Civic Conversations – CivicCon
Great cities begin with great dialogue. Based on that cornerstone, the goal of CivicCon has been to contribute to creation of an informed community that is engaged in civic conversations.
How It Began
Citizens often complain that government at all levels suffer from lack of transparency and does not eagerly seek public input regarding public policy, development and infrastructure projects. Conversely, governmental officials often feel that proper public notice is provided but, the public doesn’t get involved until the last moment. Solving this disconnect is the driving spirit behind CivicCon.
The Pensacola News Journal and the Studer Community Institute partnered to launch a year-long series of speaker events to address this problem. The first event was in September 2017 and events continued throughout 2018. But because of its popularity with the community, CivicCon continues beyond that one-year project.
By the end of 2020, there had been 37 CivicCon speaker events. Speakers have included some of the nation's leading thinkers and experts on a variety of topics, including fiscally-sound communities, getting parking right, social equity and diversity, infrastructure that connects, historic preservation, the benefits of a walkable and bicycle-friendly community and the topic of civic engagement itself.
Livestream audiences in the latter half of 2020 averaged more than 12,000 views per event. Due to the pandemic in 2020, only one event at a public venue was held. All the other events were on virtual platforms.
Community participation and the enthusiasm of volunteers and attendees has been the power behin CivicCon continuing today. Terry Horne was named the CivicCon Center's first executive director in February 2019. He is joined by Hanna Moore, CivicCon Assistant, in working with community volunteers to stage the speaker events while also finding experts to lead civic engagement courses. CivicCon also is involved in organizing workshops and impact events related to civic engagement with a large group of volunteers who want to make a positive impact on the community.
View a list of all speakers and their topics at the link below.