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Here is a full listing of the great concurrent sessions we offered at the 2012 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation.

2:00-4:00 pm

When Governments Listen: New Models for Public Engagement, Civic Infrastructure, and Slow Democracy

Our collaborative, interactive session will share lessons learned in community and statewide deliberations in New Hampshire and selected other sites around the US, including the internationally recognized Portsmouth Listens. Concrete examples of community-based deliberation will focus on a wide range of public challenges including master planning, school reform, participatory budgeting, water use, and environmental sustainability. We will compare a range of deliberative models applied in small, medium, and large communities as well as at the state level. Central concepts in this session include “slow democracy,” community-based organizing and framing, talk-to-action, and participatory governance. Discussion guides, recruitment materials, and other resources will be made available.

Bruce L. Mallory
Director, New Hampshire Listens, and Professor of Education, University of New Hampshire

Michele Holt-Shannon
Associate Director, New Hampshire Listens, University of New Hampshire

Susan Clark
Co-author, Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home

Jim Noucas
Co-founder, Portsmouth Listens and New Hampshire Listens

Zach Powers and Kristen Treacy
Pittsfield Youth Workshop and Pittsfield Listens

Restorative Circles: Community-Based System to Engage Conflict, Generate Solutions, and Build Relationships

Restorative Justice Systems using Restorative Circles (RC) enable groups to embrace conflict in a way that deepens connections, empowers all individuals, and builds strength of relationship by harnessing the generative wisdom and shared power of community. Developed in Brazil by Dominic Barter, this practice is used in organizations, schools, court systems, communities, workplaces, and families around the world. In this experiential session (with handouts), participants will learn: Stories and theory, including our work in Seattle and at the Women’s Prison; Principles including shared power, transparency, voluntariness and inclusivity; Five preconditions to establish a Restorative Circle System; Basic framework: Pre-circle, Circle and Post-circle; Circle phases: shared meaning, self-responsibility, and agreed action.

Susan Partnow
Sr. Organizational Development Consultant at Swedish, Compassionate Seattle-Restorative Circles

Andrea Brenneke
Employment & Civil Rights Attorney, MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless, Compassionate Seattle-Restorative Circles

Demystifying Online/Offline Engagement

This session is intended to explore the relationships, tensions and opportunities in the interplay between online and offline strategies for dialogue and civic engagement.  Using exercises, case studies and best practices, this interactive workshop and its four experienced guides will seek to demystify online identity and engagement; draw deeper connections with all forms of dialogue and deliberation; and explore some of the high level considerations and trade-offs when assessing when to use online tools. Session participants will leave with not only a better understanding of how off- and online tools can work together, but also some tangible tools to help them begin integrating theses approaches in their deliberative practices.

Yuri Artibise
Director of Community Engagement, PlaceSpeak

Tim Bonnemann
Founder & CEO, Intellitics, Inc.

Amanda Gibbs
Principal, Public Assembly

Kaliya Hamlin
Facilitator / Identity Woman, Internet Identity Workshop

The Art of Engagement: What is Journalism’s Role in a Civic Infrastructure?

The purpose of this session is to help journalists and practitioners of civic engagement explore how they might work together to improve the information health of communities. Journalism’s place in our civic ecosystem is changing. New models are emerging, such as WellCommons, in which community and journalism work together to create a healthier region in Lawrence and Douglas Counties, Kansas. During this session, we will highlight examples of journalism and engagement to spark a conversation in the room about what journalism and engagement – and a partnership between journalists and civic engagement practitioners – could look like in a robust civic infrastructure.

Peggy Holman
Executive Director, Journalism that Matters

Mike Fancher
Executive Editor (retired), Seattle Times

Jan Schaffer
Executive Director, J-Lab (via Skype)


Welcoming or Warning? Choosing Language that Opens or Closes Doors to Engagement

What type of language invites community members of all backgrounds to attend a public dialogue — and to feel a part of the discussion and a part of the solution? What opens new narratives?  What gets us stuck in old ones?  What language creates inadvertent barriers to participation? Many organizations hoping to engage diverse publics are unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ways that the language of invitations, handouts and facilitation may discourage engagement. Together we will examine examples of professional and political jargon, modes of expression and hidden assumptions that can help or hinder participation of diverse community participants.

Susan Stuart Clark
Director, Common Knowledge

Cheryl Honey
Social Architect, Community Weaving

Jacob Hess
Research Director, All of Life

Group Works Cards: Applications

The Group Works deck is a creative synthesis of core wisdom in the field of facilitation and group convening, collaboratively distilled over several years by experienced practitioners from a variety of organizational backgrounds. Come learn how these pattern cards can be used by groups and individuals before, during, and after meetings and other events to generate more lively and productive group sessions.  Participants will receive a color booklet with summary charts, suggested uses, and further resources.

Tree Bressen
Founder, Group Pattern Language Project

Sue Woehrlin
Core Faculty, Antioch University Seattle

Building Civic Infrastructure Through Local Government

What can we learn from each other about building civic infrastructure? AmericaSpeaks worked with DC Mayor Williams’ administration for years to build a broad infrastructure on city budgeting. This infrastructure included dozens of neighborhood associations created for this effort, regular city-wide citizen summits, a large network of paid consultants and volunteers to support activities, and institutional support from the DC government in terms of significant staffing and direct policy links. This infrastructure mostly disappeared after Williams left office, but we are now working with the Gray administration, DC agencies, and other local governments on several short-term projects but with the long term goal of building a more lasting infrastructure. We don’t yet have a clear picture of what this might look like, but are keeping it as part of our intent. We would like to talk with others who have experience or interest in building lasting civic infrastructure through local government to share experiences and learnings.

Daniel Clark
Program Director, AmericaSpeaks

Steve Brigham
President, AmericaSpeaks

Building Capacity for Making Wise Choices in Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement

As practitioners we are called upon to make wise choices about how to bring forms of dialogue, deliberation, and engagement into situations where they are most effective. In this interactive session we will introduce and work together with four “enablers” for building capacity in making wise choices: 1) Exploring and enriching the foundations that underpin our choices; 2) Learning through practice at multiple levels; 3) Learning relationally through deepening conversations; and, 4) Engaging in ongoing critical self-reflection. These enablers are woven throughout the Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement Collaborative Certificate Program and serve to make our practices for choosing wisely more robust, systemic and sustainable.

Jan Elliott, PhD and Linda Blong, PhD
Program Co-Leaders, Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement Certificate Program

9:00-10:30 am (primarily case examples)

The Oregon Citizens Initiative Review and the Institutionalization of Deliberative Democracy

This session will provide insight into how Healthy Democracy Oregon, in partnership with researchers at the University of Washington, created, evaluated, and institutionalized a new deliberative process to improve statewide initiative elections. The Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) was piloted in 2008, made a temporary feature of state government in 2010, then reaffirmed by an evenly-divided state legislature in 2011 as a permanent feature of the initiative process. The CIR convenes a random sample of the public to deliberate for one week on a ballot measure then present written findings to the entire electorate through the official state Voters’ Guide. This session explores how the organizers of the CIR partnered with academic and non-profit organizations, conferred with state officials, and made this unique deliberative body a part of Oregon politics.

John Gastil
Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Penn State University

Tyrone Reitman
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Health Democracy Oregon

Katherine Knobloch
Doctoral Candidate, Dept. of Communication, University of Washington

Intergroup Dialogue: What do we know, how are we growing, where are we going?

Intergroup dialogue (IGD) on college campuses has grown from a handful of colleges in the early 1990s to a national network of over 160 campuses. A substantial contributor to this growth has been the research evidence of the efficacy of IGD. We will present (1) the design and results of a multi-university research collaboration investigating IGD outcomes and processes, (2) the growing network of IGD programs and the catalysts for the growth, and (3) a case study showing how to embed IGD in institutional structures and processes. Session participants will be invited to dialogue about applicability to their own efforts.

Biren (Ratnesh) A. Nagda
Associate Professor & Director, Intergroup Dialogue, Education and Action (IDEA) Center, University of Washington School of Social Work

Charu Thakral
Associate Director, Diversity Educational and Research Initiatives, Office of Diversity, University of Illinois Chicago

Kelly Maxwell
Co-Director, Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan

Engaging Diverse Communities in Online Neighborhood Forums

E-Democracy.org is in the process of building the largest online civic network in the nation serving a single community. We hope to engage 10,000 people in St. Paul in online neighbors forums. Critical to the success of our project, is reaching out and engaging diverse immigrant and low income communities using low-tech strategies such as door-knocking and paper sign-up sheets. The process has been thoroughly documented with both photos and video. We are eager to share what worked for us as well as what didn’t work, highlight stories from the field, and hear about similar projects in other communities.

Corrine Bruning
Outreach Coordinator, E-Democracy.org

Steven Clift
Executive Director, E-Democracy.org

Empowering Individuals and Community Stakeholders for Meaningful Engagement

Los Angeles County CA and Eau Claire WI are two different regions in the US but both use an annual empowerment convention model as a sustainable participatory democracy structure for engaging diverse community members to work on improving their communities. Empowerment conventions bring together community residents in annual events combining large and small group facilitation formats to prioritize issues; form resident-led work groups; design plans; and implement community based actions. Participate in an interactive session about the empowerment convention concept and how to build the civic problem solving skills of everyday people to do extraordinary public work.

Mike Huggins
Principal, Civic Praxis

Grace Canoy Weltman
Executive Director, Institute for Community Expansion

People’s Academy for Community Engagement

The City of Seattle’s PACE (People’s Academy for Community Engagement) program inspires newly emerging leaders to find and then trust their voice.  This session will first provide an overview of the PACE pilot program and the closely related Seattle’s Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison (POEL) program.  Then the session will break into small groups to discuss techniques for Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement (IOPE).  Participants will learn 6 strategies for IOPE and understand how to link the type of engagement to the goal of participation. Participants will also learn about how these strategies were applied in PACE community projects throughout Seattle.

Christa Dumpys, Ed Pottharst and Thomas Whittemore
Neighborhood District Coordinators, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Sebhat Tenna
Coordinator, City of Seattle’s Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison (POEL) program

Bridgett McGinnis, Nafiso Samatar and Issa Ulo
Participants, PACE pilot program (Nafiso is also a Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison)

Cultivating Dialogue and Deliberation within Institutions of Higher Education and their Surrounding Communities

Individuals connected to established and newly forming on-campus centers and institutes that serve as local resources for civic engagement will reflect on their institution’s dialogue and deliberation landscape, their interest in furthering the work, and their journey establishing new campus-based centers together. Participants will learn about the Kettering Foundation, the National Issues Forum network, and the University Network for Collaborative Governance. Discussions will focus on the various models of centers, how to start new centers, how to further develop existing centers, and the opportunities for and barriers to doing this work on campus.

Amanda Buberger
Assistant Director, Campus-Community Partnerships, Tulane University, Center for Public Service

Martín Carcasson
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Director of the CPD, Colorado State University, CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD)

Jack Becker
Research Assistant, Charles F. Kettering Foundation

Shirlee Geiger
Instructor of Philosophy and Business Ethics & Assessment Chair, Portland Community College

Teaching and Facilitating Dialogue in International Conflict Contexts

How would you initiate a dialogue in Afghanistan, Iraq or Sudan? What would be your assumptions? How do we experience our identities in foreign contexts? What are the implications for facilitating dialogue? Drawing on the session leader’s dialogue experiences in Iraq, Haiti, Colombia and the U.S. as well as the group’s dialogue experiences, participants will discover the similarities, differences, pitfalls and opportunities of dialogue across differences in countries experiencing deep-seeded conflict and in cultures different from their own. Participants will identify and learn strategies for engaging in and teaching dialogue effectively in these contexts.

Maria Jessop
Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace

11:00-12:30 pm (primarily case examples)

One Person, One Vote – Bringing Deliberation into the Public Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Most examples involve city governments that have opened up decisions around municipal budgets, such as overall priorities and choice of new investments, to citizen assemblies. This session will provide a brief overview of the basic principles, the diffusion (cities adopting the principles and then adapting them to meet local needs) and impacts. PB has been adopted by hundreds of cities across the world and is slowly gaining popularity in the U.S. with major projects in New York city, Chicago and Vallejo, CA. Our workshop session includes a simulation exercise that will allow participants to better understand how North American cities are now using the process.

Maria Hadden
Project Coordinator, The Participatory Budgeting Project

Brian Wampler
Professor, Boise State University

Janette Hartz-Karp
Professor, Curtin Univerity Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Western Australia

Reexamining the Indigenous Deliberative Democracy Practice — Past & Present

This interactive workshop will examine the history of Indigenous Native American democratic communication and show how recognizing Indigenous values and incorporating current Deliberative Democracy processes is bringing about social change. A dialogue practitioner from the Pueblo communities of New Mexico will describe their work in Strong Starts, a project on early childhood that has been assisted by Everyday Democracy. As a group, we will strive for understanding differences and similarities of DD and Indigenous communication structures, how dialogue can be integrated into community work, and lessons learned in working with Native communities.

Mona Halcomb
Board Member, Northwest Native Cultural Center

Deborah J. Guerrero MSW
Social Worker, Muckleshoot Child and Family Services

Maria Brock and Barbara Yasui
Associate, Everyday Democracy

Statewide Civic Engagement Initiatives

Increasingly, states are developing statewide consensus mechanisms to engage large numbers of citizens in public policy decisions. This session looks at two such initiatives in Oregon and Colorado. Both initiatives build on previous engagement efforts within the states. This will be an interactive session, beginning with an initial overview of collaborative governance efforts in Colorado and Oregon. The purpose will be to share best practices and lessons learned from all participants and to engage in current living questions from anyone engaged or hoping to engage in large scale regional efforts.

Wendy Willis
Executive Director, Policy Consensus Initiative

Paul Alexander
Director, Institute on the Common Good / Regis University

Empowering Young People To Connect, Collaborate & Take Action

YTech uses Puget SoundOff.org (PSO), a youth-driven website for local expression and action, and our Civic Voice Curriculum, to empower young people to be change agents. PSO was developed by YTech in partnership with the City of Seattle Community Technology Program and the University of Washington Center for Communication and Civic Engagement.  PSO has been used for development and promotion of Youth Action Campaigns, such as Youth Voices Against Violence.   In this session, participants will learn about this model as an example of how to support young people in the development of Youth Action Campaigns.

Chris Tugwell
Regional Director, YMCA of Greater Seattle

David Keyes
Community Technology Program Manager, City of Seattle

Moving from Personal Story to Values-Based Action

This hands-on session will demonstrate how personal stories have been used to build connections between people and reveal shared community values, which have then been used to drive decision-making and action.  Using tools developed by our project partners, participants will listen to youth created stories to learn more about the value of listening to understand, as individuals and in groups, and how transparency can be built into a process through group work.

Alece H. M. Montez and Rebecca Sanborn-Stone
Senior Associate, Orton Family Foundation

Theresa Worsham
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Golden, Colorado

The Moment of Oh! Engaging Communities in Making Tough Decisions

In this session learn how, after 30 years of studies, lawsuits and ballot measures, a citizens advisory committee to the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality successfully grappled with the contentious issue of groundwater contamination by applying Five Levels of Engagement (that are the trajectory of public decision making) and Seven Core Principles from John and Greg’s new book, The Moment of Oh! Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss how to apply this simple, but powerful, practical framework to their own communities’ situations and tough decisions.

John Blakinger and Greg Ranstrom
Co-Founders, CivilSay

Public Deliberation & Change Management

In this interactive session, we will explore the intersection of deliberative democracy and change management theory and practice. Our purpose is to shed light on the opportunities and limitations of each sphere in contemporary U.S. political culture and to explore how each tradition can enrich the other. A change management orientation has migrated from business to the public sector and begun shaping the debate and policy response around many public problems, such as K-12 and higher education, healthcare and public safety. Our conversation about these ideas will draw not only on research and theory but on specific examples from our work “in the field” and that of session participants.

Alison Kadlec
Senior VP, Public Agenda

Will Friedman
President, Public Agenda

Learning from Practice:  Imagine Austin

Come hear the story of Imagine Austin, an ambitious, 2 1/2 year process that engaged thousands of residents in preparing a vision and comprehensive plan for a sustainable future for this city of 750,000 people. Unanimously adopted this summer by City Council, the plan resulted from four rounds of public visioning, mapping, and scenario workshops, hundreds of self-organized citizen-facilitated Meetings in a Box, a mobile SpeakWeek campaign, 8 citizen expert committees, on-line engagement, and an active and vocal multi-stakeholder advisory committee. Engage with three panelists as they share their points of view on the lessons learned about designing and implementing large scale civic engagement processes.

Patricia A. Wilson
Professor, University of Texas

Diane Miller
Board Member, NCDD and President, Civic Collaboration

Meredith Bossin
Senior Planner, City of Austin

4:00-6:00 pm (working sessions)

During this timeslot, we’re leaving space for attendees to self-organize additional working sessions focused on ideas and challenges that are important to the growth and development of our field. You can also choose from one of four field trips, if you’d prefer to stretch your legs and see some of the city!

Co-creating a diverse and coherent national infrastructure for powerful conversations about public issues

What possibilities can we create together for infrastructure that promotes high quality public conversation about public issues? How can we instill such conversation into American society to empower the public’s voice and wisdom?  We’ll start with handouts and brief presentations, offering several contrasting visions of how NCDD could catalyze such infrastructure, each reflecting different resources, values, assumptions, and methods.  Using a mashup of concurrent small group processes (inspired by Open Space, focus groups, and World Café), we’ll explore those visions, as well as other possibilities and considerations that emerge.  Finally, we’ll harvest collective insights and consider options for ongoing work.

Tom Atlee
Director, Director and Research Director, Co-Intelligence Institute

John Spady
Civic Entrepreneur for Dick Spady Legacy Projects and a proposed National Dialogue Network in collaboration with NCDD

John Gastil
Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Penn State University

Peggy Holman
Executive Director, Journalism That Matters

Jeffrey Abelson
Filmmaker and Founder, Song Of A Citizen

Supporting College Students as Key Resources for Civic Infrastructure

This session will explore how different college and university programs are involving students to help support and build the local civic infrastructure through D&D. It will highlight the Student Associate program at the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation—where students are trained as impartial facilitators and help design, run, and report on projects with community organizations and local government—and will also review other models of student involvement. After providing an opportunity for participants to share additional examples, we will run a collaborative process with participants to brainstorm new possibilities for how to prepare and welcome students and new professionals to the field of D&D.

Martin Carcasson
Director of CPD/Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

Jack Becker
Research Assistant, Kettering Foundation

Laura Keir
Master’s Student, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Expanding Liberal-Conservative Dialogue in America: A Strategizing Session

In this interactive session participants will explore ways to promote a culture of transpartisan political conversation that features civility and listening. The focus will be on exploring major obstacles to such conversation and considering strategies to surmount those obstacles. In particular, we’ll discuss ways practitioners and activists could combine energies to raise the public profile of transpartisan dialogue. Two avenues we will highlight are (a) making more use of “smart” technologies (e.g., the creation of a red-blue dialogue App) and (b) finding new ways to bring the Living Room Conversation approach to the general public.

Joan Blades and Amanda Kathryn Roman
Co-Creators, Living Room Conversations

Jacob Hess
Research Director, All of Life

Phil Neisser
Professor, Political Theory, State University of New York, Potsdam

Creating Effective Social Change Practices

A thriving practice involves more than good techniques. There is a large and growing group of professionals working on various aspects of creating positive social change, but our impact is often limited by our inability to create thriving practices. Please join us for a structured conversation as part of a new project attempting to build a thriving social change sector. We will identify the core elements of a healthy professional practice and help participants put the pieces together in a way that enables increased collaboration and mutual support across disciplines.

Ben Kadel
Director, Emotus Operandi

9:00-10:30 am

The Practical Application of the Community Forums Process in Washington State

Since 1965, the Dick Spady Legacy Projects, utilizing the Community Forums process, have modeled citizen participation, civic engagement, and citizenship education at local, regional, and statewide scales for both public and private organizations. During this session you will learn about the practical features of this unique citizen engagement process: including its metrics, its decentralized design, and its scalability. You will also hear from supporters in and out of local government who are using the Community Forums process to strengthen their current city, county, and statewide public engagement practices. Want something similar for your community? Come learn how.

The Honorable Conrad Lee
Mayor, City of Bellevue, for Bellevue Community Forums and American Immigration Forums

Carrie Shaw
Executive Director, Community Forums Network (for Washington State)

John Spady
Civic Entrepreneur for Dick Spady Legacy Projects and a proposed National Dialogue Network in collaboration with NCDD

Chantal Stevens
Oversight Manager, Countywide Comunity Forums (of King County)

Steve Strachan
King County Sheriff

Disruptive Inquiry for Collective Impact

Communities, social networks and social movements are looking for collective impact, where organizations collaborate to make a substantial difference on a large-scale social issue.  Yet often, initiatives grounded in shared passions bog down as we seek meaningful ways to bring people together to develop creative, effective results. What if these initiatives were prototyped system-wide by engaging large numbers of stakeholders?  How will they hang together long enough to have collective impact?  “Collective Impact Containers” create the infrastructure to support dialogue, strategy, data mining and resourcing. Join us as we bring together the diverse interests, viewpoints and strengths of conference participants in a Disruptive Inquiry to co-create the criteria for successful Collective Impact Containers.

Christine Whitney Sanchez
Partner, Innovation Partners International

Bill Scott
Partner/Sessional Instructor, Innovation Partners International/Simon Fraser University

A Survey of Funders’ Innovative Civic Engagement Activities

Grassroots Grantmakers is a network of organizations working to strengthen and resource the work of everyday people and citizen-led groups. We will highlight innovative community engagement processes used by funders in our network. Civic infrastructure is built by activities like “What If…” movie nights spurring community dialog; block-by-block engagement using “living room meetings”; discussion groups like Detroit’s Black Male Engagement; and non-traditional grant reports in a party format that generate idea/energy.  Also discussed, how participants can partner with local foundations on community engagement and the changing relationships between foundations and communities.

Judy De Barros
Program Consultant, Seattle Foundation’s Neighbor to Neighbor Small Grants Program

Susan Dobkins
Program Director of Jane’s Fund, Russell Family Foundation

Janis Foster Richardson
Executive Director, Grassroots Grantmakers

Alberta Climate Dialogue: Public Engagement Lessons From the Frontier

Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD) is a 5-year project that is exploring how skillful citizen involvement practices can enhance responses to climate change in Alberta. Join us for this case-based workshop that will share innovations and obstacles in community-university-government collaborations on deliberative democracy. Participants will gain an insider’s perspective and collaboratively consider how to translate and overcome the key design and implementation challenges of this ambitious deliberation project in a hardest-case scenario environment.

Susanna Haas Lyons
Advisor, Alberta Climate Dialogue

Gwendolyn Blue
Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Setting the Table; Saving a Place

This session will examine three aspects of public involvement in public policy processes.  First, participants will learn how to build trust and establish credibility with clients in entrenched traditional settings, including how to speak with clients about innovative, creative, non-traditional processes in an approachable language they can understand. Second, participants will learn how they can communicate with stakeholders about political and technical constraints impacting a process, to increase understanding of process ‘drivers.’ Finally, participants will be challenged to look at the role white privilege plays in how the “table is set” for an engagement process and how information gathered is incorporated post-process.  The presenters will share case vignettes and have a ‘practical tips’ handout.

Sarah Rubin
Senior Mediator/Facilitator, Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento

Surlene Grant
Owner, Envirocom Communications Strategies

Brian Keefer
Project Lead, Workforce Development, California Mental Health Planning Council, California Institute for Mental Health

How applied brain science and innovative work in multicultural settings facilitates civil dialogue

Because the human brain loves safety, certainty and predictability, differences among people can easily evoke fear, anger, and not-so-helpful behaviors.  We will discuss how a model for using the mind to manage the brain’s tendency to react can help people respond to differences in such a way that these can be used as assets versus liabilities in a group’s work.  We will do this in the context of the Sharon (Massachusetts) Pluralism Network’s innovative work to increase understanding and collaboration in their diverse religious and cultural community.  This session is designed as a workspace and participants will be encouraged to share their key challenges and practical solutions for bridging differences – getting diverse groups to the table and keeping them productively engaged.

Mary V. Gelinas
Managing Director, Cascadia Center for Leadership and Gelinas James, Inc.

Beth Hoke, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Sharon Pluralism Network

11:00-12:30 pm

Embattled Public Forums – When Vocal Opponents Try to Discredit/Derail the Process

Public forums on controversial topics can attract vocal opponents who try to disrupt the process and/or discredit the very premise of public dialogue. A panel of highly experienced facilitators will share stories about national, state and local forums that faced significant opposition from critics, advocates and even media. These examples will launch a group discussion about what methods can improve dialogue in low trust contexts and under what conditions you modify your process to respond to the critics versus choosing to stay the course. A participant worksheet will aid reflection on key learnings.

Susan Stuart Clark
Director, Common Knowledge

Janet D. Fiero, Ph.D.
Sr. Associate, AmericaSpeaks

Christine Whitney Sanchez
Partner, Innovation Partners International

Embodied Dialogue: A Social Presencing Theatre Workshop

In an increasingly polarized political climate, words alone fall short for understanding each other. How might we expand our capacity for reflection, empathy, and shifts in awareness regarding volatile local issues? In this experiential session, participants explore Social Presencing Theatre, a synthesis between theater, embodied presence, and dialogue.  Based on Otto Scharmer’s Theory U and the work of Arawana Hayashi, SPT offers accessible tools to enable the community to see itself and enact its emerging future. Specifically, we will focus on our awareness of the impact of bullying in our communities.

Heidi Madsen
Co-Chair, Membership and Community Outreach, CAW Columbus–Creative Arts of Women

Patricia Kambitsch
Principal, Playthink

Public Deliberation on State Legislative Issues

This session will offer attendees opportunities to participate in a legislative project that seeks to learn about relationships citizens and legislators have that foster public engagement on legislative issues, including the role of interacting networks of legislators, facilitation professionals, and citizens. This multi-year project is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures and Kettering Foundation. Session attendees will learn about opportunities for project participation, including developing facilitation models for use by legislators, ranging from informal discussions to public deliberation; offering professional support to legislators for public facilitation projects; and providing input on professional training and networking activities for legislators and legislative staff.

Les Ihara, Jr.
State Senator, Hawaii State Senate

Bruce Feustel
Senior Fellow for NCSLs Legislative Management Project, National Conference of State Legislatures

Sandy Heierbacher
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)

Dialogue and Deliberation 3.0: New Platforms for Storytelling as New Opportunities for Dialogue

With the prevalence of new platforms for storytelling, we are presented with endless opportunities to spark dialogue. But let’s face it: many people have limited digital capacity, and moreover, the conversations happening online pale in comparison to real dialogue. But what if we could bridge that divide? In this workshop, participants will first consider why story is effective at sparking dialogue. Next, the presenters will share a case study of an online event that sparked offline dialogue, and the tactics used to bridge those “worlds.” In part three, participants will brainstorm about ways to take advantage of online events and film “streamings” to deepen in-person dialogue and online conversations. Attendees will walk away with creative ideas about online storytelling as a springboard for a new type of dialogue in the 21st century.

Sahar Driver
Program Manager, Active Voice

Shaady Salehi
Executive Director, Active Voice

Loops, U’s, Circles and Turtles: Honoring the Many Shapes of Self-Organizing

Join two seasoned practitioners from Madison, Wisconsin, for an interactive tour of four frameworks we’ve found indispensible in boosting individual and group capacity to be with change and diverse points of view. We’ll weave together strands from the “two loops” theory of change, U‑Process and circle practice and invite you to explore the power of inventing and displaying measures that matter. We’ll share how we use down-to-earth versions of these ideas to engage communities in new and effective ways, but mostly this session is about you. Bring the challenges of a group or project you want to boost. Leave with new openings for action.

Anne-Britt (A.B.) Orlik
Founder and facilitator, Warm At Twenty Below LLC

Amanda Bell
Lead organizer, Living Our Visions – Dane County

Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement at the City of Seattle

The City of Seattle has taken public engagement on as a priority across the board. Join representatives from many of the city’s departments as they share stories from innovative projects and every day challenges of governing on the ground. We will discuss diverse approaches to public engagement as part of long-term planning, crisis response, and community development, sharing ideas for building civic infrastructure in collaboration with and between public officials. Highlighted programs include the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons, the award-winning Neighborhood Matching Funds Program, and the SPD’s Living Room Conversations improving relations between officers and the communities they patrol.

Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith
City of Seattle

Lieutenant Carmen Best
Community Outreach Unit Seattle Police Department

Matt Fulle
Seattle Youth Commission

My Tam Nguyen
Seattle Department of Planning and Development

Sol Villarreal
Community Engagement Coordinator, Seattle Mayor’s Office

J. Paul Blake
Director of Community Relations Development, Seattle Public Utilities

Thomas Whittemore
Neighborhood District Coordinator, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods