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Burning Man and Transformational Event Cultures

A 2-day symposium — Burning Man and Transformational Event Cultures — took place at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Nov 29–30, 2018.

This event was hosted at the University of Fribourg, the home of Burning Progeny, a four-year multi-sited study of the European adaptation of Burning Man and its ethos. With non-exclusive attention to Burning Man and its movement, the symposium was intended to explore the wide parameters of transformational event cultures.

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Over its three-decades of operation Burning Man became the prototypical transformational event culture. Originating as a small effigy burn on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986, Burning Man evolved into a temporary city rebuilt annually in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert (with a 2017 population of approx. 80,000), before becoming a global movement with dozens of Regional Events worldwide. Through the actions of community leaders within its transnational diaspora, and actively cultivated by the Burning Man Project, the ethos of Burning Man has been transposed within events now held in over thirty countries. 


As a forum for the exploration of a variety of perspectives on Burning Man and other event cultures, this symposium hosted scholars and practitioners discussing the social, cultural, religious, economic and political dimensions of event culture movements.

The symposium is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg, the Swiss Society for the Study of Religion, and Aalto University School of Business. The event is hosted by Prof Francois Gauthier, Dr. Graham St John, and Dr. Botond Vitos, from the Dept. of Social Science, University of Fribourg.

Click here to access the Figshare repository of the presentations.

See the below PDFs for the complete programme and abstracts/bios of the presenters.


Click here to access the photos from the Symposium.

Videos from the Symposium:

Day 1

















Day 2

















Day 2: apologies for the subpar audio quality of the following videos!


2018-12-01 by Sergei Dzhosyuk M.jpg
symp group photo 2 by Sascha

Photo credits: Sascha Baridara

Photo credits: Sergei Dzhosyuk

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