Get Your Makin’ Pants On, Maker Week is June 12-18!

Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire 2013 (photo by Harley Dubois)
Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire 2013 (photo by Harley Dubois)

It should probably go without saying that we’re all about makers, and the maker movement. Our friends at Maker Faire are kicking some serious maker butt these days, with over 130 Maker Faires now happening around the world annually, inspiring thousands of people to start making, and giving makers the showcase they need and deserve to show off their creations.

The movement got an incredible boost last year when President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire and issued a call to action that “every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.” And so here we are, doing just that. The White House recognizes that by “democratizing the tools and skills necessary to design and make just about anything, Maker-related events and activities can inspire more people to pursue careers in design, advanced manufacturing, and the related fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and possibly take their creations to the next level and become entrepreneurs.”

2013 Global Arts Grantee Metamorphosis at Maker Faire in 2013.
2013 Global Arts Grantee Metamorphosis at Maker Faire in 2013.

This year, the White House will celebrate a “Week of Making” from June 12-18. The week will coincide with the National Maker Faire in Washington D.C., featuring makers from across the country and participation by a number of federal agencies including the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA, Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Smithsonian. Pretty cool.

President Obama with Lindsay Lawlor and Russell the Giraffe (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama with Lindsay Lawlor and Russell the Giraffe (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

At last year’s Faire, President Obama met Lindsay Lawlor, who built a 17-foot, talking robotic giraffe named Russell that you might have seen loping around Black Rock City in years past.

As the President put it, “Today’s D.I.Y is tomorrow’s Made in America.” Yeah, he gets it.

Burning Man Arts Presents: The Artists’ Symposium and Desert Arts Preview

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The veteran artists of our community hold a wealth of knowledge and experience: possibly the most valuable resource of all to other artists, and one that has been inadequately tapped until now.

Burning Man Arts — in the spirit of facilitating collaborative connections — is pleased to invite our community’s artists to an all-day Artists’ Symposium for artists to share knowledge and connect around mutual goals and needs. If you’re an artist (or would-be artist) creating work destined for Black Rock City or anywhere else, this is a fantastic opportunity to network with other artists and arts professionals, learning best practices about creating large-scale artwork.

You’ll learn from experts in fundraising, project management, heavy equipment, fire art, structural engineering, public art and more. See all the details here.

The event will be followed by the Desert Arts Preview from 6-8pm … come see artists presenting their works-in-progress for this year’s Burning Man (note: a ticket to the Artists’ Symposium includes admission to the Desert Arts Preview. You can also purchase tickets just for the Desert Arts Preview).

What: Artists’ Symposium
When: May 3 @ 10am – 9pm
Where: Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123 (directions at www.fortmason.org)
Cost: $20
Tickets: Buy tickets or RSVP

Questions? Email artsymposium here: artsymposium (at) burningman.org.

Burners Without Borders to Become Program of Burning Man Project

Burners Without BordersSan Francisco, Calif., April 13, 2015 — Burning Man announced today that Burners Without Borders — a grassroots group that supports community organizing and disaster relief worldwide — will transition June 1 to become the cornerstone of Burning Man’s Civic Engagement initiatives.

“We’re very excited to bring Burners Without Borders into the Burning Man fold,” said Burning Man co-founder Harley Dubois. “This incredible group has an outstanding track record of facilitating grassroots volunteerism that truly represents what Burning Man is all about. This functional reorganization allows Burning Man culture to flourish through the civic efforts of Burners everywhere, in their local communities.”

BWB came into being after Hurricane Katrina when Burning Man participants left the event to help with the disaster cleanup effort. The organization has a 10-year history of supporting disaster relief and local grassroots volunteer initiatives around the world through its annual grants program and direct on-the-ground assistance. It’s expected this transition will have no major immediate effect on existing projects, grants or grant applications. “We want to thank the community for its unwavering support of BWB over the past decade — we are continually inspired by the impact this community makes every day,” said Carmen Mauk, Burners Without Borders’ Executive Director. “I am looking forward to the future where we can continue to grow and thrive.”

BWB’s international projects include relief efforts in Pisco, Peru after that city was hit by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in 2007, relief efforts in the remote Tohoku Prefecture of Japan following the Fukushima disaster, delivering relief supplies to Haiti, supporting communities in the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda, and providing relief to New Jersey communities not receiving adequate assistance following Hurricane Sandy.

About Burning Man
Burning Man Project is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world. Black Rock City is the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture known as Burning Man. The gathering, which last year included participants from all 50 states and 40 countries around the world, happens the last week of August in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For more information, visit www.burningman.org.

About Burners Without Borders
Burners Without Borders (BWB) was born in Biloxi, Mississippi during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort where Burning Man participants had instinctively gathered to fill in where government relief efforts were falling short. Since then, BWB has emerged as a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change. Supporting volunteers from around the world in innovative disaster relief solutions and community resiliency projects, BWB is known for the unbridled creativity they bring to every civic project they do. To get involved, visit the Burners Without Borders website.

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New Burning Man Laser Policy

Pew pew
Pew pew.

While the list of things you can do at Burning Man is about as long as your imagination, the list of things you can’t do at Burning Man is very, very short. But things on that very short list are the things that can either outright kill you (weapons, speeding vehicles, serving iffy food) or screw up the environment (burning stuff right on the playa floor, visiting the hot springs during the event).

Why is the list so short? Because radical self-reliance, that’s why. We firmly believe that people should exercise their own personal responsibility when it comes to their entertainment and personal safety. The Burning Man organization has long resisted establishing rules when we could instead establish community guidelines that would accomplish the same thing. We believe in acculturation and education over creating a rule when something needs fixing — Leave No Trace is a great example.

But sometimes you have to make a rule, because it’s the right thing to do. And this is one of those times.

At the 2014 Burn, a member of our Black Rock Rangers reported that somebody in the crowd scanned her face with a laser, and that as a result she was blinded in one eye and partially blinded in the other. We didn’t know of any other incidents like this one in the 30 years of our event, but once her story went out on the airwaves, we started hearing from other folks who’d been hit by lasers but had not reported anything to us.

Laser show over BRC, 2011 (Photo by Mark Peterson)
Laser show over BRC, 2011 (Photo by Mark Peterson)

When handheld lasers first came onto the scene, they were expensive and not very powerful. In recent years, they have become stronger and more easily accessible. Lasers are now so powerful that even the handheld ones can do permanent damage to somebody standing 10 miles away. And that, by any definition, by any standard, is a weapon. And dangerous weapons — ones that can permanently and irreparably injure somebody standing literally on the other side of Black Rock City — really have no place at Burning Man.

So this is one of those times. Starting in 2015, handheld lasers will be prohibited in Black Rock City. Mounted lasers are only permitted on art pieces, Mutant Vehicles and in theme camps if they comply with specific restrictions.

To learn more, visit our Lasers page on the Burning Man website.

Female Leadership: “There’s chicks in charge everywhere.”

[This post reprinted with permission from Burn After Reading Magazine.]

Harley K. Dubois and Rebecca Anders (Photo by Sidney Erthal)
Harley K. Dubois and Rebecca Anders (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

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No one takes a tool out of anyone’s hands. That seems to be the golden rule that truly fosters leadership. “The more the teacher resists the urge to take the tool out of the hand of the student, the better the student learns,” attests Rebecca Anders who has been apart of large Burning Man art since 1997. She’s worked with the Flaming Lotus Girls, helped to build the Temple of Flux and currently makes within the Flux Foundation. Her cohort for the Female Leadership lecture at the Burning Man Global Leadership is equally amazing. Harley K. Dubois attended her first Burn in 1991 and it has spiraled out of control from there. Harley is responsible for creating the infrastructure of Burning Man. She was the first person to suggest theme camp placement and has served as the City Manager for fifteen years. Now she is the Chief Transition Officer and facilitated the recent transition of The Burning Man Project.

One of the main things these women have learned by being leaders in their communities – it’s about collaboration not competition. The more projects embrace the “We” instead of the “I” the more everyone involved is able to succeed. This kind of attitude leads to the doacracy culture that we all so greatly appreciate.

Thoughtful responses were plentiful from the crowd. (Photo by Sidney Erthal)
Thoughtful responses were plentiful from the crowd. (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

Rebecca has a great example of this from her Burn in 2011. While building the Temple of Flux there was no lead carpenter. The person with the clipboard was the person in charge but that individual was constantly rotating. When it was quitting time for one, another would come in, get briefed, grab the clipboard and take their place. The balance of power was never skewed because everyone had a chance to be in that leadership role. At first the professional carpenters who came to volunteer with the temple at the Burn were fairly confused. There was no main foreman only someone standing there with a clipboard and all the information. “There’s chicks in charge everywhere,” Rebecca joked that this must have been the possibly unnerving realization of all these carpenters who were used to a very different situation. This radical model was insanely successful and to this day The Temple of Flux, which was created by a crew that was 80% women, was the only temple to finish early and under budget.

This success should come as no surprise. “Women have been running Burning Man since the getgo.” Harley states with sincerity and a bit of levity. Marian Goodell, Crimson Rose and Harley were incredibly instrumental in the creation of Black Rock City. Harley built all her teams by making dinner and feeding them. One of Harley’s tricks is to be nourishing and accommodating, it gets the job done.

Throughout the entire workshop and the open discussion that began to take shape between all the participants in the room the concept of the We continuously came up. Everyone needs to feel empowered and if you give value to the volunteers there’s a sense of ownership that creates a work family not just a work crew. Our consensus was that the most powerful thing that a leader of any gender can do is to give their power to others.

Burners Without Borders 2015 Walk the Talk Grantees Announced

Burners Without BordersBurners Without Borders — soon to become a program of the Burning Man Project — has been awarding Walk the Talk Grants for three years, through a partnership with the Burning Man Regional Network. Walk the Talk is a program aimed at funding innovative community projects within the Burning Man Global Network, particularly programs that create collaborations, produce direct actions, utilize Burning Man’s Ten Principles, are reproducible, and creatively tackle local problems.

We are excited to announce the Walk the Talk grantees for 2015. Congratulations to all of these grantees and thank you for the good work you’re doing in the world!

Veggie Gifting Cart for the Angier Ave. Neighborhood Farm – Triangle, NC – $400
These folks are collaboratively fabricating a bike-powered veggie cart. This cart will allow them better outreach to the surrounding community in East Durham (a food desert) where the Angier Ave Neighborhood Farm is located. They will use the cart to gift their overstock of vegetables to community members in need, whom are physically disabled, sick, or for other reasons unable to be mobile.

Christmas Isn't Over crew (Photo by Vert Umnus)
Christmas Isn’t Over crew (Photo by Vert Umnus)

Art Lots Metal Support – St. Louis, MS – $400
Art Lots is a coalition of artists who work to combat blight and make St. Louis neighborhoods more livable. Providing art workshops and access to tools, they take the refuse and discarded items found in St. Louis and turn it into public art.

Christmas Isn’t Over – Vancouver, BC, Canada –  $200
Christmas Isn’t Over is a group of compassionate independents made up of Burners and non-Burners who organize and gather to be of service in our community. They bring stews, soup, baked goods, salads and grill 300 grilled ham and cheese sandwiches all to be gifted to those in need at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, BC Canada, one Vancouver’s most at-risk and in-need areas.

If you’d like to apply for a grant, learn more on the Burners Without Borders website.

Larry Harvey in a Worm Suit: 2015 Global Leadership Conference Kicks Off

The 9th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference is officially underway! From humble beginnings in 2007, where 70 regional contacts joined us at Burning Man HQ, the GLC has since grown to include over 400 participants from around the world.

$teven Ra$pa addresses GLC attendees (Photo by Sidney Erthal)
$teven Ra$pa addresses GLC attendees (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

These highly-energized folks are Burning Man’s global representatives and community leaders, ambassadors of Burning Man culture in their regions who throw any of 65 regional events in 20 countries. They participate in the GLC to share ideas, best practices and inspiration, and to make the invaluable face-to-face connections that may just lead to the next big thing.

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Danger Ranger and Stuart Mangrum (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

This morning, Rachel Klegon, Matthew Naimi and Ryan Doyle kicked off the proceedings with an inspiring talk about creative placemaking and “The Next Creative Renaissance”. They should know a thing or two about that topic, as they hail from Detroit, Michigan, where one of the most fascinating urban renaissances is happening.

And what better topic, since Burning Man is all about supporting contexts where connections, creative inspiration and collective action can thrive. These folks have done incredible work using art, community and sheer determination to foster recycling programs, engage the youth of Detroit to take control of their futures, and energize rejuvenation of this economically devastated region. Here’s their presentation:

Their talk was followed by (literally) goosebump-inducing updates from around the Regional Network, including report-outs of goings-on in Lithuania, Asia and Brazil. Want to see how Burning Man is translating around the world? Check it out:

The international report included this video recap of the second Burning Man European Leadership Conference in Amsterdam:

Burning Man co-founder Crimson Rose gave an update on Burning Man Art, and spoke passionately about the emotional experience of building and burning of David Best’s Temple in Derry~Londonderry. Watch:

The next few days are going to be long and exhausting, challenging GLC participants to pack as much information and ideas and conversation into their brains as possible before heading back to their region to bring the seed home. One thing’s for sure, they’ll leave as tired as they are inspired.

Oh and here’s Larry Harvey in a worm costume:

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Larry “Bookworm” Harvey is judging you (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

Burning Man Global Leadership Conference is Comin’ Up!

GLC (Global Leadership Conference)The Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference of Burning Man community leadership that happens each spring in San Francisco, and it starts April 9. The conference is for organizers and community leaders in the Burning Man Regional Network, and space is limited, so attendance isn’t open to the public, BUT …

We’re going to be covering key sessions that are of interest to the larger Burning Man community here on the Voices of Burning Man, as well as on Twitter (for a full-throated coverage, follow @burningmanglc; for more select coverage, follow @burningman and/or watch the #bmglc15 hashtag).

If live video is more your thing, we’ll be livestreaming our plenary sessions, including keynotes on Friday and Saturday mornings. If you’re not an early riser, no problem, the videos will be available afterwards. Here’s the livestream schedule:

Friday, April 10
9:00-10:30am PDT
Plenary Session 1: The Next Creative Renaissance, Busting it Out, Building it Up, Bringing it Home!

10:30am-12:00pm PDT
Plenary Session 2: Updates — From the Desert to the World

Saturday, April 11
9:00-10:15am PDT
Plenary Session: Keynote Talks with Marian Goodell and Dennis Kucinich

Speaking of which …

We are excited to welcome a special guest keynote speaker to this year’s GLC! Former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich will join us in person on Saturday, April 11 to address why Burning Man culture matters to humanity at this time of great global change.

Dennis is a statesman and philosopher who believes the fundamental truth of our existence is human unity — that we are all one, and that we are interconnected and interdependent. This belief has guided him through public life and he shares it with audiences everywhere. An internationally known environmentalist, Dennis is passionate about the great evolutionary potential which comes from repairing our relationship to the natural world and to each other.

He has had a long and distinguished career in public service, including serving as a Cleveland City Councilman, Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio State Senator, and U.S. Congressman. He was a two-time Presidential candidate.

Dennis participated in Black Rock City for the first time in 2014. Through the creativity and human connection of Black Rock City and the Burning Man Regional Network, he sees that “Burning Man represents an incandescent vision of a world within our grasp.”