The Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) is an alliance of leading organizations and scholars working in the field of public engagement, participation, and deliberation. The purpose of the DDC is to build knowledge, strengthen networks, and forge collaborations among researchers, practitioners, funders, and public officials at all levels of government, in order to improve democratic practice and democratic governance. While the DDC’s primary arena of action is in North America, we are part of a global learning community dedicated to the same fundamental values and goals.
Democratic innovations are proliferating rapidly, and many of these practices and structures provide meaningful ways for citizens to learn, deliberate, act, and affect policy decisions. However, this remains a large, diffuse, often disconnected set of people – it is a movement that, at this stage, may be less than the sum of its parts. The DDC is dedicated to connecting these disparate actors in a sustained, purposeful, and collaborative learning community. We are not a professional association, nor are we a network focused primarily on an annual conference; rather, we are a diverse alliance that continually assesses the main challenges and opportunities facing the field, and moves quickly to generate and disseminate critical information, innovations, and tools.
Examples of our recent and ongoing work include:
- Publications such as Public Participation in 21st Century Democracy (Wiley-Blackwell 2015), Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection (PACE 2014), Democracy in Motion (Oxford UP 2012) Using Online Tools to Engage – and be Engaged by – the Public (IBM Center for the Business of Government 2011), Planning for Stronger Local Democracy (National League of Cities 2011), and The Deliberative Democracy Handbook (Jossey-Bass 2005).
- Periodicals such as the Journal of Public Deliberation, a free, online, peer-reviewed publication that has become the leading journal in the field, and is now also supported by the International Association for Public Participation; also the DDC website and a DDC e-bulletin that reports on new resources and developments from around the world.
- Meetings and conferences such as the annual “Frontiers of Democracy” conference (organized in concert with the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts); special Researcher & Practitioner meetings, and sessions at the annual conferences of the National League of Cities (NLC), International City and County Management Association (ICMA), National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), and many other associations.
- Innovations such as Text, Talk, and Act, a nationwide, text-enabled, face-to-face discussion that has engaged thousands of young people in dialogue and action on issues of mental health, as part of President Obama’s National Dialogue on Mental Health.
- Reforms such as the Model Ordinance on Public Participation and Model State Act on Public Participation, created by a working group (coordinated by DDC) that included the International Municipal Lawyers’ Association, American Bar Association, National Civic League, Policy Consensus Initiative, NLC, ICMA, and NCDD.