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2018 Conference Schedule

NCDD2018 · Denver, CO

Conference Schedule

The 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is taking place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown in Denver, CO November 2-4!

This page shows you the overall flow and focus of the conference, as well as start and end times, what meals are provided, and each day’s activities.

GUIDE:      = PLENARY     = WORKSHOPS     = LUNCH     = SPECIAL      = OTHER  

Thursday, November 1

  9:00 – 5:00 pm  –  PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS

We have five day-long, and one half-day pre-conference workshops scheduled to provide more intensive learning opportunities:

Session 1 – Standing Up for Social Justice in Times of Fear & Hatred (Beginner)

Session 2 – Tackling Wicked Problems in Local Communities: A Workshop for Local Governments, School Districts, and Community Leaders (Beginner)

Session 3 – A Taste of the Theory and Practice of Bohm Dialogue (Beginner)

Session 4 – Transforming Community Spaces: A Workshop for Community Facilitators (Advanced)

Session 5 – We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe (Beginner)

Session 6 – What is Participatory Budgeting and how can it work for me? (Beginner)

All sessions come with an additional price – see the pre-conference page for pricing and descriptions.

5:00 – 7:00 pm  –  INFORMAL MEET & GREET

We welcome all folks participating in pre-conference activities and conference attendees who have arrived early to join NCDD’s Staff at Mix16 Lounge in the hotel lobby for an informal meet & greet!

  6:00 – 7:00 pm  –  DELIBERATION BOOTCAMP

This session, specifically designed for newcomers to the conference, will provide an overall introduction to NCDD and to many of the key concepts, organizations, and challenges related to the field. The session will be led by Martin Carcasson, NCDD Board member and Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation. Email Martín at mcarcas@colostate.edu to let him know you’ll be attending the Bootcamp.  (Governor’s Square 14)


Similar to a couple in the middle of deep-set resentments, growing numbers of Americans today have become so enraged that they can hardly see or hear each other honestly anymore.  The kind of collective distortions that anger generates can be reminiscent at times of a “trance-like” state.  If that’s true, we’re curious about the ways in which dialogue practices can effectively break the almost hypnotic, reflexive reactions that currently paralyze politics. This evening will be dedicated to exploring these possibilities together, and trying them out for ourselves, utilizing various approaches we’ve been exploring, including a Living Room Conversation format and the Transpartisan Matrix to assist in the collective inquiry. Come join the brainstorm.. The fate of the republic depends on it! (Governor’s Square 15)


NCDD is hosting a pre-conference event for young people and students. This will be a time for attendees 35 and under to connect with the other younger conference attendees. We will also be kicking off our NCDD 2018 Mentoring Program, which will intentionally connect a cadre of experienced D&D leaders with students and youth attendees during the conference. (Governor’s Square 12)

Friday, November 2

  8:00 – 9:45 am  –  REGISTRATION

Check in and get your name tag and goodie bag, have some coffee and bagels, and start chatting people up! (Plaza Exhibit/Foyer)

   10:00 am – 12:00 pm  –  OPENING SESSION

The opening plenary for NCDD 2018 will focus on networking and exploring the conference theme of bringing D&D into greater visibility and use. We will start by welcoming our emcees, who will get you started with meeting others in the room right away. NCDD staff will then introduce our conference theme, and talk about how we will explore this theme together over the three days of conference.

To launch our conversations about amplifying our work and broadening its use, we’ll have several lightning talks from civic innovators who will share how they are achieving this goal in their work:

Derek Okubo – Exec. Director of Denver Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships
Justine Lee – Co-creator and Head of Partnerships, Make America Dinner Again
Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson – Author, Holding Up Your Corner
Courtney Hartman – Singer, Songwriter, and Guitarist, Slow Tours
April Struthers – Organizational Consultant and Facilitator, Slow Tours

Conference attendees will then jumpstart their conference experience with a networking activity, intended to help them identify their goals for their time at NCDD 2018, meet people they want to connect further with, and set us all up for three days of collaboration.

We’ll close out the plenary by describing additional networking opportunities and spaces for collaboration and innovation. It promises to be a fun and inspiring session! (Plaza Ballroom)

   12:00 – 1:00 pm  –  LUNCH

A healthy buffet lunch is provided, and will be served outside the ballroom.  (Plaza Ballroom)

  1:00 – 2:30 pm  – WORKSHOP SESSON A

Choose from among ten exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   2:30 – 3:00 pm  –  BREAK

   3:00 – 4:30 pm  –  WORKSHOP SESSION B

Choose from among eleven exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   4:30 – 6:00 pm  –  D&D SHOWCASE and RECEPTION

Stroll around, talking with 30 presenters stationed around the room who are excited to tell you about a tool, concept, or project they’re working on. Showcase presenters will have posters on display and materials to give you. This is also a chance to meet other conference participants and do some more networking! (Plaza Exhibit/Foyer)

   6:00 pm on  –  FREE TIME FOR DINNER

Dinner on your own. Go out to dinner with new or old friends… We’ll provide you with all you need to organize your evening out.


We are sharing the Ballroom with the White Privilege Symposium for their community event, featuring performances and speakers. Event is open to NCDD attendees and the public.  (Plaza Ballroom)


What Should We Do About The Opioid Epidemic?  –  Virgina York will lead attendees in a National Issues Forum on the opioid epidemic. Join fellow attendees to experience the National Issues Forums model and deliberate on possible approaches to this complex national issue. (Governor’s Square 15)

  8:45pm – 9:30pm – BUILDING BRIDGES SALON

Join a late night discussion about dialogue and racial privilege after the WPS community kick-off event. Come upstairs around 8:30pm to the 15FIFTY Restaurant & Lounge for a loosely facilitated conversation to explore how WPS attendees & NCDDers can do better together.  (15FIFTY Restaurant & Lounge)

Saturday, November 3

   9:00 – 10:30 am  –  WORKSHOP SESSION C

Choose from among eleven exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   10:30 – 11:00 am  –  BREAK

   11:00 – 12:30 pm  –  WORKSHOP SESSION D

Choose from among ten exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   12:30 – 1:30 pm  –  LUNCH

A healthy buffet lunch is provided, and will be served outside the ballroom. (Plaza Ballroom)

    12:30 – 1:30 pm – BEN FRANKLIN CIRCLES LUNCH

Ben Franklin Circles (BFC) use Franklin’s classic 13 virtues to spark discussion about how participants can improve themselves and their communities. Join BFC hosts from around the country for a relaxed lunch and Ben Franklin Circle in action. Get a feel for the BFC approach as we discuss Franklin’s virtue of “Resolution” in relation to our conference theme: connecting and strengthening civic innovators. The combination of Franklin’s original prompts and modern day topics generates a unique lens for civic dialogue and community building. Come eat, explore, and innovate with us. (Plaza Court 2)

For planning purposes it would assist the presenters to know if you will plan to attend this discussion circle.  Please fill out the brief form here.

This lunchtime breakout session is a circle in action. For general information about BFC please see our workshop on Friday Nov. 2nd , Session A.

Hosted by: Tracy Rogers-Tryba, Ben Franklin Circle Host, IL and Danyel Addes -Network and Program Manager, Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

   1:30 – 5:00 pm  –  AFTERNOON PLENARY

In the second plenary, we’ll shift our focus to the topics we need to discuss as a field in order to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement into more widespread use.

To kick us off, NCDD’s staff will provide an overview of what we have been hearing from the field about what we most need to discuss, consider, or address in order to amplify and spread our work. Speakers:

Courtney Breese, NCDD Managing Director
Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD Founding Director
Keiva Hummel, NCDD Communications Coordinator

Then, the session will shift to Open Space. Participants will have the opportunity to set the agenda for the afternoon and propose topics they think are most pressing for our field to discuss. Several rounds of sessions will allow attendees to explore a variety of topics in self-organized sessions. Everyone will then come together for reflections and closing.  (Plaza Ballroom)

    5:00 pm-on  –  FREE TIME FOR DINNER & FUN

Explore downtown Denver and go out to dinner with new or old friends… We’ll provide you with all you need to organize your evening out!

Conference sponsor Civic Dinners is offering to help people run their own Civic Dinners Saturday night. Civic Dinners helps people transform dinner tables into forums for positive social change. Our friends at Civic Dinners are happy to help anyone who wants to host on any of their three national topics: Bridging the Racial Divide, The Voice of Women, or Common Ground (just launched!).

Civic Dinners will be getting people to sign up during the Showcase/Reception on Friday afternoon. Those of you who’d like to host something at a restaurant or, even better, local folks who’d like to host a Civic Dinner in your home, can plan to do so! If this is of interest to you, email Jenn Graham at jenn@civicdinners.com so you two can connect on the details.

Sunday, November 4

   9:00 – 10:30 am  –  WORKSHOP SESSION E

Choose from among nine exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   10:30 – 11:00 am  –  BREAK

   11:00 – 12:30 pm  –  WORKSHOP SESSION F

Choose from among nine exciting sessions led by people doing extraordinary work in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. (Breakout Rooms)

   12:30 – 1:30 pm  –  LUNCH

A healthy buffet lunch is provided, and will be served outside the ballroom. (Plaza Ballroom)

   1:30 – 3:30 pm  –  CLOSING PLENARY

In this closing plenary, we’ll look to the future of our field and discuss what work we can do together beyond the conference to expand and innovate dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement.

Speakers will offer brief glimpses into their efforts to bring D&D to this next level, or speak about what they believe to be the next steps for our field. Speakers will include:

Fatima Ahmed, Student, Lakehead University
John Steiner, Co-Founder and Board Member, Bridge Alliance
Wendy Willis, Exec. Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Participants will then join in a Pro Action Cafe, a process blending World Cafe and Open Space, where they will have the opportunity to work together on ideas for moving us forward. This process will help those with questions and project ideas to move to action, with the input of their peers. Participants will be encouraged to connect after the conference on ideas they want to move forward!

We will end with a celebration of our time together at NCDD 2018! (Plaza Ballroom)