Connecting With The Community

Every year after the event the staff engage in reflection about what we’ve accomplished and what we plan to do in the future — changes, improvements, what was right, wrong, etc. In the context of the staff, Senior Staff and Board we have a report called an EMBER report that staff submit to an email address. The reports are read by the LLC/Board and frame the tone of the 6 day off-site debrief that the 6 Board members and a facilitator take. Then the over 100 reports (450+ pages) are read by the Senior Staff in preparation for another off-site debrief in mid-November. A fundamental principle of the Burning Man Project has always been to engage in “self reflection”. This applies to the individual as much as the Project.

In 1997 we had our first Spring Town Meeting for volunteer recruitment, and then in 1998 we had our first Fall Town Meeting in December to take in our participants’ feedback, be that complaints, suggestions, or comments. A message from the Director of Community Services, Harley DuBois on this very subject:

Dear Community,
After each Burning Man event we endeavor to collect the community feedback for improvements for the future. Other than emails directly to Project staff or the jackrabbitspeaks email address, the primary avenue for collecting this data has been our annual Fall Town Meeting held in San Francisco and webcast to those remote with a computer. The format has been “question and answer” with the senior staff face to face with the community. We dialog about whatever meeting attendees concerns are expressed. We typically inform the community of any challenges we are facing and any plans for change in the future.

For the last few years attendance at the Town Meeting has stabilized at about 200 people. Even with the webcast audience included we do not feel that we are really accomplishing our goal of connecting with our community. We want to explore other ways to hear what you have to say, answer your questions, address community issues and share ideas. With attendance of Burning Man at over 35,000 people from all over the world we want to find a forum that can include everyone.

What forum/s would you like to see?

— Harley

We’d like to hear your comments on Burning Man 2004, and ideas on communication forums for feedback with the greater community. Please email any and all feedback to: feedback(at)burningman(dot)com.

Due to the fact we expect quite a few emails please don’t expect a personal response. The Jack Rabbit will endeavor to give some idea of what sort of comments we’ve received at a future time, but no firm commitment. We DO promise that your email will be read. What do you think? We want to hear from new and old Burners alike. Starting with the good before the bad is helpful. ;-) [para_end]

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.