Regional Network Forum – 2021

The Burning Man Regional Network plays a key role in the year-round extension of the Burning Man experience, supporting it as a global cultural movement. In cities around the world, Regional Contacts help local Burners connect with each other, while bringing Burning Man principles and culture into their local communities through events and activities, year-round.

In June 2021, the Burning Man Regional Network Forum: Emerging, Wayfinding, Igniting was held as an online regathering for all community leaders across the globe to re-inspire engagement in Burning Man culture beyond Black Rock City and strengthen the cultural connections between regional communities after a year of cancelled Regional Events, prototyping COVID-safe interactive art experiences, and pandemic-related isolation. 

Please enjoy the knowledge and ideas shared in the recorded forum sessions below. Consider making a donation to Burning Man Project to support our mission of bringing the culture of Burning Man into the world.

Regional Network Forum Opening Plenary

Jurgis Didžiulis kicks off the forum with an invigorating musical performance as our communities emerge from a year of pandemic-related distancing and cancelled Regional Events. Burning Man Head of Regional Network, Iris Yee, offers a look back at the creative ingenuity of Burners over the last year of great challenges. Burning Man Arts Project Manager, Kye Horton, also shares opportunities to support art in communities around the world. Keep an eye out for an unexpected bunny appearance!

Where We Have Come From: S.M.A.R.T.

Burning Man Regional Contact in Seattle, Tara Fischer (“Mockingbird”), shares an ingenious way Seattle Burners turned lemons into lemonade and created the Seattle Multiverse Actual Reality Trek (S.M.A.R.T.) during 2020 Black Rock City Burn Week. 

Where We Have Come From: Afrikaburn

Monique Scheiss, Burning Man Regional Contact in Cape Town, South Africa and founding member of Afrikaburn shares how a gap year in the production of the Afrikaburn Regional Event presented an opportunity to focus on the environmental stewardship of Quaggafontein, the new land gifted to Afrikaburn. The Eco Trip offered a chance to accelerate eco-restoration techniques and systems.

Where We Have Come From: Taiwan’s Turtle Burn

Burning Man Regional Contact in Taiwan, Dale Albanese, shares highlights from Taiwan’s Burning Man community and its official Regional Event, Turtle Burn, held in April 2020.

Where We Have Come From: Japan’s Kairan Burn

Burning Man Regional Contact in Japan, Makiko “Makibee” Oshita, describes how Japan Burners stayed connected with a relay of cardboard Man effigies and handmade gifts through the postal mail, culminating in three online mini-Man burns, and shares plans for the 2021 Burning Japan regional event.

Where Are We Going: What Does it Mean to Be a Burner in 2021?

David Koren (“not that Dave”), Executive Producer and Executive Director of FIGMENT, hosts a discussion about what it means to be a Burner in 2021 with Burners, Marlon Williams, former Assistant Director, Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; Monique Schiess, founding member of Afrikaburn and a Burning Man Regional Contact in Cape Town, South Africa; Kevin “StuntHubbie” Rowell, disaster relief and recovery worker; Athena Demos, former Regional Contact in Los Angeles and founding member of BRCvr; and Marty Bortz, Common Arts Victoria Secretary and Director. 

Cultural Mutation: Harmful or Renewing?

$teven Ra$pa, Associate Director of Community Events at Burning Man Project, hosts a discussion with Diana Monsberger, The Borderland Board Chair; Katherine Hagg (“MokKa”), Burner Embassy Berlin Co-Founder; and Colette Crespin, Director of Virtual Experiences and Kindling at Burning Man Project about how to healthily scale the Burning Man culture, inviting positive mutations of it as it moves and deeper into daily life, without diluting the culture so much that it no longer reflects the culture. 

Learning from Codes of Conduct and Consent Committees

Tiya Coleman, Regional Contact in Las Vegas and Meta Regional Committee member hosts Geraldine Bonnard (“KreveTTe”), Nowhere Consent Lead; Corprew Reed (“Zeitgeist”), Black Rock Ranger and Virtual Event Support Team member; and Carly Nix, President of the Firefly Arts Collective’s Board of Directors in discussion about creating a code of conduct for maintaining a healthy, functioning community and how groups like consent committees form and develop processes to uphold community behavioral standards and manage conflict

Preparing to Re-gather in a Changed World

Kathleen Hoffman, Regional Contact in Sacramento and marriage family therapist hosts Yasin Choudry, M.D., Board Certified Psychiatrist with the Burning Man Crisis Intervention Team; and Verity Owers (“Vee”) accredited counsellor and Founder of Dust 2 Dust; in discussion about how the pandemic has impacted us psychologically, strategies to help prepare for re-entry into the world, and what we might need to consider as we begin planning a return to community organization and the creation of gatherings.

Going on a Regional R.I.D.E.: Radical Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the Network

Iris Yee, Head of the Burning Man Regional Network, hosts Lorraine Tanner, Director of Afrikaburn, in a discussion exploring core issues of Radical Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (R.I.D.E.), what it looks like in different communities, and ways communities are fostering inclusion through their Regional Events and beyond.

Igniting Inclusion: Community Efforts to Increase Accessibility

Aaron Muszalski (“Slim”), founder of Burning Wish, hosts ClemClem, Nowhere Inclusion Lead; Dani L. Moore (“Rat Lady”), Camp Lead for Mobility Camp; Chris Hainsworth, co-founder of Blind Burners; and Stan Clawson, former Chairman and Ballyhoo Captain for Element 11 in Utah, in discussion about the importance of accessibility as part of the principle of Radical Inclusion and the practical steps the average Burner can take to improve the accessibility of their events, camps, and community spaces

I Love Burners, But I Hate Burners: Moderating Our Social Media Spaces

Shirley Tipton and Craig Lindahl (“Lion”), Burning Man Hive Labs Moderators, lead participants in a discussion about managing community social media spaces in a way that fosters healthy conversation and balances the tension between Radical Self-Expression, Radical Inclusion, and Civic Responsibility.

Burning on the Other Side of the Pandemic

Justin McGhee, Regional Contact in Sydney and President of Common Arts Victoria, hosts Andy Justice (“Money Daddy”), Kiwiburn Chair and Treasurer; Julia Damrow (“Flying Squirrel”) Kiwiburn Communications Facilitator; Andy Sondalini (“Firecracker”), Kiwiburn Event Manager; Dale Albanese, Regional Contact in Taiwan and co-producer of Turtle Burn; Elaine Kang, Regional Contact in Shanghai; and Francesca Valsecchi and Lalo Lopez, Dragon Burn planners in sharing learnings from the earliest regions to emerge on the other side of the pandemic, including the challenges, opportunities and rewards of re-gathering in person at events held over the last year. 

Ruining More Lives Faster: How Do We Build a Better Regional Network?

Kay Morrison, Burning Man Project Board Member and Meta Regional Committee Member, hosts a group discussion about how we might build a healthier, interconnected, scalable and joyfully effective global network – one that maintains cultural integrity and stability while scaling, is welcoming and easily accessible to new members, and might interface with other tangential networks in the community (e.g., BWB chapters, theme camps, Regional Event leadership, etc.).

Sustainability is Fun(damental) for a Healthy Future

Francesca Valsecchi, researcher and educator in design and sustainability and Dragon Burn planner, hosts Jo Roberts (“Whisper”), Red Earth Ecology Team Lead; and Stephen Chun (“Ladies and Gentle Man”), Sustainability Project Manager at Burning Man Project in sharing how some regional communities are creating and prototyping greener, regenerative solutions at their events, and how to pursue sustainability with actionable change. 

Kickstarting Civic Initiatives

Molly Harpel, Portland Burners Without Borders Chapter Co-Lead and Patrick Noder, Burners Without Borders Sacramento Chapter Co-Lead share local projects and initiatives as examples of how Burners can activate local energy and bring communities together to come up with important solutions to community issues.

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