July 18-20, 2013, Medford, MA
Conference Framing and Session Formats
Both in the US and around the world we find ourselves in a dramatic period of civic awakening. We know this work and ideas under different names: public engagement, deliberative and participatory democracy, collaborative governance, educating for democracy and civic learning, public work, building social capital, and strengthening democracy. We promote it using diverse means; we think about it in diverse ways.
With a civic awakening all around us, in US, in the Arab world, in Russia and Burma, in India, Greece, Spain and Hungary, in many countries in Africa and Latin America, it is a good time to rethink what we have been doing and to formulate how it fits into and contributes to this larger effort. At this year’s Frontiers of Democracy conference, we considered a wide picture of work and ideas that support and promote civic vitality.
This year, the Center for Engaged Democracy is joining with Frontiers to offer its fourth annual conference on the Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education – from 5:00 pm on Wednesday, July 17 to 4:00 pm on Thursday, July 18, immediately prior to the start of Frontiers of Democracy. We encourage attendees to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about developing academic programs focused on civic engagement, Core Competencies in Civic Engagement, and on-line civic engagement. To learn more about and see the agenda for The Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education, click here.
Members of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation are invited to join NCDD’s director and several Board members for an informal afternoon meet-up on Thursday, July 18, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, also immediately before Frontiers begins. Network, talk about the New England region’s most exciting D&D projects, and explore what is and can be done to strengthen the region’s civic infrastructure. To register, please visit this page.
In this 4th year of the Frontiers of Democracy conference, we have once again worked to design a program responsive to the times and to the interests of participants. This year’s conference offers four kinds of sessions:
- Learning Exchanges in Civic Practices (plenary & concurrent sessions, 8 am – 4 pm, Friday, July 19):
Multiple plenary and concurrent sessions intended for both academics and practitioners
Democratic and interactive discussions, rather than traditional academic panels, on topics likely to move the needle on civic renewal. For learning exchanges, the assumption is that everyone has valuable experiences and knowledge to share, and the sessions are designed to shift from the descriptive to the strategic.
- Mini-Conference in Civic Studies (8 am – 4 pm, Friday, July 19)
One day-long, academic-style conference
Panels in a more traditional academic format, but with a focus on debates of key issues, not the reading of academic papers.
- Short Takes (four sets – on each day of Frontiers)
Provocative, 10-minute presentations by invited speakers, some live and some via videos pre-recorded for this event. The speakers’ topics will be diverse. Instead of following their presentations with Q&A and plenary discussion, we will go directly into small-group conversations that will be generally inspired by the speakers but not limited to their remarks.
- Open Space (Saturday, July 20):
Throughout the conference, we ask participants to be thinking about topics that you would like to learn more about, areas of interest that call for more discussion, and strategic alliances and working groups. On Saturday, participants can convene a group. Watch for sign-up sheets located in the main rooms of the conference.
Note: refunds can be made until June 28, 2013 but not after that date.
The events will take place on the Tufts University campus in Medford, MA (02155), at the Granoff Family Hillel Center and nearby 51 Winthrop Street. Parking is available at 419 Boston Ave., Medford. The conference venues are 1.1 miles from Davis Square, Somerville, which has many restaurants and is served by Boston’s subway system, the MBTA or “T.” The station is Davis on the Red Line. A conference shuttle bus will loop between Davis Square and the conference location.
Participants will arrange their own lodging. Hyatt Place in Medford offers a guaranteed rate of $159 per night if you call by June 17 and reserve under the name Tisch College. The Hyatt Place provides a shuttle to Tufts. Hotels in the Harvard Square area and other parts of Cambridge, MA are convenient by “T” or taxi. Downtown Boston is about 20 minutes from Davis Square on the “T.” Tufts recommends selected hotels in the Boston area that offer discounts for Tufts visitors, but Hotels.com lists more than 250 hotels that would be convenient by public transportation. The hostel at Stuart Street in Boston is also accessible by “T.”