Burning Seed needs you!
Do you have bright ideas, burning desires and a bit of time and effort to spare? Would you like to assist in the strategic governance of Burning Seed?
Last week Ali ‘Prince’ Mohammad Shams Ahmadi resigned from the Burning Seed Town Council after two and a half years of service to our community. As a result of Ali’s resignation, our Town Council of seven has a vacancy, and we need your help to fill it with somebody awesome!
Ali has been burning since 2012 and has made great contributions to the Melbourne Decom events and the establishment of the Melburners organisation. Ali joined the Town Council in 2016 - what ended up being a very difficult year with the cancellation of Burning Seed, and we are indebted to his hard work and dedication since then. Ali is leaving his Town Council position to focus on new challenges in his work life, Melburners and his theme camp - Middle Eastern Mafia.
On behalf of all Burning Seed participants we take this opportunity to thank Ali for his dedication over the years and now, for making room for another participant to provide leadership to our community.
What does it all mean?
The Town Council is drawn from the community that participates in the event each year and discusses, deliberates and makes key decisions on its future direction. This ensures that Burning Seed will burn brighter than ever for generations to come. If you have experience in events or project management you’d make a great candidate. For those without such experience - good communication skills, working well with others and a dash of leadership experience would put you in good stead.
- TWICE MONTHLY meetings (currently the 2nd Wednesday and 3rd Tuesday of each month), with infrequent emergency meetings when needed
- a FEW HOURS each month dedicated to doing some Burning Seed homework
If your interest is piqued please find out more here about the issues you need to consider before standing for Burning Seed Town Council (see page 3 of the 2016 application form). Then, if you’re happy with that, fill in an application
Applications close on Tuesday May 29, 2018.
The application process
There is a 3 week application window after which the current Town Council will need a week to review applications before contacting you with further information. Those who pass the first round will have an interview with current Town Councillors before final selections are made. The following week, applicants will be informed of the Town Council’s choices before the successful new Town Councillor will be announced to the broader burn community!
Where does the Town Council come from?
Red Earth City Pty Ltd (REC Pty Ltd) has been the legal entity behind Burning Seed since 2010. Until 2015 the Red Earth City Town Council oversaw the Burning Seed event and supported other burner initiatives under the banner of Burning Man Australia, all on behalf of the Red Earth City Board of Directors.
In November 2015, Directors of REC Pty Ltd decided on governance changes before important issues related to the event's sustainability and growth could be addressed. The Burning Seed Town Council (BSTC) was formed to focus on the Burning Seed event, in order to free up the Directors to focus on the wider Burner culture in Australia.
Now, BSTC reports to the Directors of REC Pty Ltd, and acts as the piece of the puzzle between the strategic and operational sides of the event.
We are currently in the middle of a restructure process, as mandated in the REC Pty Ltd constitution, which will deliver recommendations to the REC Directors on the creation of a new entity outside of REC Pty Ltd to guide and develop the Burning Seed event in the future.
Current Town Councillors
Phil ‘Sherpa’ Smart
Phil’s first burn was Burning Man in 2001, after many years of being hassled by friends in San Francisco. It was there that he finally felt at home, like he'd found what I was looking for. He burns due to shared values of community, art and self expression; dependable people, who are smart, funny, crazy and creative and who make the world a better place to live in.
Phil is on the BSTC to play a part in fostering the community and helping to steward it as it grows. Phil has a vision not only for Seed, but for the wider Australian burner community, to evolve and further develop its own unique identity. For the future Phil would like to see Burning Seed continue to grow at a pace that is sustainable. He would like to see more spin off projects that take burner culture out into the default world - initiatives like Burners Without Borders and Black Rock Solar in the states, as well as an art foundation to get burner art into off-paddock locations. These days it’s about so much more than Seed, with other burns springing up like Blazing Swan and Modyfire, and strong regional communities around the country.
Phil believes Burning Seed can push the boundaries of radical self governance, pioneering concepts such as direct democracy and liquid democracy in the way the community organizes itself and makes decisions. The dream of Burning Seed (or even the Australian burner community collectively) owning its own piece of land someday, to continue the experiment in a new way, is close to his heart.
On the last day of the very first Seed, there was a small closing ceremony down by the river where ash was released into the stream. Phil said that he couldn’t help but shed some tears of joy and relief at the fact that there was finally a community of incredible burners in his homeland who embodied fully the spirit of the playa.
Shaye ‘The President’ Harty
Born in the most American of all families in Modesto, California in 1979, Shaye had heard of Burning Man in her college years but didn't have any friends that she could go with. It wasn't until she moved to Humboldt County and became the ‘Rutabaga Queen’ that she was gifted a ticket to BM by a mysterious woman that she didn't even know! Her very first Burning Man was in 2005 as part of KazBus camp and she hasn’t missed one since!
This crazy woman has been to 13 Burning Man, 4 Burning Seed, 4 Afrika Burn and 4 Blazing Swan events…. so far, with no plan to slow down anytime soon! Speaking of experience and skills, Shaye has been the Outside Services Manager at Burning Man, Event Manager at Blazing Swan, Site Manager at Afrikaburn Burn, and former Admin Team Lead, former Event Coordinator, current Site Safety Facilitator and site manager at Burning Seed. Shaye's dream is to be able to live in Melbourne for 9 months working on Art and Events, and then live our winter months in America since it is summer there, traveling around working on events and visiting her family back home.
Next time you think about fighting her and pushing her out of your way to get a drink at one of the bars on the paddock remember she has a brown belt in Judo and she is pretty good with a lasso!
Victoria ‘Tech Support’ Vickery
A native Californian, Victoria first heard of Burning Man at the age of 12, and finally made the pilgrimage for the first time in 2010 as co-lead for the Connexus theme camp village (which included the notable Heart Deco bus). To date, she has been to 8 burns across 3 continents. After migrating to Australia in late 2013, she jumped into the local burner scene with both feet, attending her first Burning Seed as the 2nd In Command for the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI).
Over the past four years she has grown with the organisation as Co-Lead of DPI, Engine Room Facilitator, Admin Team Lead, Site Manager, Event Coordinator and member of the Restructure Committee. And of course, she also serves on the Burning Seed Town Council.
Her favourite thing about attending burns has been how much she has been able to learn: about herself, about others, about working together and social dynamics and about how to kick major ass. She is now a dynamo with both a power tool and a spreadsheet and has gained a lot of experience managing people and projects. She is currently applying these skills to her day job.
Jason ‘Pondage’ Bond
Jason has been burning since 2014, at which point he jumped head first into the fun and excitement. He has taken on several roles within the organisation as well as being President of Melburners and a member of the Town Council since 2017. His love of a backyard gathering led him to found “The Yard” theme camp for Burning Seed in 2017. His favourite thing about burning is seeing the incredible scale of people’s imagination and what is possible when people share ideas and work together.
A Melbourne native, in the default world Jason runs an engineering business and enjoys traveling to the farthest reaches of the world while doing so. He enjoys carrying his trumpet around the paddock and sharing a tune with anyone.
Jo ‘Whisper’ Roberts
Jo is a Riverina local who jumped feet first into Burning, attending Seed in 2012 as the Team Lead for Kids Camp. Rapid growth saw Kids Camp swell from 20 to 85 people by 2014, at which point Jo guided the succession of a new leadership team which assumed the helm in 2015.
In 2013 she founded Red Earth Ecology, fueled by her love of and knowledge around the local ecosystems that make up the Nurrungdera lands that Seed is graciously welcomed onto. Red Earth Ecology conducts education and community outreach initiatives designed to increase knowledge and protection of the flora and fauna of Red Earth City, incorporate Indigenous land management techniques as well as bush regeneration by engaging in regular biodiversity offset plantings connecting Burners with local landholders in the Matong district.
Jo is an active member of the BWA (Burning Witches Association), a collective which aims to increase the visibility of and opportunities for women at Seed. One offshoot has been the formation of the successful LUNACHICKS coalition, whose all female DJ line-ups have been kicking arse, both at Seed and beyond the paddock. She has also participated in the Queensland Regional Burn, Modifyre, since 2014, where she holds no significant positions of responsibility and uses this time to connect with and foster her children’s love of Burning.
In 2017, Jo joined the Burning Seed Town Council - a position she still holds, and has enjoyed the detailed insight into the operational and administrative workings of the event. Jo continues to be inspired by the Burning Man Project, and its potential for translating the transformational aspects of the Burn into change in the default world.
Kuy ‘RaveDaddy’ Thurman
Kuy started burning in 2015 when he attended Burning Man, camping with Boosh! and then Burning Seed with Telekinetik Chair Repair just a few weeks later after returning to Australia. Kuy has increased his involvement with Telekinetik every year since, including the cancelled year of 2016 when Telekinetik took to the very muddy banks of The Murray River at Sideburn - the event that Kuy accidentally named.
In 2017 he joined the Town Council prior to Burning Seed and performed multiple Ranger shifts on the paddock with his seven week old daughter strapped to his chest. He’s sure that BabySparkles is certain to become a Junior Ranger in just a few years. It took him four burns before he was given his paddock name RaveDaddy. He was invited to the Jedi Council leadership team for Red Earth City Rangers after the 2017 burn and takes great pride in being a part one of the teams that helps keep all participants safe in the unique and often challenging environment of the paddock.
He believes that the 10 Principles of Burning Man should be extended to the default world as much as possible and that by participating in a burn we create space for each other to fulfil our potentials. Be sure to say hi when you next see him on the paddock or a dance floor.