From Radical to Routine: Burning Man and the Transformation of a Countercultural Movement

I’ve invested more of myself into this project than I ever imagined. I believe what I have produced is important, and I know it is of interest. If you are inspired to express gratitude for my work in a commentary or monetary form, please do!   The following is the first introductory chapter of my Masters of Cultural Sustainability Thesis, presented to Goucher College in January 2016. Subsequent chapters will be published to this site each week.   First, I must extend my deepest thanks to my thesis committee, chaired by ... {read more}

Cultural Policy and Cultures of Creativity: Can public policies constrain or encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?

I’m mining my past work for my thesis and rediscovering pieces and phrases that should have been shared long ago. For example, this was written in December 2012, for Goucher College. Cultural Policy and Cultures of Creativity: Can public policies constrain or encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?   Culture as a policy decision Common social beliefs (or cultures) are “not products of nature but of politics.”[1] Therefore, concepts of social norms, identity, morals and ideas of what is respected and encouraged are “policy ... {read more}

A Civic Confirmation Bias Check In

So, New Geography just reposted this piece by  John Sanphillipo that originally got air over at Granola Shotgun on Christmas Day (wierd day to post, right?). And I’m jumping on that band wagon (“OMG, I love this song!“) while also adding a little commentary of my own. Sanphillipo rightly points out that all cities – ‘crown jewels of urban planning’ (Portland) or ‘mistake on the lake’ (Cleveland) have sunny, beautiful, ugly and dirty sides, and with this, I completely agree. So many ... {read more}

So Long, SantaCon: Culture Jamming gets Conventional

The recent frequency of cultural appropriation arguments has created a common vocabulary (and often weak understanding) for arguments regarding the protecting, preserving and communicating the value of cultural traditions. But what of a culture that is based on disruption, a culture that thrives on a slash and burn approach to its own customs, whose tradition is to instigate experiences of culture jamming and dissonance, for its own members (you may already be one) and everyone else too? Summary by ActionGrl (sourced from Facebook): for many ... {read more}

Thesis Update: Gentrification and Burning Man

Above: Signs of gentrification (according to In the process of working towards my thesis, I’ve found tighter boundaries that I’m comfortable with. Following my experiences and observations in Black Rock City this year, I’m now seeing my thesis as an exploration of gentrification as a necessary part of the trajectory of emergent culture (and its interaction with dominant mainstream culture) and using Burning Man as a case study (of gentrification) I want to look at gentrification as a stage of ... {read more}
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