Over 200 Regional Contacts worldwide and an extensive network of Community Leaders host Meet n Greets, art events, Burner Town Halls, hands-on community projects, CORE (Circle of Regional Effigy) builds and put forth a host of other efforts and events to keep our global community tight knit and Burners’ social calendars filled to the brim. After having transformational experiences at Burning Man and Regional events like Nowhere 2012, Burners throughout the world return home to the default world longing for ways to stay connected in between their sojourns to Burner events. Burning Man’s maintenance and nurturing of the Burning Man Regional Network is our answer to this widespread community need. I was drawn to Nowhere this year, a dynamic and creative gathering of over 1,100 Burners outside of Zaragoza, Spain because I knew it would be a rallying point for Burning Man’s European Regional Contacts and Nowhere’s own leadership network of what they term Cultural Attaches. I wanted to have a chance to chat with our Regional leaders face to face and also to create opportunities for them to meet one another. To this end, I hosted two meet ups—a Celebration at our camp, No Rules, and a more formal meeting of the minds at Nowhere’s No Info Center.
Our evening celebration was full of positive energy and excitement as Regional Contacts and Community Leaders from the U.K., Spain, Italy, Singapore, France, Scandanavia, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States gathered for a champagne toast and mixing and mingling. I was delighted to see so many new faces and old friends. Our celebration was a great chance to touch base with each person about how things are going in their local communities and plant some seeds for further cross-regional collaboration. We also engaged our neighboring camp from Germany in creating the celebratory atmosphere as they contributed music and shade glorious shade to our efforts. Hugs and smiles were trending at our party and we all returned to the larger world of Nowhere with new ideas and new contacts and planned to meet again at No Info later in the week for a more formal meeting of the minds.
The week flew by and Saturday was there before I knew it. I was so pleased with the number of Contacts that turned up for the Regional pow-wow at No Info. Many of the folks that attended our soiree on Tuesday showed up to engage further in dialogue about community leadership and we were also joined by Tristan, one of our Johannesburg, South Africa Regional Contacts, by Paul Grose, South Africa’s Ranger Lead, Dave Bradshaw, a long-time Community Leader in the UK and throughout the world, and by a dynamic duo from Austria who tracked me down to express their interest in serving as their country’s first Burning Man Regional Contacts. Huzzah! Despite a howling mid-day dust storm, the group wrapped for several hours about Regional Burning Man activity and development. Everyone brought great ideas to the table and some of the main topics of interest included the development of a Cultural Exchange Program between Regional communities, a Global Burner Flash Mob, an Arts Transfer Program designed to facilitate the travel of art installations between Regional events, and Burning Man’s Film Festival in a Box. We also discussed the future production of a European Burning Man Leadership Summit that we hope will take place within the year.
After a highly connective week with our Regional leaders, I was sad to leave Nowhere but I feel energized by all that we managed to accomplish together. Fortunately, I will see many of these folks out on the playa in just a few weeks and will be keeping in touch with everyone year-round.
For more information about Burning Man’s Regional Network and to connect to YOUR local community, visit regionals.burningman.com and come visit us at the Regional Network Center on playa at Everywhere Lane.
Megs signing off.