Network Growth in 2013
2013 saw growth in both Network staff and our global Regional Contacts (RCs). Over 30 new Regional Contacts joined our ranks in new locations across the world including Brazil, South Korea, Argentina, Austria, Russia, Latvia, Greece, Russia, Yellowknife (Canada) and new RCs joining existing regional teams in Chicago, New Orleans, Santa Cruz, Southern Ohio, Connecticut, Boston, Upstate New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and other US regions. International interest continues to grow as Burners from Dubai, Mexico, the Yucatan, Columbia, Chile, Turkey, Malaysia and Vietnam have reached out to express their interest in representing Burning Man in their home countries.
In response to the growing interest in Burning Man culture across the world, we also expanded our Regional Network team to include a new Regional Network Coordinator and a Network Consultant. Along with the Regional Network Manager and our Special Events Manager, the full Regionals Committee met weekly in 2013 to respond to the growing needs of the international network.As our network of RCs continues to grow by leaps and bounds, so too does our Burner social calendar. In 2013, we saw a great increase in official regional events, with Burning Man Decompressions springing up in new places like Russia. Week- and weekend-long regional campouts continue to thrive across the United States and Canada, South Africa, and in many countries in Europe. And, with such a continuing increase in interest from South America, the Middle East and Asia, we know we’ll see a wealth of exciting art projects, events and civic work continue to crop up in communities across the world.
Global Leadership Conference (GLC)
Our seventh Global Leadership Conference, an annual gathering of Regional Network leadership from across the world, was a reflection of the greater trend towards the global growth of Burning Man culture. This year we met in Oakland, CA, supporting their revitalized downtown and local artistic scene. The theme for the 2013 GLC was “From Regional Network to Global Network” and appropriately we had leaders from 15 countries participate.In total, the 2014 GLC hosted almost 280 participants, presenters and staff, and the three-day schedule included workshops on volunteerism, organizational development, public relations, social networking, fundraising, transformative leadership, civic engagement, meeting facilitation, event production, conflict resolution and more.
Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey delivered an inspiring keynote address about the future of Burning Man and the Regional Network’s role in bringing the ethos of Burning Man out into the world. The new Burning Man documentary “Spark” held its California premier with Q&A from the director and Burning Man Project founders.
The GLC would not be possible each year without our dedicated Bay Area Burning Man staff and volunteers, who ensured that our visiting attendees felt welcomed and engaged. Local Burners opened up their homes to our visitors and local staff members and collaborating organization leads contributed valuable content.
Again at Burning Man 2013, the Regional Network joined forces with Burners Without Borders, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar and the Burning Man Project to form the “Everywhere Pavilion”. Located on the Esplanade near Center Camp, the Everywhere Pavilion is a place where participants can learn about Burning Man’s affiliated outreach groups and find ways to connect with Burners in their hometowns.In addition to many meetings with local communities throughout the week, many networking events were hosted at Everywhere, including the annual Regional Network Mixer. For the first year, Regional Network committee members and Meta-Regionals hosted open office hours at the Everywhere Pavilion, where any leader could visit for support and consultation.
Since its formation in 2010, our Meta-Regional Committee has been increasingly involved in helping to shape the development of the Burning Man Project and the Regional Network. Through monthly phone meetings, in-person sessions, and a Retreat in early 2013, the Meta Team has worked together to advise Burning Man on best practices for the Regional Network, to work with the Burning Man Project on plans for sustainable collaborations between the organization and the larger network of related groups, and to provide mentorship and conflict resolution support for Regional groups.In January, the Meta-Regionals Committee met for a three-day retreat. Time was spent on long term visioning, potential future states of the Network, and together we developed the 2013 Global Leadership Conference (GLC) tracks and initial course outlines. We met in-person again one day prior to the GLC at BMHQ to help prepare for the conference and draft the annual Meta GLC presentation.
Throughout our monthly one-hour conference calls we addressed topics ranging from conflict management to mentorship, RC removal and accounting. Our meetings in April were focused on GLC development, and we kicked-off an effort this December to bring new membership to the committee at the GLC in April, 2014.
The Meta-Regionals collectively developed two community resources in 2013, a set of accounting best practices and an RC Checklist to keep our leaders on track with their network-related responsibilities. Our Best Practices for Community Fund Management was developed together by the Meta and Regionals Committees. It was born out of a conflict management effort where a strong need for guidance around community spending was identified.
2013 Circle of Regional Effigies
The 2013 Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) was made up of 24 wooden effigies created by Burning Man Regional groups from around the world and placed around the Man in Black Rock City. Guided by the Ten Principles, CORE teams worked together throughout the Spring and Summer to create art pieces that celebrated their Regional identities and showcased the collaborative artistic efforts of their community members. Participating groups included Israel, the Netherlands, Reno, China/Taiwan, Maui, France and Indiana.The CORE Project has served for the past three years as a strong galvanizing force within the Regional Network. We’ve seen wonderful collaborations between groups who’ve decided to pool resources, expertise and manpower to see their projects through to completion. We’ve also seen groups gain momentum and notoriety on a local level through the experience of working together, fundraising, and learning how to tell the story of their projects and their journey to Black Rock City.
The Regionals Team hosted a grand Tour de CORE event on Monday evening at Burning Man. Effigy teams were on hand to greet participants, answer questions about their projects, serve up tasty snacks, and showcase their local performers. The CORE Project culminated in a coordinated burn event on Thursday night, which was a fitting celebration of our culture’s fertile evolution far beyond the bounds of Black Rock City.
There are now more than 220 Regional Contacts in the Burning Man Regional Network, serving communities that span 28 countries and five continents. We look forward to continuing to nurture year-round community and participation in 2014 by connecting Regional Contacts and community leaders with the resources, tools, and expertise they need, and by continuing to connect them with our staff and with one another.