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Discussion Starters

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20,000 Dialogues Great for Beginners

20,000 Dialogues is a nationwide campaign to bring people of different faiths together using films about Muslims to stimulate discussion and promote understanding. It brings the concept of interfaith dialogue into the hands of ordinary people who want to make a positive difference. 20,000 Dialogues is a Unity Production Foundation (UPF) project in cooperation with Connecting Cultures, LLC.

Resource Link: http://www.20000dialogues.org

A Model for an Introductory Dialogue on Abortion Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Public Conversations Project.

The model described here was developed for the single session introductory dialogues on abortion that Public Conversations Project conducted in 1990-1992 (eighteen sessions) and 1995-1998 (ten sessions). Most of these dialogues took place on weekday evenings between 6:00 and 9:30 and involved four to eight participants who did not know one another ahead of time. Several participants were activists but few were highly visible leaders. All groups were evenly balanced with people who described themselves as “prochoice” or “prolife.”

Action Dialogues: Meaningful Conversations to Accelerate Change

Debbe Kennedy, Global Dialogue Center. Berrett-Koehler Press, 2000.

Meant to be used as a part of Debbe Kennedy's Diversity Breakthrough! Strategic Action series, this is a simple pack of 52 glossy cards, each isolating specific roadblocks that organizations commonly face when looking to launch a diversity initiative. The first, for example, reads, 'Our leadership team does not reflect our stated commitment to inclusion.' Another reads, 'Resistance to change keeps diversity out of reach.'

Active Voice

Active Voice is a nonprofit, fee-based service provider whose work is an outgrowth of promising practices developed by the Television Race Initiative (TRI). Active Voice creates campaigns based on powerful issue-driven films. AV campaigns encourage individuals and community groups to probe, discuss and take action on timely and relevant social justice issues. In collaboration with a wide range of partners, Active Voice creates companion materials and trains facilitators in how to use the films as catalysts for civic engagement, volunteerism and coalition building.

Resource Link: http://www.activevoice.net

American Documentary, Inc.

American Documentary, Inc. builds new audiences, educates viewers, and fosters sustained public discourse and activity around the contemporary social issues raised by P.O.V. (Point of View) documentary programming. Their film Girls Like Us, for example, used broadcast media to encourage adults to become aware of the issues affecting the young women in their lives.

Resource Link: http://amdoc.org

American Repertory Theater

Located at Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) is the Boston area's Tony-award winning professional theater. One of ART's performances, called Children of Herakles, was designed to build people's awareness of the immigration issues that refugees face. Elements of the performance included live testimonials by refugees. Panels on refugee issues were held, as well as pre- and post-performance discussions.

Resource Link: http://amrep.org

Anna Scheleit, Artist

Anna Scheleit's public art piece "The State Hospital: In Memoriam" promoted civic dialogue about the mental health system in America through Habeas Corpus, a one time site-specific sound installation of J.S. Bach's Magnificat, making the abandoned building "sing in memory of the thousands of individuals whose lives were affected by the institution."

Resource Link: http://www.1856.org

At Issue: Marriage. Exploring the Debate Over Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), 2003.

This resource offers educators six lesson plans for high school aged students that challenges them to explore the range of complex issues reflected in the marriage debate. The resource was developed at the time when the U.S. was awaiting the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court on the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage.

Resource Link: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/educator/library/record/1411.html

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is a multicultural company committed to performing innovative, collaborative works of dance-theater. The Company has distinguished itself through its teaching and performing in various universities, festivals and under the aegis of government agencies such as the US Information Agency (in Eastern Europe, Asia and South East Asia). Audiences of approximately 50,000 to 100,000 annually see the Company across the country and around the world.

Resource Link: http://www.billtjones.org

Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra

The Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra's Klinghoffer Dialogue Project used opera to engage the people of Brooklyn in dialogue on the effects of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians on their community.

Resource Link: http://www.brooklynphilharmonic.org

Building a More United America: Final Report of the Uniting America Series

The American Assembly, 2002.

This report provides a summary of the four-year series of national Assemblies in the Uniting America series, and is designed to catalyze a national dialogue on ways to help reverse some of the most divisive forces within American society. The Uniting America series was created to deal with some of the most divisive tensions in our society and move us toward a more united America. Since the horrors of September 11, 2001, our purpose has become even more significant, as many underlying tensions within our society have become obscured by a sense of national unity. As a companion to this report, we have written a manual that offers suggestions for organizing community dialogues.

Resource Link: http://www.americanassembly.org

Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center

The Cambridge Multicultural Art Center (CMAC) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1978 as an arts center focused on helping diverse populations better understand one another. Our mission is to present visual and performing arts programs to educate the community about diversity, and make our facility available to artists or groups that might not otherwise have access to a professionally equipped facility or the cultural mainstream.

Resource Link: http://www.cmacusa.org

CEC Artslink

CEC ArtsLink is an international arts service organization. Our programs support exchange of artists and cultural managers in the United States with their counterparts in Central Europe, Russia and Eurasia.

Resource Link: http://www.cecartslink.org

Center for Digital Storytelling

The Center for Digital Storytelling is a California-based non-profit arts organization rooted in the art of personal storytelling. We assist young people and adults in using the tools of digital media to craft, record, share, and value the stories of individuals and communities, in ways that improve all our lives. Digital stories serve as touchstones to dialogue.

Resource Link: http://storycenter.org

Chicago Public Art Group

CPAG unites communities and artists in creating high quality public art. They produce mosaics, murals, sculptures, seating installations, banners, and space designs. Their skilled, professional artists specialize in collaborating with community participants to make delightful, meaningful, permanent, and safe public artworks.

Resource Link: http://www.cpag.net

City Scan

City Scan works with residents in urban areas to identify, prioritize and resolve neighborhood problems. City Scan has been working with neighborhood groups in four Connecticut cities to identify problems that city government can fix -- abandoned cars, vacant buildings, potholes, graffiti, and litter. We train youth or adult volunteers to use handheld computers, digital cameras, and GIS mapping software to inventory these street-level conditions.

Resource Link: http://www.city-scan.com

City Voices, Children's Needs

The National League of Cities.

Describes widespread concerns about the quality of schools, violence by and among young people, and inadequate opportunities for youth to become engaged in constructive activities during non-school hours.

Resource Link: http://www.nlc.org

Common Ground: The Future of Iowa

The Wallace Foundation's project 'Common Ground: The Future of Iowa - Convening Community Dialogue to Build a Shared Vision of a Sustainable Future' used the play American Dreamer as a catalyst to engage citizens in discussions about pressing issues of developing a vision of a sustainable future. As the project progressed, displays were produced to summarize the process and the outcomes in each county. Photographers were hired to help portray the land, people, and attractions; writers provided their perceptions of each county, a 15-minute documentary was created as a summary of the project.

Resource Link: http://www.wallace.org

Community Public Art Guide: Making Murals, Mosaics, Sculptures, and Spaces Highly Recommended

Olivia Gude, Editor. Chicago Public Art Group.

The Chicago Public Art Group claims that their web-based Public Art Guide is the most comprehensive manual for making public artworks through collaboration with community that has ever been produced. The website represents the collective experience of dozens of dedicated community public artists, working on hundreds of projects, with thousands of participants.

Resource Link: http://www.cpag.net/guide/index.htm

Dance Umbrella

Dance Umbrella believes that dance helps describe, define, and deepen our experience of living. For us, dance is a kinetic form of communication, which includes all forms of movement and physical expression. Dance Umbrella's mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice and performance of dance. With the goal of expanding audiences and support for dance, Dance Umbrella works to encourage innovative and meaningful communication between artists and the entire community.

Resource Link: http://www.danceumbrella.com

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