges, ways to take this work to scale or to new audiences, and deep dives into great projects (and thoughtful explorations of failed projects!) are especially welcome. You can also scan the fabulous sessions offered at NCDD Austin.
  3. Be innovative with your session.  NCDD attendees are usually not too impressed with traditional panels or long speeches. Get them engaging with you and each other! Think about how you can get them out of their seats and moving around the room. And think about what you’d like to learn from them (not just what they can learn from you). Challenge yourself to run a session without relying on PowerPoint.
  4. Share your stories.  NCDDers prefer hearing your stories to getting a run-down of your organization or methodology.  People are interested in learning about what you did, what you learned, and how they may be able to learn from your experience.
  5. Share the latest.  What’s the latest research? What are the latest innovations in the field? What new challenges are you facing? What are your latest accomplishments?

Portland2010-cafetableNot quite ready to draw up a proposal yet?
Use the comment field (and/or the NCDD listserv) to float your ideas by NCDDers and members of the planning team. We may be able to match you up with potential co-presenters who can address the same challenge or issue you’re interested in focusing on.

Look over the results of our March engagement project, where we used Codigital to get 122 members of the NCDD community contributing 95 ideas for the NCDD conference, editing the ideas 174 times, and ranking the ideas through 5290 votes. There is a wealth of ideas and insight in those results!

Deadline for submissions

Complete the session application at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2014/session-app by the end of the day on Monday, June 23rd.

Members of the conference planning team will review the proposals and respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal by the end of the day on July 9th.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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We always encourage a lively exchange of ideas, whether online or off. Questions? Please feel free to contact us directly.

  1. Kim Ghostkeeper says:

    I attended the conference in Seattle and really enjoyed myself. Particularly liked the 101 pre-conference session — awesome idea — hope you do it again! I am “thinking” about stepping in a little further and putting together a proposal to do a session. I work as a Community Development Officer with the Alberta Government and one of the roles we play is facilitating community conversations on a variety of areas. I’ve spent much of my career engaging the Aboriginal (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) community and thought there are many things I might be able to share and ideas to explore – if there was an appetite for such a session. So…what do you think? What should be included?

  2. Carol Davis says:

    Although I’ve never been to an NCDD conference (I’ve wanted to for years though), I’m considering submitting a proposal to do a session on a game we developed in partnership with a theater company out of Portland, Oregon. The game is called BUILT and we developed it to expand our outreach tools for a regional sustainability planning effort. My question is two-fold – do you think this would be of interest to your attendees? and what is the typical session size and time-frame? I’ve presented on the BUILT game at several state and national conferences (Imagining America, Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Virginia DEQ, Appalachian Studies Association) and it’s always been well-received – but it would work best with a smallish group (12-24) and if we had at least 45 minutes allotted for game play. I’m also wondering if there’s any sort of discount off the registration for presenters – my training and travel budget is quite small. Many thanks!

    • Hi, Carol! A session on BUILT sounds fantastic. We’re always looking for creative sessions that incorporate the arts. I’d love to know more about it, though. Is there a video or longer description somewhere I could check out?

      Our sessions will likely all be 90 minutes long (the schedule isn’t finalized, and we have had one 2-hour workshop timeslot at some of our past conferences, and could do a one-hour time slot as well for quicker sessions). But it’s safe to assume it will be 90 minutes.

      Our sessions typically get between 25 and 40 attendees each, but we could cap yours if need be.

      Session presenters don’t automatically get registration discounts, no. But anyone (including workshop leaders) can apply for a partial or full registration scholarship if they need it. We offer deeper discounts to scholarship applicants who are typically underrepresented at professional conferences — young people, people of color, international participants.

      We don’t offer discounts to our workshop presenters because (1) everyone wants to present, so presenting is more of a privilege than an obligation, (2) many of our presenters are professionals who can afford the registration fee, and (3) we want to offer discounts to those who need it. So feel free to apply for a scholarship if needed, Carol. The scholarship app is live at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NCDD2014-scholarship-app

      See the FAQs page at https://ncdd.org/ncdd2014/ncdd-2014-faqs for more tips on cutting costs associated with attending the conference. The good news is that we keep registration very reasonable compared to comparable conferences in our field, and we’ve scored an amazing room rate of $124/night at the conference hotel.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, Carol!

      • Carol Davis says:

        Hi Sandy – I’m afraid I don’t have a video. I do however, have a stock powerpoint that I’ve given when presenting on BUILT. I could send that to you if you’d like. Also – I’ve reached out to the Portland Theater company (Sojourn Theater) that we partnered with to create the game to ask if they’d be interested in co-presenting. There is a video on their website of the earliest iteration of the game (from 2008) at this link (start watching around the 4 minute mark to get a rough sense of the game) – http://vimeo.com/5337210
        We worked with Sojourn to re-imagine this same game for a rural context, so the version we have is quite different.

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and answering all my questions. I’ve wanted to attend one of these conferences for years and I’m so excited NCDD will be so close by this time around – I have family who live within walking distance of the conference site, so I think I can swing it by not having to pay for a hotel!

  3. Hi Sandy. I haven’t yet attended an NCDD conference, but I am a Fellow of the Interactivity Foundation (IF) and plan to attend your conference in October. I am writing to float an idea for a possible session at the conference.

    For the past two years I have been conducting IF discussions online using the video-conferencing platform Webex. I have, for example, conducted a year long project on ‘Global Responsibility for Children’ in which two panels, each consisting of six panelists from six different countries, met online each month for four-to-five hour discussion sessions. I have also been conducting weekly online IF discussions about some of our areas of concern. And I am currently conducting two such discussion series, one focused upon the future of poverty and the other on the nature and use of data.

    These video-conference discussions are very different from text-based online discussions, and far more like our regular ‘in-person’ IF discussions than one might imagine. But I find them very useful for three different reasons. First, they are able to bring together people from different countries, and different parts of the United States, who might otherwise not be able to meet together—-which, in turn, expands the number of different perspectives that get voiced in the discussions. They also save time, energy, and money (since people do not have to leave home in order to participate, and the only cost involved is the monthly $49 fee for Webex). And they are very good at cutting back on ‘side-discussions’ among their participants, and other distractions, thereby making it easier for participants to focus their attention more on the subject matter at hand.

    I do not know whether you are planning a session about using video-conferencing technology to conduct discussions. But if not, I think it would be useful to do so. I am, in any event, thinking of a session in which I might describe what I have been doing, along with others who might also be using video-conference platforms to conduct discussions, and still others who might be able to talk about the different video-conference platforms (e.g., Google Hangouts, Go to Meeting, etc.) that are available. Please let me know what you think about this idea.

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