Burning Stories: Combining science and arts, studying the impact of participatory cultures

Burning Man is a hot topic but too often with instagram and not with science. Lets fix that and get geeky! Why and how do people get involved with the participatory culture communities such as Burning Man? What does the involvement bring into one´s life and what it does not bring? What might the future look like for the people who were involved in some of the projects and doing regional events? The questions of the 45 minute presentation will be shortly illustrated by the latest research results from ​Burning Stories​, ​Burning Progeny and few other research projects. The practical examples are drawn both from Burning Man (US) and the Nordic Burning Man community ​Borderland​. The second half of the event (60min) will be co-creative with an extensive Q&A, among each other. Here the aim, together, is to explore:

– Your view! Why and how do people get involved with the participatory culture communities? – How does a community take shape – both via projects and events? – What possible impact this, the possible individual transformation, has on the society? – What are the different pitfalls in sustaining the community and with the growth? – Any other topic that should be explored, discussed, and do something?

Evening is hosted by Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä (BIO below) who is the founder and general janitor of Burning Stories project that blends art and science, aiming to understand the transformational impact of Burning Man to individuals and to society. The Q&A session will be co-facilitated by [insert possible name here] Burning Stories ​research animation Burning Man Journal ​article​ on Burning Stories Type of event: ​Presentation + Q&A with everyone, timed 2 hours.     //// Additional info on Burning Stories ////     Burning Stories – combining science and arts, studying the transformation of Burning Man participants and its impact to the society (2018–)
The aim of Burning Stories ​is to study the global Burning Man community and, in particular, the participants of Black Rock City. We seek to explain the processes through which community membership of Burning Man participants evolves across time and space, and how this, in turn, affects the society.​The project ​website explains the project more in-detail, also see Burning Man ​Journal posting for more information. Some current facts about Burning Stories:

● Burning Stories is an open platform for scholars from various disciplines to study participatory cultures as they wish, and for artists to engage with science. Its an attempt to model a scientific
project with an organisational model of
​ self-organising on contrary to usual admin heavy science projects.

● The aim is to combine arts, in data collection and results in dissemination. The first example is Burning Stories’ ​ research animation and the preliminary data is already used by musicians. The data will be disseminated via art installations.

● Data sharing. With a full GDPR compliance and participant consent, data is shared back to the community, some even before publishing.

● Impact-driven. We wish to support the community. This year the preliminary data was in use at the Cultural Correction ​ posting.
● Explore social sciences in novel ways. Overall the aim is to create a cross-disciplinary, explorative, playful and a bit barrier pushing platform. The longer-term aim is to create a major scientific impact on a less known, but rapidly growing cultural phenomenon.

● Despite its scale, project is not funded, a lot of work has been done pro bono. Not being funded has enabled the co-creative, inclusive and experimental nature of the project.

● Ongoing and forthcoming data collection includes a second round of narrative data collection in early November where the project website survey is promoted via official Burning Man channels. This data collection is aimed to continue at least until 2023.

● The co-creative work of this is very much work-in-progress. There will be a Burning Man Organisation & Leadership Science Seminar in Aalto 03/2020. Stay tuned!
In addition to data collection via the website, the latest methodological pilot has been the ​Story Sharing Cubes that were funded by the ​Borderland community (Nordic Burning Man) through a ​Dreams grant portal where every event participant can participate in funding projects and propose projects. The co-lead is anthropologist Terje Toomistu, her work on Soviet Hippies was featured in​Guardian​. There is currently a master thesis research on the​ ​design of the cubes​.

The project that applies a new form of organizing a science project. Work with organizational philosophers has enabled that this project as a self-organized modeled project, allowing less burden on administration and bringing more creativity. Current research topics from organizational philosophers, ​who are in public explaining why Finns are very upset after being announced as the happiest country on the planet, in the team include a variety of organizational studies and a study focusing on ​psychological safety​. The first paper on psychological safety in temporary organizations has been submitted for a review.