In April 2013, the Kindle Arts Society sponsored two of us to attend the Burning Man Global Leadership Conference in Oakland, California.. It was a great event, with a lot learned, both on a personal level and on an events best practices level. I can’t stress enough how useful the conference was, the time outside of planned activities was equally valuable as what was on the agenda, and most of that was invaluable. I’ll include a summary for a good number of the activities I participated in.
Friday 11 AM: State of the Regional Network.
An interesting look at how the Burning Man regional community is growing. Almost faster than we can keep up with. There are now Regional Contacts on every continent, and Burning Man is becoming a worldwide phenomena.
Friday Noon: Pacific Northwest Regional Lunch Social.
A solidly useful lunch meeting. Met many of the reps from around the PNW as well as most of the contingent from GVIAS. Discussed shared calendars and insurance problems.
Friday 1:30 Servant Leadership with Chip Conley
Chip Conley is a Burning Man Project Board Member who founded Joie de Vivre Hotels at age 26 with a shady motel that he transformed into The Phoenix, an inner-city oasis favored by rock n’ roll royalty. 50 hotels and 25 years later, he’s traded “working Joie de Vivre” for “living joie de vivre.” Travel guru, cultural anthropologist, armchair therapist, and award-winning author of PEAK, his latest book is the New York Times bestseller EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS. An expert on finding meaning in work and life, Chip is now on a mission to be the world’s leading expert on festivals. Believing in the transformative power of “collective effervescence,” he seeks to inspire “cultural curiosity” that can lead to peak experiences at the world’s 300 best festivals that he’s curated on FEST300
Some of the best Kool-aid of the event. An amazing speaker.
Friday 2:45 Core Project Q&A
A must have for CoRE organizers. The CORE Committee provided an overview of the project and opened up the floor for questions.
Bettie June Scarborough (Associate Director of Arts Management)
Meghan “Megs” Rutigliano (Regional Network Manager)
Danielle “Doxie” Kaltz (FAST Team, Detroit Regional Contact)
Dave X (FAST Team)
Brody Scotland (Art Administrative Assistant)
Squishelle (CORE 2013 Communications, Vancouver Regional Contact)
Friday 4pm IGNITE Conference
A series of short presentations of different burner projects and ideas, intended to inspire questions conversations and creativity. Very effective both in format and content.
Saturday 9am Profiles in Dust Showcase.
A very moving and inspiring introduction to Profiles in Dust, which Last year took massive amounts of video footage of Burning Man. Every day, everywhere, of every CoRE project. They made sure all of it follows Burning Man’s standards for privacy and protection of participants and put all that raw footage on the web, where it’s freely available for download, to be mixed into whatever presentations people want. They’re developing tools for easy use, and are actively looking for videographers amateur and experienced to turn it into something all their own.
Saturday 9:45: A Principled discussion.
A World Cafe discussion on the value and meaning of the principles. With much conversation on which were most important, how to integrate the principles into our everyday lives and the lives of those who live in our local communities, including the general public. Some obstacles or difficulties with putting the principles into action.
Saturday Noon Keynote Address by Larry Harvey
Infamous speech at the end of which he threw his hat “the hat” into the audience.
International Regional Network Update
Saturday 3pm: Moving from Regional Network to Global Network
A large group discussion for all Global Leadership Conference attendees facilitated by Marian Goodell and James Hanusa.
Saturday 4:45: Advanced Community Event Production Lab
$teven Ra$pa’s very useful event production course.
Sunday 10 AM: Sunday Kick Off & LA Community White Paper
Sunday 11:15: Radical Inclusion
An in depth panel discussion on various aspects of Radical inclusion.
Sunday 2pm: Departmental Jam: Organizational Structures for Transformative Event Production
A panel discussion that discussed organizational structures that have been shown to work for transformative events.
On the practical side, the conference was very useful on all levels. Outside of planned events, I was able to have a conversation with Megs Rutigliano, the regional network coordinator, and speed up the process of getting Amara and I into the regional contact position. I made good connections with regional contacts and community leaders from all over the globe, some of which I have been in contact with regularly since then, working on a set of practices and policies suitable for burner not for profits. And, not least, I was in on important conversations about insurance and liability. Personally, the conference was exactly what I needed to reignite my passion for working with the local burner community. I had been leaning towards burnout previous to the conference, and was questioning my level of involvement with CoRE and Otherworld. When I returned from the conference I was ready to dive back in and take on more than I had ever before.