Westmont Center for Dialogue & Deliberation Santa Barbara and Beyond
We're committed to our work in Santa Barbara.
We believe that Santa Barbara residents can solve many of the complex problems we face when they choose to collaborate across traditional political and ideological lines. We aim to use and create resources that inclusively capture the concerns and values of those who inhabit our city. We seek to be unbiased in our facilitation of challenging conversations, and to create accessible spaces for such forums.
We learn from and partner with others doing this work across the United States.
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a network in which practitioners can share resources, news, and best practices for leading dialogues and deliberations in their home communities. The National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) and Kettering Foundation, both based in Dayton, Ohio, make it possible for practitioners around the country to deliberate complex problems through issue guides and supplemental materials that they research and produce. Guides published by NIFI and Kettering form the basis for issue guides we've used in public deliberations and in the classroom. We've researched and drafted issue guides tailored to our Santa Barbara community using resources designed by NIFI and Kettering, and our co-founders Dr. Dunn and Dr. Winslow served as Research Exchange Fellows with the Kettering Foundation from 2017-2019. To read more about deliberative forums we've led using issue guides written by NIFI and Kettering, see our "Past Conversations" page. For more information about NIFI and Kettering, follow the links below.
Other centers for dialogue and deliberation based at institutions of higher learning inspire our work. The Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University is a leader in student engagement through deliberative facilitation, encouraging local democracy. Baylor University's Public Deliberation Institute melds faith with deliberation to create issue guides that reflect the concerns of local faith communities. We're proud to be among the colleges and universities using principles of deliberative democracy to draw everyday citizens into conversations and decision-making that reflect what they value. We believe that connections between higher education institutions and the communities they inhabit create avenues for robust community development. See the links below for more information about these initiatives.
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) provides an inclusive space for those seeking to learn more about dialogic and deliberative practices. We have found it valuable to learn from the work and experiences of others engaging in public life and conflict resolution.
The National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) develops quality issue guides and explanatory videos for practitioners to deliberate nuanced issues with policymakers and citizens in their home communities.
The Kettering Foundation is a non-profit research network seeking to answer the question: what does it take to make democracy work as it should? The Kettering Foundation is an ongoing partner with the National Issues Forums Institute, sharing information collected from surveys, interviews, and data collection to craft issue guides.
Colorado State's Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) applies the principles of deliberative decision making in Northern Colorado, equipping students with the skills to facilitate deliberation in open, informative ways. Founder of the CPD Martín Carcasson coined the term "wicked problems" to describe the complex issues facing our communities that often require deliberative techniques amongst everyday citizens as opposed to expert input.
Baylor University's Public Deliberation Initiative combines teaching, research, and service to encourage students, staff, and faculty and local residents to engage in collaborative problem solving and vibrant deliberative democracy.