Theme Camp Symposium


This year’s Theme Camp Symposium was held virtually on Saturday, March 28! As we all adjust to social distancing to end this pandemic, we produced the Symposium to bring our community together to share important updates, learn from one another, and to connect in this uncertain time.

Burning Man is not just a week in the desert. Burning Man is a year-round global community made up of the most innovative thinkers, doers, dreamers, and makers. This new challenge requires us to work together to solve formidable problems. Burners are good at that. Please read the Burning Man Project Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the latest information on how we are addressing its impacts on our community and event.

Symposium Videos


Panel: Camps in a Time of Social Distancing

2030 Environmental Sustainability Roadmap

Cultural Direction Setting (CDS) Project Update (slide deck)

CDS: Revised Camp Placement Criteria & Draft System Improvements

Camp Advisory & Mentorship Program (CAMP) announcement

CDS: PAYticipation, Paying People, & Convenience Camps

Third Annual Camp Frontage Slideshow (slide deck)

2020 Empyrean Temple: How camps can participate in time of COVID

Breakout Session Videos


Take Your Camp’s Work Out into the World

Ever dream about how much what you do at the Burn would benefit the rest of the world? Or that your work in the world needs to flow to the Burn? Our panel of people working to make a difference will talk about how they made the transition, what they’re doing, and how you may be able to do something similar. We’ll also have representatives from the Cultural Direction Setting group focused on ‘Camp Citizenship Beyond the Trash Fence’ share what they’re working on.

Managing Uncertainty: Tickets, Dues, Deposits, and Projects

Unofficial round table discussion on how to prepare camps for Burning Man 2020 and beyond when we don’t know yet whether or not Burning Man will happen this year. Ticket buying strategies, communicating with campmates, managing service providers and reservations, and how to advance camp projects remotely will be discussed, all with an emphasis on keeping camps healthy, active, connected, and financially solvent. This is a peer-led discussion without involvement from the Burning Man Project. This breakout session was held twice.

HELP! Did the world (and also sometimes Burning Man) just go sideways?

When help is needed, or how to be the needed help. This session was originally about BRC, our conversation will expand beyond of how we can support each other with the state of the world. Meet the playa support superheroes:

Putting the ‘Cult’ in Acculturation

Zendo Project, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) & Rangers

Getting Sustainably L.A.I.D.: Logistics, Assets, camp Infrastructure and Delegation for sustainable Theme Camps

A panel on strategies of how to transition your camp to being more sustainable. Learn best practices for theme camps, villages, art projects and individual campers. Information on designing, building and operating sustainable camp infrastructure. Examples of how to integrate solutions for solar, energy storage, solar shade, water, cooling, water, and compost systems. Resources on creating micro-grids, energy analysis and how to step-by-step plan for your camp to join the goal for a 100% sustainable Burning Man.

CDS: Revised Criteria 2020 & Draft System Improvements

Cultural Direction Setting – Join us to ask questions and discuss the 2020 revised Camp Placement Criteria (please check this link on March 26 for update). Discuss the cultural implications of draft changes to the system that were shared during the plenary.

CDS: PAYticipation, Paying People, & Convenience Camps

Cultural Direction Setting – Join us to ask questions and discuss the new information on PAYticipation, Paying People, and the ‘Culture & Values’ section of the Camp Placement Criteria (please check this link on March 26 for update). We’ll also share the draft of our approach and process for how camps struggling with issues around the culture will be supported as well as held accountable going forward.

CDS: Tickets for Camps in 2020 and Beyond

Cultural Direction Setting – Join us to learn about the journey to the 2020 DGS changes for Theme Camps and Villages and hear about our draft plans for how camp-related ticketing may work for 2021 and beyond. We’ll answer questions and listen to feedback.

CDS: Strengthening Our Neighborhoods (Including Support Camps!)

Cultural Direction Setting – We will be sharing what we mean by Strengthening our Neighborhoods and some of the camp led ideas we have to do that. We will also receive an update about CDS Group #3 Support Camps work and plans for 2021, so please join us Art Support, Mutant Vehicle, and Work Support Camps! There will be a short presentation with ample time to ask questions and small groups to share ideas with each other.

How to Shine at BRC without Glitter: OSS & EIS Updates

Update, deeper understanding + Q&A with President (Burning Man Outside Services Manager) & Emma Weisman, J.D.: (Assoc Dir. of Ops for BWB and Civic Activation, formerly Government Agency Relations Manager.) Discussion on, 1) OSS updates, what’s new for 2020 and evolving. 2) EIS Update – the good, and the bad 3) How BLM will be managing our permit going forward 4) Some issues that are high on BLM’s target list, and things that we have to ask camps to be mindful of.

Ask a Placer

Not just one Placer, but multiple Placers! It’s a Q&A to ask all your Placement questions and tips about completing the Placement Questionnaire.

Provide Feedback!

We want to improve the virtual conference format for future convenings and learning experiences. Click here to access the Feedack Form.



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The Theme Camp Symposium was organized by Burning Man’s Camp Support Team