$15 – $25

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The American Village

3727 Alabama 119

Montevallo, AL 35115

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The 2017 Civic Institute is your chance to connect with civic-minded change-makers and thought leaders from across Alabama in a dialogue on our state's past, present, and future.

From the morning panel discussion on the "geography of economic prosperity" in rural and urban communities, to the keynote address by Dr. David Mathews, (President and CEO of the Kettering Foundation), the day will be packed with engaging speakers and interactive sessions centered around some of the most profound issues we encounter as Alabamians.

Participants are able to choose among three different learning tracks for the day, including: building civic infrastructure, renewing civic education, and creating civic media (see descriptions below). Each track includes a deliberative forum in the morning, as well as an interactive workshop in the afternoon--all in addition to the panel discussion and keynote address, which will be delivered over lunch!

With our state's bicentennial on the horizon, we believe that the Civic Institute is the perfect event to collectively ponder the power of our citizens and our communities to build the kind of Alabama they want to call home. To this extent, the Civic Institute will serve as the official, statewide launch of the DMC's newest forum series, aptly titled, What's Next, Alabama?

This series is a three-year endeavor, focused on what economic prosperity means in different communities across our state. The series will conclude in 2019, coinciding with Alabama's bicentennial celebrations, and will frame the conversation about our future, even as we celebrate our past.

“Lunch Only” tickets are available for those interested in only attending the luncheon keynote address by Dr. David Mathews.

Please view the workshop descriptions and FAQs below before registering.

Learning Tracks:

Building Civic Infrastructure:

This learning track is tailor-made for those wanting to engage their own communities in dialogue and deliberation around important local issues. The morning forum is an abridged "What's Next, Alabama?" forum, entitled, "The State We're In." This will be a deliberative experience in which participants will ask, "where are we now" as a state? What is the story of Alabama at the start of the 21st century? How far have we come? How far do we have to go? Instead of focusing on the assets and challenges of a single locale, this forum will give participants the opportunity to embrace a statewide perspective in order to reimagine the productive potential of what binds us together collectively, and what sets us apart from each other idiosyncratically.

The afternoon workshop, "Building Civic Infrastructure," will equip participants with the tools necessary to engage their own community in dialogue and deliberation. From naming and framing local issues, to convening and moderating forums, participants will receive a crash course in the building of a meaningful and durable civic infrastructure capable of supporting and sustaining a robust public life for its citizens. The aim of the workshop is to give participants everything they need to bring "What's Next, Alabama?" forums to their own communities.

Creating Civic Media:

This track is ideal for those interested in the fields of media, journalism, art, technology, and public life. To begin, attendees will participate in a group discussion entitled, “Flipping the Script: A Dialogue on Media, Representation, and the Role of Alabama in the National Imagination.” This dialogue is meant to elucidate ideas about the role that our state plays--willingly or unwillingly--on the national stage. We will discuss the production of “Alabama” as an archetype in traditional media and popular culture, before being introduced to emergent forms of media that serve to disrupt the conventional representations of Alabama as a monolith. This dialogue will lead naturally into the afternoon workshop, where participants will get a hands-on primer into actually creating civic media that defies typification and demands nuance.

The afternoon workshop, “Creating Civic Media: Provoking Thought, Inviting Action” is a crash course in solutions-oriented journalism and restorative narratives, aimed at creating connections among citizens and journalists to bridge the gap between statewide or national media outlets and local stories that often go unnoticed. Participants will learn best practices for crafting an op-ed piece for their local newspaper, or for a larger outlet. This workshop will teach participants how to take a local story from abstract idea to published piece. This is your chance to connect with other journalists, writers, and active citizens to tell your community's story, reframe the narrative, and flip the script.

Renewing Civic Education:

This track is perfect for educators, government officials, and anyone else interested in transforming the idea of civic engagement into real action. This learning track begins with a deliberative forum on the state of civic education (and education more broadly) in Alabama. With renewed interest in civic education statewide, this forum will be an opportunity to discuss what civic education could and should look like beyond the classroom. How do we get young people to be active citizens in their own communities? How can we create synergy between the classroom and the community? Is there a curricular way to achieve this, or should we also broaden our own understanding of youth engagement to include students and young people playing an active role in local government? These are some of the questions that will frame the morning discussion.

The afternoon workshop, "Community as Classroom: Equipping Youth for Civic Leadership" will give attendees a chance to connect with--and learn from--local elected officials from all over the state that are breaking new ground when it comes to young people playing an active role in their communities. Participants will hear from local elected officials about how they are working side by side with youth to confront the epidemic of brain-drain, retain the young talent they have in their communities, and propel that next generation into civic leadership roles.



1. Do I have to select a workshop when I register?

Yes. After you click the green "Tickets" button, you will see the learning track options with detailed descriptions. Please select only one learning track per attendee.

2. Can individuals attend more than one workshop?

No. Each learning track consists of two parts with a break in between. Each one takes place at the same time, in different locations, so participants should select only one. When you select a learning track, you'll be prompted to choose how many people you are registering for each learning track. Each registrant will receive an individual ticket for the learning track they are attending. If you are registering more than one person, read on!

Please note: if the $25 attendance fee poses a burden to an individual or organization, there are a limited amount of scholarships available.

3. How can I register my group?

If you are registering a total of three or more people to attend the day-long event, you are eligible to save $10 per person! Simply email DMC Program Director Rebecca Cleveland: rcleveland@mathewscenter.org. You will receive a unique promotional code and instructions walking you through the rest of the registration process.

4. I'm not familiar with Eventbrite and am having trouble registering. Who can I contact?

If you need some assistance, or have other questions, please contact DMC Program Director Rebecca Cleveland. She can be reached at rcleveland@mathewscenter.org or dial 205-665-9005 ext. 2.


5. What is the refund policy?

Refunds are available through August 4th.

6. I need to pay by check. Are there any special instructions I should follow?

Yes. Mailing us a check is an acceptable alternative to paying with a credit card. However, you must still register online. When you get to the payment options, simply select "check," and then you'll see instructions for completing the pay by check process.

Please note that we cannot accept cash payments. If you will need any additional documentation for your records, just let us know as soon as you can!


7. I'm traveling and will need to spend a night in the Montevallo area. What kind of accommodations are there?

For those interested in booking a hotel room, we've set up a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn in Calera (a ten-minute drive from the American Village). The hotel is located at 93 Metro Drive, Calera, AL 35040. To reserve via telephone, simply call the Hampton Inn in Calera at 205-668-6565 and request a room in the "DMC Civic Institute" block. Book by midnight on August 2 to take advantage of the special group rate of $99 per night.

8. What kind of parking is available?

There is ample parking at the American Village. Simply follow the signs that say "Civic Institute Parking." Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Liberty Hall, which is Building B on this American Village map.

For participants needing assistance getting to and from buildings, we will have a limited shuttle service available.

9. Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?


10. What if I have dietary restrictions?

After you purchase your tickets and enter your personal information, you are able to indicate any dietary restrictions.

11. What is the dress code?

The dress code is business casual.

  • Dr. David Mathews

    Dr. David Mathews

    The Kettering Foundation

    President & CEO

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The American Village

3727 Alabama 119

Montevallo, AL 35115

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