Each year, we put more of the Global in GLC by gathering our growing tribe from far and wide.
This week, we have representatives from an ah-mazing array of countries jetting into San Francisco for the 2016 conference, which begins on Thursday.
For those scratching their head over these three little letters, the GLC — or Global Leadership Conference — is an annual conference, now in its 10th year, hosted by Burning Man and dedicated to bringing together Regional Contacts and community leaders for a weekend of skill sharing and relationship-building to promote leadership and community development around the world.
The conference is not only a chance for international community leaders and Regional Contacts to join us in the hubbub of Burning Man, it is also an opportunity for us to travel the ever-evolving frontiers of our culture and explore the decentralizing nature of that very hubbub.
For four days, conference participants will have the chance to take a whirlwind trip around the Burner globe and experience some of our culture’s permeations and cross-pollinations.
If you’re attending this year’s conference, make sure you grab your passport by moseying up and making friends with our friends from afar. For those following along from home, you can check out some itinerary highlights below.
Bienvenido a casa, chicos! Not only did the local Burner community just finish Argentina’s first Burn earlier this week, they have also just finished the first official Burn in alllllll of Latin America. Burner history in the makin’, folks. In fact, their Regional Contact was so inspired by the magic that 300 people made together at Fuego Austral, he has bought a last-minute ticket to SF and will be joining us at the GLC.
Burning Man has crossed this great southern land like wildfire, with three Regional Burns now lighting up both coasts: Burning Seed and Modifyre on the east coast and Blazing Swan on the west coast. Man? What Man? Swans, a galah and a roo-man have all made guest appearances as their effigies.
China and Taiwan
Inspired by the GLC, the Taiwan community played host to a gathering of Regional Contacts and community leaders for the Asian Burner Leadership Summit last year in Taipei. Check out Burning Taiwan or Dragon Burn to see how Burners are bringing it in Asia on a local level.
They may be small (a.k.a. intimate), but the Czech event Čarodění has taken a centuries-old cultural tradition and given it a new Burner life. At the end of April, Czechs traditionally bid a fond fuck you to winter and a warm welcome to fertile spring by burning a wooden witch. The local Burners have given her a partial sex change by adding the classic Burning Man head for their event.
If you remember something fishy about those Fins, you’re right on the nose. They appeared on playa last year with a six-metre pike that also featured one of their traditional instruments, a kantele, as its mouth They’ve since taken a pike jump off playa and are taking the fish on tour with the help of Aalto University and a variety of embassies.
Move over Mad Max and hello Waterworld, Greece has hit the (air)waves with a Burn on boats. Now in their second year, they spread the event across three boats in the Aegean Sea.These Burners have also looked beyond the bows of their boats and helped with a Syrian refugee initiative.
Those crazy kids from Israel have soared into Regional Burn history with an event called Midburn that hit the starting gates with 3000 people in 2014 and doubled to 6000 last year.
Burning Japan harkens back to early SF days by holding their first few Burns on a beach — though the Man takes a backseat to a fabulous phoenix effigy. They’re celebrating their fourth year in 2016.
Korea’s spark is small, but they plan to be back this year, better and burnier than before.
The Latvians also like to mix it up by combining local customs with their Burn. They hold their unofficial Degošie Jāņi event on June 22, Summer Solstice, when the rest of the country is ablaze with bonfires. Local Burners burn a geometric structure, as well as making and wearing traditional wreaths on their heads.
The Russians know how to rock a Decom long and strong — their 2000-person event goes for 24 hours. One of their big art projects this year is also a great example of cross-pollination between Regional Burns: they’re taking a project called Own Way to South Africa’s upcoming AfrikaBurn.
Barcelona has recently taken creativity, community and civic participation beyond the playa and established its first [freespace], while many Europeans who attend Nowhere, which is held in Spain, have rolled up their sleeves and helped run another kind of city: the temporary refugee city at Calais called the Jungle. This year, Burning Man’s Third Annual European Leadership Summit was hosted in Gaudi’s homeland.
Hold on to your hats. The Swedes (in collaboration with the Danes) run their 1000-person burn, The Borderland, and their Urban Burn Stockholm (around 800 people) without any team leads or executive bodies. No one is in charge because everyone is in charge. Everybody who buys a membership is added to an online collaboration tool, where proactivity abounds and shit just gets done. Or it just doesn’t. Immediacy — deal with it.