Most Highly Recommended Resources
These resources are recommended highly by NCDD for many reasons. Some are highly regarded by practitioners or scholars. Some have caused a buzz in the field. Some have proven themselves to be highly effective when put into practice. And some are just the best resources of their kind. As these distinctions are highly subjective, we are open to your feedback and ideas for other resources we should recommend.
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The Institute of Cultural Affairs is one of the oldest and largest providers of training in facilitation. Their techniques are known collectively as the Technology of Participation, and they offer an extensive series of courses in the various techniques.
David Schoem and Sylvia Hurtado. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001.
A comprehensive overview of intergroup dialogue which includes 12 in-depth case studies, critical perspectives and the foundation of dialogue in democratic theory. Each of the case studies, which are drawn from leading organizations in the dialogue field, present the program's rationale, an account of its successes, and evaluation data.
Wayne Winborne and Renae Cohen, eds.. The National Conference of Community and Justice, 1998.
Research Perspectives summarizes a cross-section of various social-scientific literatures that have examined intergroup relations: sociology, social psychology, public opinion, and public policy. The editors endeavor to present cutting-edge academic thinking and research to trainers, grassroots activists and organizers, advocacy groups, local human relations commissions, elected officials, and community leaders. In addition, academics are offered a practical understanding of methods practitioners use in their day-to-day activities, which gives them an opportunity to benefit from the experiences and perspectives of those who grapple with intergroup relations every day.
IAP2 is an association of members who seek to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that effect the public interest in nations throughout the world. IAP2 carries out its mission by organizing and conducting activities to: serve the learning needs of members through events, publications, and communication technology; advocating for public participation throughout the world; and providing technical assistance to improve public participation through research and programming.
IAP2 regularly offers four training modules: Foundations of Public Participation, Designing Effective Public Participation Programs, Effective Communications for Public Participation, and Tools & Techniques for Public Participation.
Directed by Harold Saunders and formed in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation, IISD promotes the process of sustained dialogue for transforming racial and ethnic conflicts around the world. Sustained dialogue (SD) is a systematic, interactive, open-ended political process to transform conflictual relationships over time. SD focuses on the dynamics of the relationships that underlie conflict and block its resolution.
International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).
The IJP2 is an online, multi-disciplinary forum for the exchange of information among researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, and citizens about public participation and its impact around the world. It has been created with the specific intention of bridging the arenas of research and practice within the field of public participation.
The widespread use of digital communication devices has created a nation not only clamoring for 15 minutes of fame on national television, but capable of connecting to it. InterAct's mission is to help Americans gain a place among the pundits and politicians who create public policy, using the most powerful medium on earth, broadcast television. The Public Conversations Project partnered with InterAct on RedBlue - an Internet project that gives Americans, whether ?red,? ?blue? or ?purple,? a way to connect, explore differences, and find out what we have in common.
James L. Creighton. National Civic League.
This public participation manual focuses specifically on the community level of public decision making. The author based this comprehensive 'how-to' guide on many years of professional experience designing and implementing public participation programs. Creighton takes the reader from the basics through practical issues such as designing, staffing, and evaluating public participation programs, preparing a public participation plan, and utilizing specific implementation techniques.
A "frame" is a way of understanding or interpreting what is going on and how we should relate to it. How we frame an issue or conflict (or how it is framed for us) has a tremendous impact on what we do about it...
Chris Kelley. Kettering Foundation, 2002.
The Kettering Foundation long ago identified a disconnect between the public and politics. People in communities all over the country felt estranged from their elected representatives, from their public institutions, and most importantly, from each other. A significant portion of this disconnect focused on how issues in communities got named and framed. Kettering surmised, correctly, that if a public issue was named in such a way that the public could not identify with it, then the public would have a difficult time supporting it. However, if the public could identify a public problem together (naming) and then discuss choices on how to solve the particular problem (framing), then the likelihood of greater community action increased ten-fold.
Since 1974, the Jefferson Center has conducted Citizen Juries at the local, state and national levels. In a Citizens Jury, a randomly selected, demographically representative panel of citizens, which serve as a microcosm of the public, meet to carefully examine an issue of public significance. At the end of their moderated hearings, the members present their recommendations to the public. The Citizens Jury process is a comprehensive tool that allows decision makers to hear thoughtful citizen input. Juries have addressed topics including national health care reform, budget priorities, environmental issues and local school district facility needs.
The Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group.
Len and Libby Traubman keep hundreds of people inspired and updated on Jewish-Palestinian dialogue efforts around the world through their e-newsletter and website.
Len and Libby Traubman have been organizing Jewish-Palestinian dialogue in the San Francisco Bay area for over a decade. Their website features a 'how to' page on initiating Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups, as well as many great articles and links. The Traubmans have spawned many similar, yet diverse groups in the Bay area, and their ideas have spread into new cities and campuses.
The principal objective of JPD is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some "deliberative democracy." By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form. The JPD actually has two websites - one for its "academic side" and one for its "practitioner side."
Steve Farkas, Patrick Foley and Ann Duffett. Public Agenda, 2001.
This research study finds that school district leaders say they are eager for public engagement in educational decision making, but the venue they rely on most - the school board meeting - is primarily seen as a vehicle for the most vocal and disgruntled citizens. This 48-page publication is available for $10 through Public Agenda.
The central question behind the foundation's research is currently this: What does it take to make democracy work as it should? The Kettering Foundation produces low-cost publications of interest to dialogue leaders. A few examples are: Making Choices Together: The Power of Public Deliberation; Community Leadership: Community Change through Public Action; and How the Community Works: Officeholder Perspectives on Democratic Self-Government and the Community. The Kettering Foundation spawned the National Issues Forums.
This manual teaches the Conversation Café method in detail. This is the simplest process we know and one that has a proven track record to be easily and reliably adopted by hosts who may have no previous experience - as well as by skilled facilitators. This manual provides a process that will honor LTA principles and enable you to take the conversation from small talk to big talk in a way that allows everyone to feel respected, safe and heard. With a little study and preparation, your conversation can create a positive and empowering experience for all.
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, 2003.
Making it Real offers seven ways for public leaders and organizations to infuse civic engagement practices throughout their public work. The workbook presents stories of success and provides concrete tools and actions to help leaders to tap the talent and energy within a community to bring new life into a community organization; discover common ground among organizations in order to work more effectively together; set ground rules that encourage people to listen as well as engage; ask new questions that create new possibilities, and more.
Marianne "Mille" Bojer, Marianne Knuth, Colleen Magner. Pioneers of Change Associates. Johannesburg, South Africa, 2006.
A number of methods for facilitating face-to-face dialogue have been emerging globally, in particular over the past 20 years. This collection profiles 10 such methods in depth and a number of others more briefly. This research project was commissioned by the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ). It is part of their supporting the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) to explore ways in which dialogue can be used to address social challenges in South Africa.
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