Missed the conference? Watch videos of the “short take” speeches here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

5:00 PM

Registration and Reception

6:00 PM

Opening Remarks

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Short Takes speakers and discussion at tables:

Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, dean of Tisch College
Alan D. Solomont is a former U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra and a lifelong social and political activist, serves as the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts. Prior to his posting to Madrid, Solomont chaired the bipartisan board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees such domestic service programs as AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, VISTA and Senior Corps. He was first appointed to the board by President Clinton in 2000, reappointed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and elected chair in 2009. He began has career as a community organizer in Lowell, MA.

Gloria Rubio-Cortes, president, National Civic League
Gloria Rubio-Cortés is the President of the National Civic League, an organization that for 120 years has strengthened democracy by increasing the capacity of all of our nation’s people to effectively and responsibly participate in and build healthy, prosperous communities. Rubio-Cortés is also the Executive Editor of NCL’s award-winning journal National Civic Review, and has held leadership positions in business, philanthropy, and nonprofits in California and Colorado, specializing in civic engagement, philanthropy, and civil rights. At philanthropic foundations, she was a senior manager at Levi Strauss Foundation and ZeroDivide.

Josh Lerner, Participatory Budgeting Project
Josh Lerner is Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, a non-profit organization that empowers people across North America to decide together how to spend public money. He completed a PhD in Politics at the New School for Social Research and a Masters in Planning from the University of Toronto, and he is the author of the book Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (MIT Press, 2014).

Sabeel Rahman, Harvard Law School
K. Sabeel Rahman a Four Freedoms Center Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, and will be joining the faculty at Brooklyn Law School in 2015.  A political theorist and a lawyer, his academic work explores the prospects for meaningful democracy in the United States in this “new Gilded Age” of economic inequality and upheaval, drawing on democratic theory, the history of Progressive politics, and the law of democratic institutions, from cities to regulatory agencies to elections. Rahman also works with practitioners and policymakers to link these ideas to the world of practice, serving as Director of the Gettysburg Project, a research-practice network examining innovations in civic engagement, and as a Special Adviser for the New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor on economic development policy.  Rahman earned his Ph.D in political theory and J.D. from Harvard, and also has a masters degree from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

8:00 AM


8:30 AM – Noon
Concurrent Sessions

Break 10:15-10:30

“Them” and “us:” liberating stories through dialogue

What happens when we tell stories about others? How do the stories we tell about ourselves shape how we see others? How do stories relate to “themification” and what can facilitators do to sensitively understand the group dynamics of storytelling in dialogue? This session will draw from both experience/practice of dialogue and relevant research to explore the various ways stories occur in dialogue, how people respond, and what the stories “do:” dehumanize, imprison, or liberate. This workshop will focus on the power of story and discourse by engaging participants in interactive experiences– telling their own stories and listening to/making sense of other people’s stories– as well as didactic sharing of information and interaction with the re-humanizing art of activist photographer Dick Simon (www.dicksimon.com).

Bob Stains, Senior Vice President for Training, Public Conversations Project
Laura Black, Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies, Ohio University

Freedom summer, community, curricula, and college student politics: then and now

In the summer of 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and other civil rights organizations played a crucial role in registering African-Americans to vote in Mississippi. Over the course of Freedom Summer, community-based Freedom Schools were set up in African-American communities with the goal to encourage and support African-Americans to become active citizens and agents of social change. Teachers were volunteers, most of whom were college students who decided to take action in response to social injustices such as voter disenfranchisement. Today, democracy faces new challenges and university students are against confronted with the question: what should I do?This workshop will introduce participants to the Freedom Summer and, more specifically, direct actions civil rights leaders took through Freedom Schools. Building on the transformative work of civil rights leaders and educators, participants will look to the work of fifty years ago during the Freedom Summer to conceptualize what and how citizens can respond to democratic challenges today, both in the classroom and beyond.

Tim Shaffer, Scholar for Engaged Learning & Civic Scholarship, Center for Leadership and Engagement, Wagner College; Carolyne Abdullah, Everyday Democracy

ICMA Workshop, Engaging your community: doing better than three minutes at the microphone

Requires separate ticket – use this page to register.

The possibilities for civic engagement in local decision-making go far beyond the dreaded “three minutes at the microphone” public meetings. Communities can now use a range of strategies, from deliberative face-to-face processes to online crowdsourcing to Participatory Budgeting, for productive public participation. This workshop will provide an overview of the latest engagement trends and practices, and help you begin planning a multi-faceted, comprehensive engagement strategy for your community.

Gloria Rubio-Cortés, National Civic League; Josh Lerner, Participatory Budgeting Project; Mike Huggins, Civic Praxis former City Manager of Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Matt Leighninger, DDC

Noon – 1 PM


1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Concurrent Sessions

Break 2:30-2:45

The facilitation lab: an active exploration of the practice of facilitation

Join NH Listens to experiment with the power of interactive practice in sticky facilitation moments. Even after years of experience in community facilitation or public meetings, a tough participant can still make a seasoned facilitator’s heart race. This workshop will benefit facilitators at all levels. We will work with UNH Theatre professor David Kaye and his group, PowerPlay Interactive Development, to gain new insights, techniques and skills. I hope you will join us as we dig into those heart-racing moments.

Bruce Mallory, Interim Director, Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire; Michele Holt-Shannon, Associate Director, New Hampshire Listens; David Kaye, Professor of Theatre, University of New Hampshire

12 years of herding cats: Lessons from the NCDD board on engaging the engagers

Since 2002, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation has worked to engage, inform, connect, and empower those whose work focuses on doing those very things for citizens. By creating an infrastructure to support and connect innovators in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement, NCDD has generated and engaged an ever-growing community (now 2,000 members and 33,000 subscribers strong). Not always easy, this journey has been rich with insights about the “civic field.” Join NCDD’s Board of Directors and Executive Director as we share some of our most valuable lessons from successes and failures alike. We’ll explore what we have learned through: bridging methods and sectors, addressing our field’s wicked problems, emphasizing collaboration and inclusion in making decisions, using online tools to engage and empower members (even technology skeptics), and continually co-creating the infrastructure to support this work. In true NCDD fashion, this interactive session will use a variety of group techniques to tap into your knowledge and ideas about challenges we, and the civic field, continue to face.

John Backman, Courtney Breese, Martin Carcasson, Susan Stuart Clark, Marla Crockett, Sandy Heierbacher, Diane Miller, and Barb Simonetti

ICMA Workshop part 2

5:00 PM


5:30 PM – 6:30 PM


6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Short Takes speakers and discussion at tables:

Cheryl Hilvert, ICMA, and former city manager of Montgomery, Ohio
Cheryl Hilvert is Director of the Center for Management Studies of the International City/County Management Association. The Center provides research, education and technical assistance on key management strategies to improve local governments efficiency and effectiveness. Prior to her position with ICMA, she served for more than 31 years as a local government administrator. Cheryl was named as Public Administrator of the Year by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of ASPA and was the recipient of the ICMA Program Excellence Award for Strategic Leadership and Governance.

Abhi Nemani, Code for America
Abhi Nemani helped launch, build, and run Code for America, where he led product strategy and growth. Prior to CfA, he worked for Google and the Center for American Progress, and currently he is helping a number of civic technology organizations grow, including the OpenGov Foundation and GovDelivery. A writer, speaker, and maker, Abhi’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, and at conferences around the world.

John Gastil, Penn State
John Gastil is a professor of Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University, where he directs the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Most recently, he is co-author of The Jury and Democracy (2010) and co-editor of The Australian Citizens’ Parliament and the Future of Deliberative Democracy (2013) and Democracy in Motion: Evaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement(2012)

Tim Eatman, Research Director, Imagining America, and Syracuse University
Timothy K. Eatman, PhD, serves as Professor of Higher Education and Co-Director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA), headquartered at Syracuse University. IA catalyzes change on campuses and in communities through public scholarship that draws on the arts, humanities, and design.  He is currently serving a two-year appointment as Honorary Professor at the University of South Africa, working as a critical policy reader and consultant in service learning and community engagement.

Friday, July 18, 2014

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Breakfast and welcome

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Plenary: The state of the civic field
Civic work is proliferating: many different kinds of people, working in different contexts and issue areas, are expanding the ways in which citizens engage with government, community, and each other. It is increasingly clear that growing inequality, social and political fragmentation, and lack of democratic opportunities are undermining our efforts to address public priorities such as health, education, poverty, the environment, and government reform. But attempts to label the responses – as “civic engagement,” “collaborative governance,” “deliberative democracy,” or “public work” – or to articulate them as one movement or policy agenda under a heading like “civic renewal” or “stronger democracy” – immediately spark debates about substance, strategy, and language.In this session, we’ll consider these, and other, questions:

  • What is the scope of our field? What issues and practices are at the core? What innovations are pushing the boundaries of our field?
  • How do participatory practices shape the larger social/political context? How does or should public engagement contribute to contemporary problems of democracy?
  • What don’t we know about democratic principles and practices? What questions should we be asking? What lines of inquiry need more attention?
  • What role should impartiality play in our work? What are the tensions between deliberation and advocacy? Do we all agree that dialogue, if done well, leads to collaboratively-made decisions and citizen action or that deliberation, if done well, addresses unequal power dynamics?
  • What are the strengths in the field? How can we work together to advance our work? What barriers do we face, and how can we overcome them?
  • The Journal of Public Deliberation’s special issue on the state of the field, publication pending (check back).

This session will be connected to the final session in the conference, Next Steps re the State of the Field.

Matt Leighninger, ED, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium
Nancy Thomas, CIRCLE and the Democracy Imperative

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM


10:15 AM – Noon
Concurrent Sessions

The role of scholarly journals in civic renewal, social change, and strengthening democracy

Scholarly journals have been around for hundreds of years, and have played a significant role in building collective knowledge, ensuring the integrity of research, connecting members of academic communities, preserving an archive of research, and communicating knowledge. But what is the public relevance of an academic journal? Historically, what has been their role in social movements? Is serving as a catalyst for social change an appropriate or aspirational goal? And if facilitating social change is a goal, what might that mean for the traditional approach to peer review?In this session, we’ll bring together editors, editorial boards, reviewers, and authors (past and prospective) of several journals integral to civic renewal and democracy-building. We’ll discuss the role of academic journals, the tensions between activism and neutral scholarship, and the challenges of democratizing journals by making them open-sources and accessible to non-academics. All conference participants are welcome to this discussion.

Laura Black, Tim Shaffer, and Nancy Thomas, The Journal of Public Deliberation; Kees Biekart, Development & Change; Joshua Miller, The Good Society; John Saltmarsh, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement

From deliberation to action, civic studies session

This session will explore broad concerns of how deliberation and dialogue can be connected to policy action or practical advocacy outcomes. A structured Q&A with diverse panelists will open into whole group discussion and small group development of ideas of concrete strategies to move from deliberation to action.

Anita Brown-Graham, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues, North Carolina State University; David Kahane, Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD) and University of Alberta; Ryan Solomon, Colgate University; Jim Scheibel, Hamline UniversityModerated by Carolina Johnson (University of Washington

“Infogagement: perspectives on the (crowded) intersection of engagement, journalism, technology, and the media”For journalists, public officials and technologists, there is a growing awareness that the Information Age has brought a kind of mutual, creative destruction to their fields, and that the consequences will be dramatic . The panelists will comment on how they’re viewing these shifts, drawing from the recent research project,  “Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection.” The project, conducted by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, involved several convenings and dozens of interviews to better understand these trends.

John Dedrick, Kettering Foundation; Chris Gates, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE);
Matt Leighninger, DDC; John Sirek, McCormick Foundation

Noon – 1 PM

Lunch and Short Takes speakers with discussion at tables:

Tina Nabatchi, Syracuse University
Tina Nabatchi is an Associate Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Her article, “Addressing the Citizenship and Democratic Deficits: Exploring the Potential of Deliberative Democracy for Public Administration” won the 2010 Best Article Award from The American Review of Public Administration. She is also the lead editor of Democracy in Motion: Evaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement (2012).

Shelby Brown, Executive Administrator, State of Connecticut’s Office of Governmental Accountability
Shelby J. Brown is the head of the Office of Governmental Accountability, an agency of the state of Connecticut that consolidates nine divisions all involved in various aspects of “good government”.  Before joining this agency, Shelby spent over fourteen years working in public higher education administration.  She has worked for over a decade on social justice, diversity appreciation, and economic empowerment campaigns. She also teaches community college courses on social justice, and facilitates dialogue-to-action workshops.

David Kahane, Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD) and University of Alberta
David Kahane is Associate Professor and Vargo Distinguished Teaching Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. He is the Project Director for Alberta Climate Dialogue, a community-university research partnership convening citizens across Alberta, Canada to shape climate change policy and community action. His publications include Deliberative Democracy in Theory and Practice (2009) and “Stakeholder and Citizen Roles in Public Deliberation”, Journal of Public Deliberation (2013).

1:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Concurrent Sessions

Faith communities and democratic work: beyond the culture wars

The U.S. has a long history of religious and faith communities that serve as public space for people to learn together, connect, build relationships, and identify common ground on which to act together. In recent decades, discussions about the role of faith communities in democratic life often focus on conservative efforts to shape legislation, or the role of Islam in U.S. religious life and culture. While these are important discussions, this learning exchange seeks both to broaden and deepen the conversation. We begin with some reflections from practitioners on the ways that their religious organizations are involved in efforts to be a part of their community beyond traditional political advocacy and social service roles. The learning exchange will transition into sharing and discussion about the ways that faith and religious institutions in the U.S. contribute to community-building and are a part of the wide range of efforts often called “civic engagement,” “collaborative governance,” “deliberative democracy,” or “public work.” What does the landscape look like today? How can we better understand the role of faith organizations in communities and as spaces for public work?

John Dedrick, Vice President and Program Director, Charles F. Kettering Foundation; Elizabeth Gish, Assistant Professor, Honors College, Western Kentucky University; Robert Turner, Mathews Center for Civic Life

Moral networks: a developing tool for dialogue and self-reflection, civic studies session

A person’s moral thinking can be modeled as a network: the nodes are beliefs connected by implications, generalizations, or perceived similarities. Modeling beliefs in this way allows the robust tools of network analysis to be used in understanding and interpreting moral thinking. While moral network mapping is a tool in its infancy, it shows great promise for a range of applications. Join this interactive session for a network mapping activity, exploration of how it’s being used in the classroom, and for rigorous discussion about its possible application to deliberation and pedagogy.

Peter Levine, Tisch College, Tufts University; Joshua A. Miller, Morgan State University; Sarah Shugars, Tisch College, Tufts University; Felicia Sullivan, Tisch College, Tufts University

Free speech, political engagement, and “the timid university”

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer, an ideal time to take stock of the current state of political engagement on college campuses. Colleges and universities are hardly the hotbeds of activism that they were in the 1960s, but has that activism been replaced by something else, and if so, of what value?  Some might argue that campuses chill, or at least do not encourage, public discourse and robust activism. In this session, we’ll explore whether that’s true and, if so, some possible reasons why:  a decline in the civic purpose of higher education, the “timid university” and an aversion to conflict, an overcorrection in the name of civility or creating a welcoming campus climate, or threats to faculty members who express their views to stimulate learning and engagement. We’ll be looking to the future and “ideal” forms and levels of college student political learning and engagement.

Nancy Thomas, Tisch College, CIRCLE, and TDI; Alberto Olivas, Director, Center for Civic Participation. Maricopa Community Colleges

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM


3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Concurrent Sessions

Co-creating a national infrastructure for a strong democracy

Over the years, a number of deliberative democracy groups have discussed the idea of building a national civic infrastructure, and efforts such as The National Dialogue on Mental Health’s Creating Community Solutions are bringing us closer to realizing this vision. How should the field leverage its work together on this initiative to co-create a national infrastructure? What other fields should join this effort? How do we ensure that such a scaled effort is inclusive and equitable and includes the voice of local communities? By networking our different approaches, we can identify elements of the infrastructure and the pillars of support that D&D organizations can contribute. This highly participatory session will draw on case studies of collective D&D efforts, both at the national and state levels, systems thinking and your own ideas and experience. A national civic infrastructure is an audacious vision, but one that’s greatly needed at this time in our country and one that we as a field are prepared to take on.

Steve Brigham; Everette Hill, Principal & Managing Director, Social Innovation Strategies Group, LLC, and consultant for Creating Community Solutions-Albuquerque; Matt Leighninger, Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium; Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse; Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy

Civic education and organizing, civic studies session

Panelists will share creative approaches to learning to be civic actors.  Students become co-creators and tell stories of active citizenship.  Civic studies not only have an impact in the classroom, but action leads to citizen students gaining power and changes the way higher education conducts itself. Session members will be invited to share their successes and stories of organizing.

John Theis, Lone Star College, Texas; Mark Warren, UMass Boston; Moderated by Jim Scheibel, Hamline University, Minnesota

Gentrification: using civic engagement to address a social issue

This workshop will explore the ways that gentrification and displacement are being discussed and debated over in our cities and how civic engagement can help address these issues. Gentrification is a complex and controversial topic with many viewpoints on its desirability, impacts, and policy approaches. The session will start with a short roundtable with local leaders from Somerville and then open for sharing and discussion among all the participants.

Penn Loh, Tufts University; Warren Goldstein-Gelb, The Welcome Project; and Ellin Reisner, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Light Fare

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Closing plenary: next steps for the state of the field

Throughout the conference, we’ve been assessing the state of the field, working on language, strategies, and barriers. Though it is clear we have many principles and practices in common, we differ on what we should call this work and where it is headed. In order for “overlapping civic coalitions” to form, the potential partners would have to work through goals, assumptions, and differences.In this session, we will address this topic by playing a version of @Stake, a planning game developed by the Engagement Lab.