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2017 Town Hall Summary & Upcoming Community Engagement Events

Did you venture into the Deeper Space of community with us at Burning Seed this year? If so thank you for showing up to Town Hall and contributing your thoughts to the process. If you missed it and want a recap you can check out the notes here.

We also wanted to share more about this process and the team with you. Creating a Community Engagement Process that will allow for many levels of contribution isn’t an easy task but we’ve been lucky to find several community members willing to attend at least two and sometimes four meetings a month that are at least two hours long if not more, spend many hours researching organisational structures, document many processes and develop project plans. Together the Restructure Committee have a diverse background of skills from leading community engagement processes like this for other groups and government organisations to being some of the core team members that help create Burning Seed, you can read more about the members here.

Every committee needs guidelines and the Restructure Committee is no different. You can check out our Terms of Reference here that outline the scope or the work we’re doing and read the blog post outlining our duties here.

Lastly, don’t forget that we have two more open consultations coming up in Melbourne and Sydney, please RSVP on the Facebook events for;

Melbourne: Thursday November 23rd 7:30-9:30pm

Sydney: Thursday November 30th 7:30-9:30pm

 

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Acknowledging Country

by Niki and Pete (Wiradjuri mob)

I would like to acknowledge the Wiradjuri people who are the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present of the Wiradjuri nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people present.

The Matong State Forest is Wiradjuri country, and here at Burning Seed we recognize the privilege of  being able to build our experimental community each year on this beautiful site. We feel we should not ignore the existence and ownership of this land by Aboriginal people before European settlement and acknowledge the history within the ritual of 'Welcome to Country', the ceremony performed each year at Red Earth City to formally launch the event.

Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement of Country

‘Welcome to Country’ is an important ceremony by Aboriginal people and it helps non-Indigenous people recognize Aboriginal culture and history and make connections with country. With Welcome to Country, Elders pay respect to custodians past and present as well as Elders past and present.

Before European settlement, despite the absence of fences or visible borders, Aboriginal groups had clear boundaries separating their country from that of other groups. Crossing into another group’s country required a request for permission to enter. When that permission was granted the hosting group would welcome the visitors, offering them safe passage

Spiritually, this is showing respect for the country and the custodians who are responsible for taking care of the country where we live… So what our custodians are doing is trying to give respect back into the country.

Respecting Tradition

It was the tradition of Aboriginals that when strangers came into their particular country to hunt or to gather, or to just pass through on their way to other places, that the host Aboriginals would go out to welcome them. When they met, there would be the formalities of greeting. Part of the ceremony of welcome would be the men sitting around and talking men’s business (share knowledge and lore) whilst the host women would take the visiting women and children to a women’s site to talk women’s business.

When this was completed, the two groups would join again and the men would trade and hunt for kangaroo, goannas or bush turkey - and the women would prepare an area for eating and would gather firewood and berries, fruit, nuts and lily roots for a meal.

Dancing, Singing, Leaving No Trace (sound familiar!?)

Then the ceremonies, the corroborees dancing would commence, the singing songs around the fire could well go on, not only all night, but sometimes for many nights in a row. Each with a message within their own stories. Men, women and children all taking part. Whilst during the day, the visiting tribe would be taken and shown the sites of significance and be told the stories of the spirit of the land they would be passing.

In this way, the hosts believed that by the end of formalities, when the strangers were ready to move on they would not be considered not strangers but friends who now had the spirit of the country in their heart. They believed that once the spirit of the land was in their hearts, then those people would never damage the land they would love it and care for it like those whose home country it was…

History

A Welcome to Country is about Aboriginal people acknowledging the past, and looking to the future. It is often delivered by an Aboriginal person who has themselves been the victim of government policies.

Our Elders do the Welcome to Country as an act of generosity. These are the same people who have had their children taken away, or been removed themselves. They’re the same people who had their wages stolen by successive governments. They’re the same people who had their ancestors’ remains raided by grave robbers. They’re the same people who were disposed from their lands and forced on to missions and reserves.

And yet despite all of these terrible events and the horrendous treatment by so many parliaments, these very same people are still prepared to say ‘welcome’ to the very people who in some cases have presided over the oppression.

We encourage everyone to come along and join in to the ceremonies, to be welcomed, feel loved and pay our respects to Country. Still today we all have Knowledge to share for a better future.

Niki and Pete 

Pete tending the Sacred Fire at Welcome to Country in 2015

Pete tending the Sacred Fire at Welcome to Country in 2015 (photo: Ryan McRobb)

Yindyamarra Circle near First Camp at Seed 2015

Yindyamarra Circle near First Camp at Seed 2015

The Sacred Fire (photo: Ryan McRobb)

The Sacred Fire (photo: Ryan McRobb)

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Seed Sanitation Needs a Number Two!

OK so once you have recovered from the lolz of that headline it’s time to get to the serious business of crewing for our ass-spanking new Department of Sanitation!

Lara, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s resident “Squeaky Queen” (aka Sanitation Lead and DPI Co-Lead) is seeking a Prince or Princess Poo and a loyal crew of Kennys and Kenriettas to help ensure our 80+ executive thrones around the Paddock are functional, full of water, clean and stocked with paper twice a day.

Flushed with Success

Before you hold your nose - this is actually a privileged roll (geddit!) at Seed - the real dirty business is done by the paid professionals!

As a member of Sanitation Crew you will get:

  • hot showers (WTF!)
  • 3 prepared meals a day during build and packdown (Holy Sh*t!)
  • 1 prepared meal/day + self-serve snacks and food during the event (is this a joke!!?)
  • massive kudos and thanks from EVERYONE on the Paddock for helping to deliver the best facilities ever known in a field in the middle of a forest (OK where do I sign up!!)

To live like a KING or QUEEN at Seed all you need to do is twice a day make sure the toilets are clean by removing the empty toilet rolls and random other MOOP, giving the real messy ones a run over, replacing the toilet rolls and restocking the hand sanitiser. POO EASY!!

The Wee Hours

The team needs enough Crew to cover the period 26 September to 4 October, for 2-4 shifts of around 2-3 hours at sunrise and before sunset during the event.

So by gifting a minimum 4 hours of your time to the Cistern Chapels of Burning Seed YOU GET THE KEY TO THE EXECUTIVE WASHROOM!

If you are hot for the trots and keen to get your hands CLEAN (did you see that bit about hot showers!!!?) then contact the Crew Wranglers before they get clogged up with applications (and they will!) - jointhecrew@burningseed.com

Are You a Number Two?

Are you Number Two material? Lara showed us last year that she knows how to take care of business... her initiative, attention to detail, and incredible hard work made 2015 the cleanest and most hygenic Burning Seed we’ve ever seen - but Lara needs an equally capable 2iC who is ready to be showered with gratitude by the community and train to be Number One in 2017.

If you're keen and think you have what it takes find out more from the crew wranglers at jointhecrew@burningseed.com haha poo crew wranglers more lolz!! (OK enough now).

Moving-a-toilet-768x576

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Burning Seed 2016 – First Site Visit!!

Red Earth... but no City - YET!

Plenty of Red Earth… but no City – YET!

It begins! We’re six months out from what promises to be the best Burning Seed yet and crew from Seed’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) made the first site visit of the year this week to check in with the local community and start making plans for site works and improvements.

Running an event like Burning Seed is no short term deal. As the event has grown (and continues to grow) over the years, much work is involved in managing that growth, being mindful of the impacts on the site and on the local community, and taking account of a range of factors that relate to our commitment to Seed as a sustainable event.

Each year brings new lessons about how the event can be improved. For instance the DPI crew spent time on site last week reviewing the situation with roadworks, with a view to expanding the space particularly around the Gatehouse to ensure adequate lanes for emergency exit and to help address the problems in 2015 of the traffic bottleneck near Gate/Greeters.

DPI crew start their journey towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI crew on the road towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI also met with the sanitation team that handled all our 85+ toilets and 70,000 litres of toilet waste last year to talk about better ways of getting the waste trucks in and out of the Paddock, and to begin consultation on any additional infrastructure needed.

The site visit also provided an opportunity for the DPI crew to meet with our friends in the local community in and around Matong to discuss more ways that we can help leverage Seed for the benefit of local people.

For example, we raised more than $3000 in funds for local schools last year with our ice sales, and there are some great new ideas and initiatives emerging for 2016, including raising funds from the local collection of garbage on departure from Seed, and potential water deliveries to site.

If you want to get involved in crew for DPI or any other team get in touch NOW with our crew wranglers by signing up on the website.

And, if you haven’t already signed up for the Red Earth Ecology planting weekend next month – 22-24 April – now is the time!

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Seedtech — keeping you in the loop

The 2015 Burning Seed theme was a chance to road test an online voting tool, which was gifted to us by a Burner and community-engagement honcho, Keren Flavell. This kind of tool will be the first of many opportunities for you to better vote, engage, give feedback or just stay in the loop with Burning Seed.

While we would love to be able to sit around the Paddock with you all and chew the fat about our co-created Seed adventure, we all spend a large amount of time apart, online and only in contact with our closer community of Burner friends.

We’re therefore keen to develop more platforms like Town Hall Social so that our community can keep up the conversation about the past, present and future of Seed, even when we’re all apart.

For the 2015 Burning Seed theme, the community was able to help shortlist the top five theme choices with the help of Town Hall Social. This allowed them to rank their favourites while also seeing the overall community results in real time. In the new year, we plan to utilise this tool for more community voting around the theme design and a new logo for Burning Seed. 

But our tooltime doesn’t stop there. Each year, we run our annual census with the help of Amelia Loye (yay Bubbles) and her generous gift of a full licence for Survey Gizmo. This year, we’ve also heard your questions and sent the answers right back atcha’ with the help of Slideshare. Our 2013 Effigy and identity Survey also received a lot of interest.

Stay tuned for more feedback frenzy when we publish the Burning Seed 2014 AfterBurn report at the end of January. In the new year, we will also create another opportunity for you to share your further thoughts and suggestions for the consent issue.

With so much techie talent in our community, we’re keen to hear what further tool tips you have for crowdgenerating ideas, taking the pulse of the community and just generally having a yak. Friends, Burners, countrymen and women, lend us your ideas!

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Town Halls: building our local communities

Sydney and Melbourne have kicked off regular Town Hall meetings, with the first Sydney one held on November 12 and Melbourne meeting on November 13. Both cities plan to hold these meetings quarterly.

The Town Halls and our exploration of online tools are part of an ongoing dedication to providing more opportunities for a little more conversation and a lot more action within the community! These platforms are not just aimed at the Burning Seed event, but are a springboard for moving beyond the Paddock, building our local communities and creating other Burner initiatives.

Sydney Town Hall
The two regional contacts Jayman and Neilo led the Town Hall with three main objectives:

    • Demystify and create clarity between a Burning Man local community and events such as Burning Seed/Blazing Swan.
    • Explain how the proposed changes to the Australian original legal entity are seeking to align with this.
    • Discuss how to own your Sydney Burning Man community.

You can read the notes here Sydney Burning Man Community Town Hall[bra_divider height=’10’]Melbourne Town Hall

Rather than setting an agenda, the two Regional Contact hosts, Jodi York and Justin Mcghee, came to the meeting with cards and markers so that participants could write down topics they wished to discuss.  Some of these were specifically related to Burning Seed, but efforts were made to ground the discussion in the Melbourne community.  Discussion topics included:

    • cultivating a consent and LNT culture at our events — our culture is very precious to us, and protecting it is *everyone’s* responsibility
    • the relationship between Melbourne Burner Community, Burning Seed, Red Earth City pty ltd, and Burning Man Australia (which remains confusing to many participants)
    • identifying financial priorities of the Melbourne community, including possible local art grants and collaborating with like-minded events like Figment
    • creating space for new projects like Burners without Borders and other innovations —get in touch with your RC or with Burning Man Australia, put in a proposal for things you’d like to see, and we’ll see how we can support you!
    • supporting our friends in Tasmania (who now have a dedicated FB page!)
    • sourcing information on and participating in the ongoing conversation about the future of Burning Man in Australia.
Pic by Onur Ka