2023 Census & ALM Wrap Up

This month we have info from the census and a report from the All Leads Meeting

Whoooooo are you?

JK, we know a lot about who you all are thanks to our 2023 census!

For example… some how each year we continue to get older.

This year, the average Nowhere participant was 38 years old, up from last year’s average of 37.

Bienvenidos españoles (or at least people who live in Spain)! 🇪🇸

For the last number of years, our largest population always came from France. However, Spanish residents have now pulled into the lead with 23% (combining Spain and Catalunya).

Plus de chance la prochaine fois les camemberts 😉

Overall, we had participants come from 39 different countries. Pretty cool.

Not surprisingly, you all like to travel and have been to lots of other burns around the world.

Most of you helped our vibrant community and volunteered. Whether it was for a NORG shift, a barrio role, or a year-long leads role, we super appreciate all of your work! We hope you had a great time and learned interesting skills.

If you want to read the full Nowhere 2023 census…

ALM – What happened?!?

We have collected the notes and organized the spreadsheets. Want to know what we talked about at the All Leads Meeting (ALM) last October?

The juiciest topics of conversation were…

  • Commitment and Communication
  • Visual Consent & Signage
  • Budgets & Tickets
  • Ticket prices & Population
  • Changing Site
  • Volunteer Incentives & Recruitment Strategies
  • Crew Conflict Management & Resolution
  • Decision Making
  • Toilets
  • Mandatory Volunteering
  • Gate hours of Operation
  • Making set up and strike better
  • Consent

What was said?

Communication, Commitment, Crew Conflict Management & Resolution
We dived deep into our internal communication strategies, the way we relate to each other, the current motivational efforts across departments, how we aim to resolve conflict, how we ultimately make decisions and overall how we can work together towards a healthier structure that nurtures all members and encourages the team to continue to make an effort towards each other.

We agreed on creating more training opportunities for leads, as well as their roles being very well defined, be it through job role descriptions and/or clear task outlines, as one of the main pillars to help communication flow.

We also agreed to review and update crew conflict procedures, make sure that they’re still aligned with the way we want to do things, as well as invite every member of the team to take part in a conflict management workshop where we will explore leadership skills, ways of giving feedback in a more diplomatic way, and dealing with tension where a friendship or strong bond might be involved.

Budgets, tickets & population
Around these topics, we took the weekend to, after having seen the financial report for 2023, discuss where the money is being spent, where we might be able to cut costs, what it has meant to create an event where we projected our finances around being sold out but ended up with only 80% of the tickets being purchased, and how we can continue to have a sustainable event that works out financially, as well as giving our dear nobodies a fair ticket that they’ll be able to afford.

Whilst we wait for the financial report of 2023 to be put on the website in January 24 once we’ve closed the accounts for the year, you can have a look at a simplified version last updated in October here.

We worked around different ticketing structure scenarios, discussed the numbers for next year’s event, sat through some great presentations about potential new ways to sell tickets for the future, and formed new working groups that since then have been putting all their efforts into finding ways to make the ticket prices more affordable.

Volunteer Incentives & Recruitment
Around these two very strong topics, we went through the potential points of failure that left the event at risk last year as we lacked enough volunteers for set up and strike, resulting in the creation of incentives to try and recruit volunteers more successfully.

Besides some organizational issues beforehand, including the uncertainty of whether there would be an event and the late ticket release, we also identified the internal ways that we can continue to recruit and nurture nobodies.

These include leads being encouraged within their role to recruit team members, new website having participation as a focus, structure charts and code of conduct documents more accessible to all involved, clearer communications about FIST and a strong emphasis on crucial event time volunteers.

A conversation on mandatory volunteering was also had, ending in the agreement by all participants that it is not the aim that we want to have as a community, and that we should find other ways to make volunteering more visible to everyone. A potential structural set up is being considered, and it would include the need to have a FIST account before the ticket purchase process is finalized.

Consent, Visual Consent and R&R
Including several presentations and working groups around these topics, we went through some of the consent issues and statistics around the event, as well as the internal grievances and relationships within NORG. After going through the different conversations around these subjects, we agreed that there needs to be a clearer outline of responsibilities between Recruitment & Relationships, Participant Wellness and Consent, as well as the need to recruit a few extra leads, including a R&R nobody dedicated to crew conflict and another nobody focusing on code of conduct. We’re also focusing on the communication structure between teams to ensure information about people and potential breaches of consent is shared as efficiently as possible.
Regarding the Visual Consent conversations, participants dived in the different ways that we might be able to create a healthier event where visual consent is also taken into consideration, by creating safeguarding lead positions, structuring the sex positive events and activities in a clearer way, having signs indicating spaces where vulnerable population might be at visual risk and creating an educational approach culture where there is not shaming but rather constructive discussions around the topic.

Site Logistics
Within all the site logistics conversations, some of the most exciting outcomes include the aim to have compostable toilets for our next edition, as well as an incredibly motivated team hunting down a potential Nowhere site and the conversation on whether buying land to save on future costs and promote community events might be a possibility.

A discussion was also had about the gate hours of operations, and it was agreed between the participants that the gate should be and will be closed at night through the event.