15116

Burning Seed and the Police

The police presence on the way into Burning Seed in 2017 took many people by surprise. Seed has grown over the 7 years at Matong State Forest from fewer than 500 people attending in 2011 to well over 3500 tickets sold last year. The reality of the size of our event in the current political climate, especially in NSW, is that we are now on the radar of many government agencies.

The Burning Seed organisers, in particular the Engine Room and Site Safety Facilitators, are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with our external stakeholders including Forestry Corporation of NSW, NSW Ambulance, NSW Health, and of course NSW Police. The very future of our event relies on the support of these groups, along with the local community.

Last year there was a very obvious increase in police operations, especially on the way into the event. We fully understand that this caused distress for some members of our community. What was disappointing to see was the reaction of certain participants to the police when they were onsite during the event. In particular the damage caused to a police vehicle, likely by a lone individual, had the potential to jeopardise the future of Burning Seed.  We cannot stress strongly enough that any similar actions this year will not be tolerated. Any Burning Seed attendee who causes damage to property will not only face potential criminal charges but will also be banned from the event for life. We will not let a small group of individuals destroy what so many people have created and thousands enjoy.

One of our principles is that of Civic Responsibility. The responsibility of ensuring our community is safe rests with not only every participant, but also with the police. If any of you have taken the time to chat with a police officer at Seed you will realise they enjoy attending our event much more than other, more commercial, gatherings. They see the joy in what we are doing for each other, and hopefully they take a small part of that with them.

There will be a police presence on the way into Burning Seed this year. If you are stopped by the police then be polite. Make sure you understand your rights. If you want to get angry with the system then look at the politicians, they set the rules. There will be roadside alcohol and drug testing on the way out. Ensure that if you are driving you are sufficiently rested (we’ve even added an extra day to help with this). Don’t drink and drive. Don’t take drugs and drive. Don’t speed.

Finally, when you are on the paddock and see a police officer this year, go and say hi. It absolutely helps Burning Seed continue to grow and flourish. You might enjoy it too.

 

 

14552

Locals Ticket Launch

2018 marks the 7th year that Burning Seed will be held at our home of Matong State Forest. Ever since our first burn there in 2011 we have always had an amazing amount of support from the local community. Without this support, the organisation and running of our burn would be so much harder.

We are continually looking at ways that we can show our support back to the local community. Existing initiatives include increasing the value of goods and services we purchase locally each year, and continuing to expand the native regeneration work done by Red Earth Ecology.

The other way we like to say ‘thank you’ to those living close to the place we call Red Earth City is to provide discounted tickets for locals to attend Burning Seed. Whether you have been attending since 2011, or would like to dip your toe in the water for the first time this year, this is part of how we welcome you HOME to experience the sights, sounds, and delights that our community provides to all who attend.

Locals Tickets are $165 and provide you access from the minute gates open at midday Wednesday 26th September through to the last dusty goodbye 6 days later on Tuesday 2nd October. To be eligible for one of these tickets you need to live within 50km of Matong State Forest (not including Wagga Wagga and its surrounding suburbs).

If you would like to access a Locals Ticket then please email ticketing@burningsed.com with a copy of your driver's license or other photo ID that includes your address. Once they have verified your details they will email you a link to purchase your ticket through our ticketing provider Quicket.

If you have any questions about Locals tickets (or any other tickets for that matter) then please email ticketing@burningseed.com

14315

Burning Seed Town Councillor Role Available

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.

Commitment required:

  • 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.

12603

A Message from your PEER Rangers: Don’t stand by, stand up!

At Burning Seed, you will experience a range of sights, sounds, smells (patchouli infused bacon anyone?) and touch. Some of these will be familiar to you and some may be challenging to you or push your boundaries.

Burning Seed encourages radical respectful interactions at all times. We also believe that everyone should be looking out for everyone's safety to ensure that Burning Seed is a safe event for everyone to radically express themselves. If you see something that you believe is not okay, you can say something. Calling this behaviour out in a simple way, can prevent something more serious from happening. It can also make it easier for other people to call this behaviour out in the future.

The P.E.E.R Rangers have compiled a list of six tips for anyone at Seed who notices that something or someone is not okay. It could be someone being catcalled while walking past a theme camp, or that creepy burner who is dancing too close to that unicorn on the dance floor. We can look out for each-others safety on the paddock. Intervening may give the person you’re concerned about, a chance to get to a safe place and leave the situation. You don't need any special training to help someone out of a difficult situation and by doing so, you could have an impact on the situation and potentially change the outcome.

Here’s how: 

Tip 1: The Fake Friend

An effective and safe way of intervening in any harassment situation is to become a ‘fake friend’. However, make sure you ‘check in’ with your friend before you intervene, to make sure if your friend actually needs assistance. You may ask your ‘friend’ if they need a drink, or remind them that they needed to meet your other ‘friend’ back at camp. If you are unsure if they need assistance, do not leave them alone.

Tip 2: Call out the harasser

Most people stop once their behaviour has been acknowledged and scrutinized. Use these three simple “I” statements to call out perpetrators -

1) State your feelings: This is making me uncomfortable.

2) Name the behaviour: The way you’re talking to this person doesn’t seem ok to me.

3) State how you want the person to respond: Could you please change how you’re behaving?

Remember to focus on your feelings rather than criticising the other person.

Tip 3: Make Your Presence Felt

Let the harasser know that you can see, recognise and condemn their behaviour. Remember, you don’t have to speak to communicate. Sometimes a disapproving look or stare can be far more powerful than words. Also spilling your kool aid in front of the harasser, asking them for directions to a theme camp can work wonders in letting them know you’re aware of how they’re behaving.

Tip 4: Check In With The Target

One question alone can deter a harasser who believes no one will intervene. By doing this, the target then knows you have their back, creating a safer environment.

Some questions you can ask are:

  • “Are you okay?”
  • “Do you need any help?”
  • “Is that person bothering you?”  

Tip 5: For Bystanders

Become the distraction! Use humour if you can, as humour reduces the tension of an intervention and makes it easier for the person to hear you. Try intervening between the target and the harasser, or create some form of commotion to allow the target to leave the situation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own - enlist the help of other burners around you.

There is safety and power in numbers - group intervention!

Tip 6: Be A Role Model

This  is the most effective tip to end harassment. If you treat others with radical respect and look out for fellow beings, this will start the motion of a positive cycle set for your burner family and paddock friends.

In cases where you have tried all of the above, or if the situation has become too dangerous to intervene - you can always call for a Ranger to help. You can do this by asking another bystander to find a ranger on duty (they will be roaming in pairs wearing orange vests with radios), or for more serious cases of harassment or sexual assault, the victim can seek the emotional support of our P.E.E.R Rangers (wearing purple armbands and trained to deal with distressing situations). Rangers are available 24 hours every day of the event.

11710

Announcing the theme design for DEEPER SPACE 2017

We are absolutely STOKED to announce the winner of the 2017 Deeper Space theme design... none other than Sarah Barber!

You may remember Sarah's work from the Deep Space 2016 design, as she was also the winner of last year's contest. We're so pleased she can have another chance to showcase her incredible work to the Seed community.

This is what Sarah had to say about her inspiration for this year's design:

"The idea is that Deep space exists not only in the sky but also in the darkest corners of the deep ocean - which seemed appropriate due to 2016 Seed's unfortunate flooding incident. This poster represents the Space In Between, the space where we come to celebrate this unique community we reside in. Where nothing and everything exists in its own little place. The design shows a diver falling out of the ocean and into the sky, then back into the ocean - as if looping on itself. It reiterates this idea with the ouroboros symbol which lies behind an upside down/flipped compass - symbolising losing yourself. I wanted to portray the idea of looping and infinity as it was as if Seed was repeating history with the new theme of Deeper Space."

Congratulations Sarah! 

And for the submissions that weren't selected, we'll be showcasing them on site at Burning Seed 2017, so make sure you check them out. 

 

 

11606

Burning Seed needs you! Three Town Council Roles are available.

Burning Seed needs you!

Do you have bright ideas, burning desires and a bit of time and effort spare?
Burning Seed is changing and we need your help to get our Town Council - the body that provides strategic governance for the event - to full capacity. We have THREE roles vacant and we need members of the Burning Seed community (you!) to apply & join.

What does it all mean?

The future of Burning Seed is in your hands. The Town Council is drawn from the community that participates each year in the event and discusses, deliberates and makes key decisions on the direction for Burning Seed to burn brighter than ever. 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 with a dash of leadership experience would put you in good stead.

Commitment required:
→ MONTHLY meetings, with  infrequent emergency meetings where 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 Sunday June 4, 2017.  

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 interviews with current Town Councillors before final selections are made. The following week, applicants will be informed of the Council’s choices before our wonderful new Town Councillors will be announced to the broader burn community!


Where does the Town Council come from?
Burning Seed Town Council (BSTC) reports to the Directors of Red Earth City Pty Ltd, the company that stages Burning Seed each year. Red Earth City 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.

December 2015: Directors of Red Earth City Pty decided on governance changes before important issues related to the event's sustainability and growth could be addressed. The Red Earth City Town Council was split into two separate bodies:

1) a group to drive forward the staging of the Burning Seed event, its future growth and development; and
2) a separate group focused on developing Burner culture around Australia - (remember, although Seed was the earliest Aussie Burn a few more have spawned since then including Modifyre in Queensland and Blazing Swan in Western Australia).

The managing structure looks something like this.

2016 till now...
Last year was a rare year...there was no Burning Seed; but that didn’t mean the BTSC was without a job. Thanks to their decision making, the cancellation of Burning Seed was covered by insurance; safety measures to reduce the risk of another cancellation are being implemented and refunds are being processed (unfortunately though despite being covered, sometimes insurers take time to pay out).

Currently BSTC is looking towards Burning Seed 2017, creating procedures for a burnier brighter seed... if you think you’ve got the skills and availability now is your time to apply (hyperlink apply to application page) , burn bright and shine!

 

CURRENT TOWN COUNCILLORS

Phil ‘Sherpa’ Smart
Phil’s first burn was due to San Franciscan friends in 2001 taking him to Burning Man (after many years of them hassling). 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.

On the BSTC to play a part in fostering the community and helping to steward it as it grows. Also to help hold part of the original vision, not only for the Seed, but for the wider Australian burner community as it evolves and further develops its own unique identity.

For the future Phil would like to see Burning Seed continue to grow at a pace that allows sustainable acculturation of new participants. 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 as well, 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 some day, somewhere, so that we can continue the experiment in a new way, year round is close to his heart, as are memories...

On the last day of the first Seed, there was a small closing ceremony down by the river where ash was released into the stream. 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 and the we could share this beautiful experience together.

 

Rennie ‘Ultraman’ Sinclair-Kydd
Rennie loves to burn as burns are generally an event of doers, or people who are about to become doers. Created by people from all walks of life who have strong interests, great passions and an enthusiasm to share what they enjoy with those around them. Burns are an experience of different energies and exposure to new ideas.


Burning Seed 2012 at Matong was his first such experience. He and a small group of friends decided to give life to AWC and share our love of music and art (and apparently climatic devastation).

Rennie joined the BSTC in 2016 as he’s passionate about collaborative effort. BSTC is doing it’s job best when it is active listener to the burner community. This is the best way to build a sustainable seed. The future of seed is no doubt bright, as a conduit for experiments to improve everybody’s real life. Lessons will be learnt on and off that paddock enriching lives and minds.
Every single burn has a plethora of special moments, and are difficult to separate into one being better than another. They are simply different.

 

Shaye ‘The President’ Harty

Born in the most American of all families in Modesto California in 1979. She had heard of Burning Man in her college but she didn't have any friends that she could go with so she had to wait till her time comes! 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! 2005 Her very first Burning Man as part of KazBus camp and she hasn’t missed a bloody one since!

This crazy woman has been to 12 Burning Man, 3 Burning Seed, 2 Afrika Burn and 2 Blazing Swan…. 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, 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 living for the winter 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!

Ali Shams ‘The Persian Prince’ Ahmadi

Dropping into the burner scene with a bang, landing at his first Matong burn in 2012, arriving there with the infamous and fabulous Middle Eastern Mafia theme camp.
Ali landed on the paddock with a couple of friends, Payam and Malakeh, who had arrived in Australia from their home town of Tehran in Iran within a few years of each other, more than 10 years ago. With no burner connections and no previous experience of the burner arts, apart from soaking up the plethora of DJ mixes coming from the playa, they’d been dreaming of going to this thing called Burning Man, before discovering that there was an Australian version happening in just a few months and only 6 hours drive away.

Hastily putting together a camp infrastructure, they arrived with a basic white marquee, a trestle table, a bunch of milk crates, a few shishas and a small sound system, serving fruit and tea to fellow burners. They quickly made a name for themselves, filling a niche as the go-to day party, partly because they had no lights which made it difficult to continue after dark. This was the ‘year of the storm’ and even losing their marquee in the mini cyclone didn’t dampen their radical self expression.

As a natural people person, building connections and networks, Ali endeared himself in the burner community, soon finding himself playing at Decoms. From there he’s since become involved in running the Melbourne Decom and helping to establish the Melburner association, of which he is currently Vice President.

An active member of the Melbourne theme camp community, the natural progression led him to get involved with town council, joining just in time to be part of the hardest decision we ever had to make; the cancellation of our 2016 event due to flooding.

Ali still has plenty of energy for the burner community and will continue to play a big part in the years to come, with a particular focus on helping to grow the Melbourne and Victorian burner communities, and a view to being part of establishing its own regional burn one day. He plans to make it to the big smoke of Black Rock City some day soon to see the man burn on the playa itself.


Victoria ‘Tech Support’ Vickery

With her first taste for transformative events in 2001 at the age of 17 in San Francisco, she spent three years as Event Coordinator for a transformative dance community.  It’s been quite the journey for her ever since.

A native Californian, she first heard of Burning Man at the age of 12, and finally made the pilgrimage for the first time in 2010.  To date, she has been to 6 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.  

Over the past three years she has grown with the organisation as Co-Lead of DPI, and Event Coordinator.  She currently chairs the management committee for the event, as well as running the Back of House Department, the Admin Team, and 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 a power tool or a spreadsheet and has gained a lot of experience managing teams.  Her dream is to apply these skills in a professional career in events.

 

11547

Burning Seed Represents at the Global Leadership Conference!

Rhianna Hobbs & Madeline Snow

Each year, Burning Man hosts a Global Leadership Conference, this year its 11th, designed to bring Regional Contacts and Community Leaders together from around the globe. Over 630 burners attended the conference in April, to share and learn from each other under the theme ‘Sparking a new Citizenship’.

The theme for the conference was chosen carefully and strategically – a nod to the current times of political tension and upheaval not only in the States, but around the world. As such, there was a strong political thread that ran throughout the plenaries and breakout sessions. Even Donald Trump made an appearance*.

Interestingly, many burners tend to shy away from discussing politics. The principles of radical inclusion and radical expression can spur many heated discussions, and once politics is thrown into the mix it becomes a discussion that many will want to avoid. The conference confronted this head-on, and provided a platform for exploring the role of burners and Burning Man in these challenging times.

One presenter reminded us that Burning Man is now “mainstream”. As Burners, there is something about this that inherently makes us cringe. But she was right, and that’s ok – “mainstream” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. What Harley was referring to was that Burning Man now has social capital in the default world. As citizens of Burning Man – living by the 10 Principles and gathering together at regional burns around the world – we, as a community, have the power to influence social change and have a positive impact on the world and our communities. We are a global community of passionate, creative do-ers and problem solvers, and we can leverage this to make positive change. We met and listened to a number of people at the conference that introduce themselves as ‘activists’, who have leveraged burner culture to spark political change through events.

One such event is Catharsis on the Mall. This event, on a weekend in November, is held across the lawn from the White House, at the foot of the Washington Monument. Catharsis on the Mall was first put together in 2015 by a group of Burners seeking “a local experience that integrated the best of our Burner values with the immediate desire for political and cultural change”. In exercising their First Amendment right to hold a vigil, organisers have a permit to burn an effigy, as well as host art and mutant vehicles, run workshops, and dance until sunrise at the National mall. The best part is that the event is free and open to the public.

We also heard from Burners without Borders representatives, who spoke about the great work they are doing for international disaster relief and community initiatives around the world. BWB teamed up with the Permaculture Action Network for a project called Permaculture Action Days on the road to Burning Man. Last year, this event brought 200 burners together to plant trees, build composting systems and construct a butterfly and pollinator garden in a community garden. There’s even an Australian chapter of Burners without Borders, who have chapters in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. You can get involved with these groups by contact them via their Facebook page, or even setup your own chapter if one of these isn’t local to you.

We left the Global Leadership Conference feeling inspired and re-energised, and also with the understanding that Burning Seed is part of a truly global network of people using the 10 principles to make change. The GLC this year was a great reminder for us that as burners, we are part of something bigger, and collectively we have the power to effect real change - political, social, cultural, and spiritual.

It also reminded us that the most impactful places to be a Burner could actually be outside of Burning Seed, or the respective Burns that we attend every year. We saw that Burns across the world are a melting pot for ideas that can be turned into default world realities, bringing very real change to people who might never attend a Burn. Be the change you wish to see, be a Burner citizen.

*Ok, it was a life-size cardboard cut out.

 

Madeline Snow and Rhianna Hobbs, representing Burning Seed at 2017's Global Leadership Conference.

 

 

 

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Catharsis on the Mall

Image via catharsisonthemall.com

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We need your help! Get involved in our Restructure Committee

When you hear the words ‘Burning Seed’, what springs to mind? Is it governance structures? Legal entities? Committees? …. No?

Well believe it or not, there’s a team of people behind Burning Seed that *absolutely love* a good organisational spreadsheet or project plan, and they’re needing your assistance.

It has been the dream of the directors of Red Earth City* that Burning Seed become a nonprofit run by a group of community members; however we’re not referring to the way we run the actual event, with awesome volunteers and on the ground involvement. That won’t change. What we’re referring to is the actual organisation behind Burning Seed; how the Burning Seed Org is structured, and how the management committee is selected.

Before any changes can be implemented, we need to take the pulse of the community to determine the best way forward.This ‘community pulse check’, will likely be an involved process, and will require a team of dedicated volunteers to assist with planning, executing and analysing the results.

Are you great at listening to community feedback? Interested in process analysis? Great at helping implement change and manage that process?

If so, then you can help Red Earth City Pty Ltd and the Burning Seed organisers consult the community by joining our volunteer group who will manage this consultation process.  We have heaps to learn about ourselves and each other, and we’re inviting you to be part of the process.  

You can read the full position description here. We know positions descriptions can sound dry, but this is a real opportunity to be involved in how Seed looks for years and years to come.  Once you’ve read the position description and decided that you’re interested in joining the team, you can register here.  Registration closes 21st April.

*More information on the Red Earth City organisation and how it relates to Burning Seed can be found here.

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A Message from Burning Man on Seed’s Cancellation

We're incredibly lucky to be part of global network of Burners who can no only share their fiery spirits when times are good, but also their support and strength when times get tough. Upon learning of Seed's cancellation, Ra$pa shared this message with the Burning Seed Community, on behalf of the Burning Man Org:
 
Dear Burning Seed Team and Australia Burner Community Members,
 
It is with sadness that we learned that Burning Seed needed to be cancelled due to the record rainfall and resulting serious safety issues. I wish to share with you Burning Man’s full support of your team and this difficult but unavoidable decision. We send our gratitude, love and support. Burning Seed is a shining light in the constellation of Burner events around the world and we are grateful to the team that valiantly sought to do all they could to overcome the obstacles at hand in the hope that the weather and flooding would subside.
 
When a vision cannot be fully realized it is, of course, normal that there will be sadness and frustration. So much energy goes into creating such an extraordinary community gathering that when it can’t actually happen as planned it is understandably heartbreaking. Be extra kind to one another and to yourselves, be patient and take the long view. This is clearly a case of Nature calling the shots. But is has also been our experience over 30 years that extreme weather tends to engender real community bonds and meaningful relationships in the long run. There may even be opportunities that arise from this cancellation. You may find opportunities to place art that was intended for Seed in public places before Burning Seed next year. You may find opportunities to bring something you love about Seed to your own home and neighborhood. Welcome that as a challenge. Welcome it as an inevitability and challenge yourselves during the time you would have gathered for Burning Seed and throughout the next year, to know you are all still together in the world and to be gloriously yourselves in your public streets and neighborhoods! You have planted a seed together for years. Each of you carry that seed within you and this year’s theme just became “Spill Over and Flood the Default World!”   ; )
 
Once again, we fully support your team and community of amazing and inspiring Burners. We share this moment with you as a seminal moment in your history and we are 1000% confident that the next Burning Seed will be all the more meaningful, resilient and amazing as a result! We stand with you in the world—wet or dry!
 
With Our Love, Support, and Encouragement to Take Pause…then Pick Yourselves Up and Burn all the More Radiantly.

 

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Harassment on The Paddock – It’s Not Ok

Burning Seed is an open and radically expressive event where you will encounter people pushing their own personal boundaries. Everyone deserves to feel safe at Burning Seed regardless of their gender, and we want to foster a safe environment for everyone to express themselves, therefore harassment at Seed is not tolerated. Examples of harassment include vulgar gestures, comments about someone’s sexual orientation, sexually explicit comments, leering, whistling, barking, kissing noises, following someone, flashing someone or exposing oneself, blocking someone’s path and sexual touching or grabbing. 
 
Here are 6 tips to also help you address harassment if it occurs:
 
  1. Use strong body language. Look the harasser in the eyes; speak in a strong, clear voice. Using your voice, facial expressions, and body language together, without mixed signals, show assertiveness and strength.
  2. Project confidence and calm. Even if you do not feel that way, it is important to appear calm, serious, and confident. 
  3. Do not apologise, make an excuse, or ask a question. You do not need to say sorry for how you feel or what you want. Be firm.
  4. You do not need to respond to diversions, questions, threats, blaming, or guilt-tripping. Stay on your own agenda. Stick to your point. Repeat your statement or leave.
  5. While it's important to be assertive, try not lose your temper: This type of reaction is the most likely to lead to anger and violence from the perpetrator. 
  6. Decide when you’re done. Success is how you define it. If you said what you needed to say and you’re ready to leave, do so.

If you still feel like someone is harassing you, you can call for the assistance of a Ranger to help you. 

Stay tuned for another instalment next week from the PEER Rangers, on some tips of what to say to someone who is harassing another Burner.

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