The 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation
NCDD's high-energy, highly participatory conferences bring together practitioners, scholars, public leaders, trainers, artists, activists, teachers, and students from all of the various streams of practice that exist in this critically important field. Join us in Austin, Texas for our fourth National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, which will take place October 3rd through 5th, 2008 (with pre-conference trainings on the 2nd)!
Why Attend NCDD's biennial national conferences?
Although the approaches, philosophies, venues, and even our purposes for doing this work can be very different, we all share a common vision: a future in which all people--regardless of income, position, background or education--are able to engage regularly in lively, thoughtful, and challenging discussions about what matters to them, in ways that have a positive impact on their lives and their world.
Making this vision a reality is no easy feat. To truly make the impact we believe we can and should have on the world, we must work together rather than just working simultaneously, and we must build on each other's knowledge and expertise rather than starting from scratch in our own silos.
NCDD's biennial conferences provide people who are committed to helping dialogue and deliberation flourish in the world with the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge in these processes, share their own learnings and innovations with others, and develop supportive, collaborative relationships with their peers. Perhaps most importantly, NCDD conferences leave participants feeling more motivated, energized, supported and prepared to do this vital work.
What is an NCDD Conference Actually Like?
NCDD gatherings are not your run-of-the-mill conferences. Instead of parading endless speakers in front of you in the hope that you will absorb some of their knowledge, we acknowledge and tap into every participant's expertise and unique perspectives, and ask you to play an active role in shaping the future of this burgeoning field.
NCDD conferences are highly participatory. We use the plenary sessions (where we're all in one large room) as an opportunity to not only showcase innovative large-group dialogue and deliberation techniques - often blending methods to better meet the group's needs, but also to utilize the wisdom in the room to tackle challenges facing this emerging field. Our concurrent workshops, led by key leaders and innovators in the field, offer participants a smorgasbord of experiences designed to build skills, increase knowledge, broaden awareness and build relationships. And the arts always play an innovative, prominent role in our conferences.
While none of our conferences have been perfect - and we don't expect our next one to be either, our attendees value our willingness to experiment with new things, to involve everyone willing to volunteer some of their time in the planning process, and to respond to conference participants' needs as they arise.
NCDD conferences a chock-full of opportunities to network with your colleagues, experience different group methods first-hand, share learnings, hear from leaders in the field, and explore key issues facing our field. Some people have told us that they've never attended better conferences. Here is what Dave Joseph, Director of Project Development at the Public Conversations Project, wrote to us after he attended the 2006 NCDD conference:
"I have gone to many, many, many conferences, workshops etc. over the past 30 years. Typically it's 2 90-minute workshops before lunch, 3 after lunch, and you're lucky if you happen to know people who are coming to the conference, because it's hard to get to meet people otherwise. NCDD was by far the best conference I have ever attended. It was 100% isomorphic and congruent with our practices, with a focus on developing a sense of relationship, connection and community. The activities all contributed to making it extremely easy for participants to get to know each other by focusing on shared purposes, interests and goals. Plus, you had a wonderful mix of people, of course. The structure really contributed greatly to getting to meet a large number of very diverse people and have fun doing it."
And Avril Orloff, Project Manager for Canada's Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship, had these kind words for us:
"I'm still coming back to earth after the amazing NCDD conference! It was packed so full of wonderful information, ideas, resources and people that I came away utterly inspired and energized. My heartiest congratulations to your team for pulling it off.What a monumental effort - and what tremendous results! Thank you for every minute.... You've created something that's going to leave a big legacy, and whose effects will just keep rippling further and further out into the world. To say nothing of a great community of practice - one that I'm honoured to associate myself with."
To get a better sense of what the 2006 NCDD conference was like, we encourage you to do one or more of the following:
- look over the conference blog
- look over the photos taken by conference participants
- download the 2006 conference handbook, which provides descriptions of the plenary sessions and all workshops (this is a 1.5mb .pdf file)
- take a minute to watch our conference video
- and look over some comments people made about all of our past conferences
About Austin, Texas
We're excited to be having our next conference in Austin - a fantastic city with an active network of dialogue and deliberation practitioners. Austin is a hip and trendy city, yet in a vintage sort of way. It's high-tech and laid-back. It's politically charged and culturally rich. It's eclectic by nature and creative by design.
Considered "The Live Music Capital of The World," Austin is where cutting-edge technology resides with artists, musicians, and filmmakers. It is home to the South By Southwest Music and Media Festival, lush greenbelt trails, and North America's largest urban bat colony.
Austin is located deep in the heart of Texas, about 160 miles west of Houston, 80 miles northeast of San Antonio, and 200 miles south of Dallas. Austin is the state capital of Texas, and it is home to the University of Texas at Austin and the President Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Center.
About the Renaissance Austin Hotel
Experience an authentic luxury hotel in Austin featuring the distinct style and diverse personality of the Lone Star State at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Nestled in the picturesque hills of Texas Hill Country, this Austin Arboretum Hotel provides a tranquil environment surrounded by nature trails, sophisticated boutiques, and a variety of restaurants. From the dramatic nine-story atrium to the stylish, oversized rooms, this newly renovated Austin, Texas hotel features luxurious accommodations and an abundance of upscale amenities.
The 60,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space combines modern technology with personalized service in a unique environment. Enjoy close proximity to Downtown, University of Texas, Sixth Street, as well as Austin Bergstrom International Airport. This distinctly Austin, TX hotel offers a luxurious, eclectic experience.
Most importantly, NCDD negotiated a great $149/night room rate with the Renaissance Austin (the rate is normally close to $300). Plus parking on site is free if you park yourself (valet parking is $14/day).
The hotel address is 9721 Arboretum Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78759. Their phone number is 1-512-343-2626 (be sure to get the "NCDD" group discount). You can learn more about the hotel at www.renaissanceaustin.com.