Setting a Cultural Direction for Residential Black Rock City

A forum for community conversation and deeper discussions about the cultural direction of Burning Man.
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Setting a Cultural Direction for Residential Black Rock City

Post by trilobyte » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:48 pm

From the Burning Man Journal...
Trippi Longstocking wrote:As we reflect on Black Rock City 2018 and begin preparing for 2019, one area we believe needs some extra love and attention is our approach to theme camps and other “residential” areas of Black Rock City. For our purposes, “residential Black Rock City” is defined as any location and any way people live in our temporary community in the desert — placed camps, open camping areas, walk-in camping, etc.

As the event in the desert has evolved and our culture gains more traction and attention in mainstream society, questions and concerns have been raised around the size of camps, relative inclusivity or exclusivity, requirements for interactivity, and the placement process. How might camps continue to grow and change? Where do we stand on turnkey, “plug and play,” or convenience camping? What course are we charting for the next five to 10 years?

This is an important moment to dig in and strengthen our culture.

Suburbia Camp (Photo by Daryl Henderson)

So what is the Burning Man organization doing?

In 2017, we launched Project Citizenship, an intentional effort to uphold some of the values and practices that make Burning Man events so special and meaningful for the participants who create them. This year, as part of those ongoing efforts, we established a group charged specifically with creating a vision for how we live in Black Rock City. Instead of reacting to situations and trying to figure out what to do after the fact, it’s time to design a focused vision and align our efforts and actions to that vision.

The Black Rock City Cultural Direction Setting group is made up of leaders from camps, community members, Burning Man Project’s Board, Regional Contact leadership, Placement Team members, and Burning Man Project Staff. This visioning group is responsible for examining questions such as:
  • How and why are camps placed?
  • What do camps need from the organization in order to thrive? What does Black Rock City need from camps in order to thrive?
  • What is the role of the Placement Team and how can it best serve the evolving needs of both camps and the organization?
  • How has the growth of camps affected Black Rock City culture?
  • What levels of engagement should be required for receiving formal camp placement?
  • What is the role of money and Decommodification in camps and camp culture at large?
  • How does placement affect the overall culture of Black Rock City and Burning Man?
Our goal is to create a clear, actionable vision that addresses our current challenges, sets a course for where we are going, and can inform potential changes to placement and other policies in the future.

Here’s where you come in.

We need your input and thoughts. If you have ever lived in Black Rock City, we want to hear from you! A vision for residential Black Rock City won’t go anywhere unless that vision is conceived collaboratively by camps and participants — the groups of people who will create the Black Rock Cities of the future. Whatever we come up with won’t be realized unless it’s guided and supported by the Burning Man community at large.

Extraterrestrial at 8:15 (Photo by Dan Adams)

Read more on the Burning Man Journal
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Making sure that I'm wearing my moderator hat, I would like to add that we know that you care and that for many of us, this is a subject we feel passionately about. As such, when opinions differ conversations can often get heated. I ask that you take a deep breath in those situations. Remember that there is a thinking, feeling human behind every username. Be kind, even when we don't see eye to eye.


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