Democracy in Motion, research on benefits of engagement, new and reborn training programs, reactions to Newtown, JPD, PB, Catalyst Awards, “citizen news,” 6 models of digital impact, 8 pans of lasagne, and much more…

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Dear Friends of the DDC:
Here are the latest updates from the DDC - you can receive these regularly by liking, following @mattleighninger, or linking with me on LinkedIn -
Matt Leighninger

Announcing Democracy in Motion, a DDC production – The book is the first comprehensive attempt to assess the practice and impact of deliberative civic engagement, addressing the big questions facing the field. The idea for the book first emerged at a DDC Researcher and Practitioner meeting several years ago. We decided to create an edited volume produced and supported by a collaborative of academics, practitioners, and students (like the DDC itself!). Edited by Tina Nabatchi, John Gastil, Matt Leighninger, and Mike Weiksner, Democracy in Motion uses theory, research, and practice from around the world to explore what we know about public deliberation, how we know it, and what remains to be understood.
Benefits of engagement include increased tax revenue, efficiency, and trust, says Tiago Peixoto in his review of the evidence –
Six ways in which digital technologies might affect democratic politics – – from Archon Fung, Hollie Gilman, and Jen Shkbatur at the Kennedy School.
The training program on Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement – that helped produce many engagement leaders has been revived through a partnership between the founding faculty and the Institute on Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State. The move reunites DDPE faculty members such as Jan Elliott, Hal Saunders, Keith Melville, Phil Stewart, John Dedrick and Lyn Carson. The next program of online courses and face-to-face workshops will begin in March 2013.
Arizona State has launched a new graduate certificate program in Participatory Governance – the first of its kind in the world. Under the leadership of Daniel Schugurensky at ASU’s School of Public Affairs, the program will provide students with the knowledge and skills to develop, implement and evaluate participatory governance and public engagement. Students will examine the main theories and research findings on participatory governance and public engagement, and familiarize themselves with past and current democratic innovations in the USA and around the world. Students will also acquire the capacity to design, carry out and examine processes of participatory governance and public engagement. The certificate can be pursued as a specialization within an existing ASU graduate program, or as a stand-alone, 15-credit-hour program.
The response to the Newtown tragedy “needs to address more than guns and extra bullet capacity,” says Harry Boyte in the New York Times – “We need a broad citizen movement if we are to reweave the social fabric.”
Peter Levine offers four key points on Newtown – 1) Everything should be on the table, certainly including gun control. 2) We should define the problem broadly and with analytic clarity, not being driven by Newtown or any other notorious case alone. 3) We should think about much more than governmental policies and the kinds of causes that governments can address. 4) How to define the topic or set the frame of the discussion is a difficult question.
On issues ranging from gun control to the fiscal cliff, we need deliberative processes to move forward, argues John Gastil. “Across the globe, democratic reformers have experimented with processes that gather talk through issues together...Such processes have proved that citizens can work through complex information and value tradeoffs to render sensible and balanced judgments. Those who have been through such experiences often come to ask of their government not specific policies but a more deliberative politics. Unfortunately, those particular demands remain unmet.”
The Journal of Public Deliberation is now easier to access and search – In the future, this portal will also be linked to other resources related to participation. JPD is produced through a partnership between DDC, IAP2, and the Institute for Civil Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State.
What happened this year in the world of Participatory Budgeting? The PB Project offers a summary.
There is a national discussion going on about how engagement practitioners can respond to the Newtown tragedy, hosted by NCDD at  
You can help shape the proposals for the NCDD Catalyst Awards at There are 23 proposals in the running; through the work of CivicEvolution, you can participate by suggesting ideas, commenting, rating, helping to theme ideas into coherent plans, and endorsing proposals.
Materials and video from the recent Redesigning Democracy Summit – are now available. The event was hosted by the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State.
Join this Thursday, December 13 at 9 PM EST to make your own #CivicResolutions
What conclusions do citizens draw when they deliberate on the thorny problem of the national debt? The 2012 National Issues Forums report gives the details.
The Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges – – has concluded its discussions, and will soon release recommendations. The deliberations were produced by the Alberta Climate Dialogue (ABCD), in partnership with the City of Edmonton’s Office of Environment and the Centre for Public Involvement (CPI). The Citizen’s Panel handbook and discussion paper are available on the site.
Sociologist Herbert Gans calls for “Citizen News” – – to both revitalize journalism and support new forms of engagement.
Connected Citizens Detroit: A Snapshot of Civic Engagement features 7 insights on bringing communities together around important issues – “While the goals of community engagement may be high-minded and serious, the road there may be motivated by joyfulness and fun,” argues the report.
Application deadline for the Taylor Willingham Legacy Fund has been extended to 12/31 –
Dealing with challenges to public engagement, legal aspects of social media, and sustainability are among many topics – – in the Institute for Local Government’s public engagement newsletter
IAP2 USA’s Larry Schooler offers some specific ways in which President Obama can follow through on his language about “self-government” –
President Obama now “faces an electorate that demands to be heard – – and a bureaucracy that has already taken the initial steps to listen,” writes Gadi Ben-Yehuda in “Participation in an Age of Social Media.”
Statewide forums, a teacher’s institute on deliberation in the classroom, and other activities of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life:
The Center for Collaborative Policy in Sacramento is recruiting for a Senior Mediator/Facilitator to be based at the Center.
The Australian Study Circles Network whips up an instant think tank, along with workshops, conferences, film nights, and other activities –
“Research shows that the best decisions are made when ‘real people’ and experts work together,” writes Cindy Gibson – in an essay that critiques Big Data and suggests meaningful ways for organizations and communities to analyze impact.
The City of San Francisco has launched a pilot participatory budgeting process – – that will allow residents to decide directly how to spend $100,000 in discretionary funding.
AmericaSpeaks is hiring a new director of digital engagement –
Is public engagement the key to avoiding the fiscal cliff? Bill Barnes makes the argument for this “serious and realistic tactic” “Elected and appointed public officials and other leaders [should] encourage public conversation that isolates the extreme purists and makes it more feasible for [Congress] to do a decent deal.”
Latest newsletter of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network includes info on the SDCN spring conference – – along with humorous tips on how to keep the peace at Thanksgiving dinner (post-election).
The World Bank invested $85 billion over the past decade on community-driven development. What are the results? One lesson is that ‘bottom-up’ participation doesn’t emerge organically, but must be carefully structured and supported. ““Genuine efforts at inducing civic engagement require a sustained long-term commitment and a clear understanding of the social and political forces at all levels of society,” says Ghazala Mansuri, co-author of the Localizing Development report. “Building dams, bridges, roads, and even schools and clinics is much easier than changing social and political systems.”
One journalist describes her transition from TV news to civic engagement – and why she considers her new job a new and exciting form of journalism
A number of champions of Participatory Budgeting ran for election or reelection in November. How did they do?
The Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts has begun a search for their next dean –
The power of neighborhood online forums: 8 pans of lasagne in 1 hour A Minneapolis woman posted an appeal to her neighbors on an online forum: “I have 8 pans of lasagna for a dear friend’s memorial service today, and realized my oven is too small to cook all of them in time for the service today. If you are home today and could offer some oven space, I would sincerely appreciate it!” An hour later, all 8 pans of lasagne had found ovens.
“The People’s Budget” provides an in-depth look at the participatory budgeting process kicking off in Vallejo, California.
Public Agenda summarizes their research on community engagement and school transformation
The Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation is kicking off a “Big Questions” series – – of webinars and face-to-face events.
In a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed – Gastil contrasts the election campaign with examples of public deliberation like the Oregon Citizen’s Initiative Review. “By talking and working together, it’s possible to not merely judge victors, but to render meaningful judgments.”
The Orton Family Foundation is looking for a year-long graduate Fellow – – to help develop the CommunityMatters programs as well as other foundation initiatives.
Outcomes are emerging from the Strong Starts for Children engagement projects in New Mexico – – which is assisted by a partnership between Everyday Democracy and the Kellogg Foundation
The new blog of the California Civic Innovation Project – is a resource for local government employees, participation practitioners, and other civic innovators.
The Davenport Institute in California announces the recipients of its 2012 Public Engagement Grant program –
Jim Snider gives us an assessment of the first year of the White House “We the People” petition site. “The Obama administration has used its online petition system to send the popular message that it wants to strengthen American democracy by making itself more democratically accountable. Unfortunately, the system it has developed is more of a political gimmick than a serious attempt to revitalize the role of the petition in American democracy. Technically, the problems are easy to solve; politically, not so.”
Janice Thomson reports on attempts to “envision civic infrastructure” at the NCDD conference, on behalf of her former organization, Involve
The second year of participatory budgeting in New York City is now underway in several city council districts –
Job opening for a post-doctoral fellow to work on – position to be based at UBC in Vancouver, working with Mark Warren to advance the world’s leading repository of democratic innovations.

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