Clifford Devin Deaton is a Program Associate with the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, and Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Green Team. Clifford has rich experience in research, communications and outreach focused on building resilient and sustainable communities.
Prior to joining CSG, Clifford helped organize community-based coalitions and campaigns in California, Illinois and Washington D.C. – conducting stakeholder interviews, developing testimony for public officials, and crafting short articles and op eds. From 2013 to 2016, while serving as an instructor of political science at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Clifford created an action-research project for students and community leaders exploring the role of art in local economic development in several challenged Chicago neighborhoods. He also organized weekly speaker events and annual conferences while a program assistant at the University of Illinois Institute for Humanities.
In 2019, Clifford became vice president of the governing board at the Alliance for Regional Cooperation, a startup-nonprofit seeking to foster intentional, sustainable and inclusive development in the Mid-Atlantic region. Since 2018, Clifford has served as chair of the Leaders in Energy Circular Economy Working Group, DC’s premier volunteer-led group of professionals working on waste, recycling and sustainability. In 2017, Clifford trained as a placemaking facilitator with the internationally-recognized Pomegranate Center.
A published social science researcher, Clifford holds a B.A from the College of Wooster and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with special focus on social and systems change, policymaking, and economic development. His dissertation research studied the role of public space, visual art and social networks during urban social movements. In his free time, Clifford enjoys playing table-top board games, drinking coffee and home-brewed beer, and spending time with his wife and two cavalier spaniels.