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Call for Proposals Open for NCDD 2016!

NCDD’s 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is coming up this October 14th-16th in the Boston area.


NCDD 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. Our last national conference (DC in 2014) had 415 attendees, and we hope to beat that number this year!

If your work involves dialogue and deliberation, or you want to get involved with this work, you’ll love this conference. Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing leaders in this field, 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 our 2014 Conference Storify page for quotes and pictures.)

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions for NCDD 2016. We’re interested in finding 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 our network! If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, look over the comments on this blog post, where we asked the NCDD community to share what they’d like to see happen at NCDD 2016, and peruse the fabulous sessions offered at the 2014 and 2012 NCDD conferences.

Please note that the deadline for proposals is Wednesday, July 13th. We look forward to seeing what you’d like to offer!

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD 2016…

IMG_5569Our theme for the 2016 conference is Bridging Our Divides, and we invite workshop proposals that in some way build upon or engage the ideas around this theme. NCDD 2016 is taking place a month before the 2016 Presidential election, and in light of the extreme rhetoric and partisan rancor in this election cycle, we want to share stories about healing the partisan divide and about creating and implementing strategies that will help us move forward together in addressing our shared problems.

But the divide between left and right politics is not the only divide that we as a field need to help our country address – the Bridging Our Divides theme is an invitation for us to address the most persistent of our gaps in our society. We want this conference to lift up stories and strategies about people working together across our race divides, our religious divides, our economic divides, our divisions around gender, orientation, and expression, our generational divides, our divides between government officials and everyday citizens, and others.

We invite session proposals that will highlight work being done to bridge divides on all levels – from organizations, to neighborhoods, to cities, to the whole country. We also invite sessions that have a special focus on the role of media and the press in bridging our societal divisions, especially through partnership with the dialogue & deliberation field. Your proposal will be evaluated, in part, by its relevance to our theme and goals.

Some advice 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 DC 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.
  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. Stories about bridging divides are a key part of this year’s conference as well!
  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?

IMG_1562Not quite ready to draw up a proposal yet? Use the comment field (and/or the NCDD listserv) to float your ideas by other 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 comments on our engagement of members around what they would like to see at the conference, on the blog and the listserv. There is a wealth of ideas and insight in those results!

Deadline for submissions
To be have your session proposal considered, we need you to submit the session application by the end of the day on Wednesday, July 13th. Members of the conference planning team will review the proposals and plan to respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal by the end of August.

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Courtney Breese
Courtney Breese is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce University, where she was introduced to dialogue & deliberation.

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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. I am also interested in group process and dynamics as they relate to safety and deepening the dialogue. Recently I have presented Dialogue as a Spiritual Path which involves an understanding of individual and group consciousness. This connects to issues of identity and bridging divergent points of view.

  2. Forgot to add that I would like a co presenter if this topic interests you.

  3. S.B. Robbins says:

    Where in Boston will this conference take place?

  4. CR Ruano says:

    I’m currently based in the Caribbean. I’d be interested in presenting work I’ve been doing on best practices regarding partnership building in developing country urban areas. It’d be a kind of participatory workshop rather than a paper. I’m wondering if it’d be of interest to participants at this event?

  5. Clark Olson says:

    The Institute for Civil Dialogue is excited to partner with the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University and the Freemasons of California to present various ways Civil Dialogue can be used: first as a tool to build civility among citizens, secondly when statewide ballot propositions are controversial, and third as a tool for processing the Presidential and vice-presidential debates. In use for over a decade, this proven method will be modeled and we look for others interested in creating civility through face-to-face dialogue. This issue couldn’t be more timely given both world and national events.

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