Placement’s Exploration & Engagement Research Squad


PEERS is Placement’s Exploration and Engagement Research Squad. We are a team of volunteers who celebrate theme camps and collect data to understand how things are going in neighborhoods.

We selected our name deliberately as “peer” means “of equal standing” or “at the same level.” Our volunteers are fellow citizens of Black Rock City who offer their time to spread the joy at theme camps. 


Our volunteers, affectionately called Squaddies, span out across the city, visit every theme camp, tell them how wonderful they are, and ask a few questions to ensure that the Placers were successful in creating neighborhoods that build and preserve our culture. Nobody knows a neighborhood like the people who actually camp there! In rare cases, we refer them to on-playa resources to sort out any issues so everyone can go back to having a great time.

Squaddies work in pairs during a 3-hour shift during the event, Monday through Friday, 8am-10pm. Their role is first and foremost to CELEBRATE the theme camps and their hard work in bringing their vision to life! Squaddies ask a few questions about their placement experience and neighborhood then LISTEN to their responses. Finally, they OBSERVE their camp and take a few photos.

All of the questions are listed and answers gathered on a tablet provided at the start of your shift. And don’t worry…it’s really simple, and we provide training.

Our survey changes from year to year, but some examples from recent years include:

  • How would you rate your location?
  • How would you rate the overall interactivity of your block?
  • What’s one camp in your neighborhood that has great interactivity?


Anyone! It’s a great way for a new Burner to get acquainted with the city, a veteran to explore theme camps they might not otherwise get to, and a theme camp organizer to actually get out of their own camp and visit some others. With more than 1,200 placed theme camps this is a big job that needs a lot of volunteers.

We are looking for volunteers who are: friendly, respectful to everyone, willing to work with others, objective, open-minded and curious, want to have fun and even engage in a little silliness.


Go to your Burner Profile, select “Volunteer” then fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire. Select “Placement’s Exploration and Engagement Research Squad (PEERS)” as the department where you’d like to volunteer. We’ll send you an email with information on next steps which include on-line training on the Burning Man Hive and an optional live zoom session to answer questions.

Training starts in July so there may be a lag between when you volunteer and when things start to happen so practice patience! We are excited that you want to join our team…all of us are volunteers, too, who put a lot of time and effort into PEERS!

You can always send us an email at, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


The data collected is held with the camp’s record and helps the Placers better visualize the neighborhoods they assembled so they can continue to improve their craft. In the rare case there was an issue, the appropriate department follows up on-playa to get it resolved. This could involve Rangers, Camp Support, or Placement.

I have other questions about PEERS. How can I ask them?

Send us an email at and we’ll answer as soon as we can.