Burn Policies Worldwide

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This is the gateway page to Burn policies worldwide. Policies for everything you think there should be one for, and some for things that you haven't yet thought of. This is primarily a resource for Burn developers and managers who have an interest in creating or improving policy.

The Policies

Why do Burns seem so regulated?

For a group of free spirits, Burns and Burners might seem to be highly regulated. While there is a lot of published policy and procedures around Burns, observers might note the following:

  • Burn events and communities can experience a high turnover of participants, especially in leadership positions. Leaving aside the issue of whether this is a good or bad thing, the consequence is that Burns have had to use procedural documents to 'lock in' the expertise and wisdom of leaders that might otherwise be lost to the event and community. Having documented policies not only facilitates hand over between people responsible for organising the Burn, but also facilitates the training of large cohorts of new volunteers each year. In any year a significant proportion of participants at Burn events will be entirely new to Burn culture. The existence of documented procedures and protocols helps enable a large number of people to come together and build a functioning and creative community quickly. The dispersal of this community at the end of each Burn reinforces the need for documentation that carries forward the Burns ethos from year to year.
  • Burn events like all public events are subject to State regulation. Burns have a greater overhead of regulation than most events because they are usually multi-day, usually created on sites with minimal infrastructure, usually remote, and usually involve activities that require specific regulatory compliance such as the use of fireworks and flame effects. Burn events are usually held in the same places for many years. The Burn organisers are usually very mindful of maintaining the best possible relations with their host communities, and will work hard to make sure that participants are fully compliant not only with the expectations of the Burn community, but also with the requirements of their host community.
  • Regulation should be seen as an expression of care rather than of distrust of participant's expertise and good sense. The Burning community is a caring community.

Be cautious inferring intent

Readers should be very careful not to infer too much from the presence or absence here of documentation about any issues in respect to a particular Burn. Readers should be aware that this could stem from multiple causes including:

  • The process of identifying Burn policies from accessible websites in order to record them here is fallible. Different Burns record their policies in different ways and often only in one place in multiple documents and websites. In collecting them for this index it is quite likely that some material may have been overlooked.
  • Different Burns have different issues. Some that have higher turnover from year to year than others might have more documentation to enable their continuing functionality, or they might have less documentation due to the turnover having eroded their ability to create documentation. Some Burns operate in harsh and particularly dangerous locations. Others operate in unusual locations - such as indoors, or at scattered venues across a city. Some Burns simply don't have a particular circumstance that most others do, and hence will have minimal or no procedures or protocols for those circumstances.
  • Depending on the cultural and legal environment that different Burns operate in, some Burns may avoid publicly documenting some issues completely, and rely on word of mouth and other means to communicate with their participants.

Readers should also bear in mind that information here may become rapidly out of date. Some areas of policy in particular are evolving extremely rapidly - such as 'Consent' and 'Sustainability'. Readers should always use the hotlinks to check the accuracy of quoted procedures from any Burn, and should check the Burn websites to see if any additional documents have been linked on those websites relevant to the readers field of interest.

Structure of the Burn Policy pages

Eventually this Policy Gateway page will lead to separate pages for every major issue. For the most part the issues will be as granular as possible. This will facilitate searching and browsing for information by Burn developers and organisers who are looking for comparative material on specific issues. However, invariably different Burns have different ideas about how they allocate different issues to different documents, and about the language they use to describe these issues. So for example many Burns include regulations about the use of Drones within their commentary about Photography - but not all. Drones are however 'broken out' onto its own page in this Wiki because references to it within the Photographic protocols are usually easy to identify and extract. On the other hand, discussion of Media accreditation is often included in documented Photography protocols in ways which are very hard to separate from the general discussion of photography. Consequently Media has been included on the same Wiki page as Photography.

Each page in this Wiki detailing a specific policy area will take the form of:

  • General discussion
  • Alphabetic listing of Burns and quotes from that Burns documentation. Where possible the entirety of that Burns documentation will be quoted in full. The source of the quote will always be shown and will be a hot link to the original. Where a document is too long to quote in its entirety the Wiki will avoid making selective quotes from it as we do not wish to impose our biases as to what is most important and quotable. In those cases the document will not be quoted, but will be described and a hot link to the original will be provided
  • A table, showing for each Burn an encoded summary of all the significant elements of the policy. For example where Burns use wristbands to signal non-consent to photography, the code would be WB. The table will include an explanation of all of the codes in use in respect of that policy area.