2024 ELS Call for Content Guide


In this guide, you’ll learn how to co-create the 2024 European Leadership Summit (ELS) by proposing content that shares your knowledge with other Burning Man community builders. Get ready to showcase your experiences, hard-won expertise, inspirations, and challenges so we share the tools needed to build a more connected and creative world together!

About Content at ELS

  • Our goal for the ELS is to foster co-learning amongst community builders and co-creators from across Burning Man’s global network. 
  • We want to draw inspiration from a broad and diverse spectrum of perspectives from around the world that will help create and facilitate a more connected and creative world inspired by Burning Man’s mission.
  • We want to empower attendees by giving them tools and tangible skills to immediately apply in their roles as community builders and culture co-creators in the world.
  • We want to welcome creative contributions including art installations, performances, and experiences that will inspire participants and enrich the summit adventure.

So with that in mind, how can you help co-create the European Leadership Summit?

The Top 10 Things to Know

If you only read one section in this Call for Content guide…read these ten points.

  1. The deadline to submit art and performance proposals is 1 March 2024 at 23:59 EEST. The deadline to submit content proposals is 23 January 2024 at 23:59 EEST. You must submit content, art, and performance proposals through the ELS Content Proposal Form.
  2. Everyone can submit content for the European Leadership Summit. We would like to hear voices from around the world brought to this global stage, and you are an integral part of achieving this.
  3. We don’t pay speaking or performing fees. If your idea is selected, the costs to participate in the ELS (summit registration, travel, accommodation) are covered by you.
  4. Work on developing your proposal into a clear idea or message. Try telling a friend what your content is about in 30 seconds, or keep at it until you can. 
  5. What do you want attendees to take away from your talk, discussion, panel or workshop? Get clear on it and take us there!
  6. Keep your content decommodified. If there is a business or product you want to promote as part of your content, this is not the place for it. 
  7. Review what the ELS participants need to know. See if you can align your ideas to help them address their challenges. Or lean into the theme of BEing & Bridging: Together we Gather.
  8. Be a storyteller. Be an educator. Be yourself. These are all characteristics of speakers at the ELS over the years. See examples of great sessions here.
  9. Don’t rush. Take time to think through the purpose of your content and how it can serve community builders who are building bridges and trying to make the world a more connected and creative place together.
  10. If you submit a proposal, it means that you are excited to…
    • be responsible for conception, creation and delivery of your session.
    • receive coaching on your content with a member of the Content Team. This is to help you and your ideas shine at the ELS and balance the overall range of programming. 
    • communicate promptly with the ELS production team and meet required production deadlines – such as providing finished slides and other media to us ahead of the ELS. 
    • plan and practice your session, valuing your audience’s attention and being respectful of people who are speaking after you.

What Does an ELS Participant Need to Know?

We’re looking for content that is relevant to the Burning Man European Leadership Summit participants. We’ve collected feedback from Regional Contacts, official Regional Events, and community builders across the Regional Network, and here are some of the current burning topics where they need additional support:

Community and Organization Development Needs
The top-ranked areas of community and organization development needs were:

      1. Civic project development.
      2. Acculturation and local application of the 10 Principles.
      3. Radical inclusion, diversity and equity.
      4. Leadership / Board development.
      5. Environmental sustainability.
      6. Fundraising tips (grant application, benefit events).

People Management Needs
The top-ranked areas of people management needs were:

      1. Volunteer recruitment + management (retention, development).
      2. Volunteer succession planning + implementation.
      3. Code of Conduct development and implementation.
      4. Crisis communications support.
      5. Conflict management + resolution.
      6. Project management (application of processes and resources toward a goal).

Community Event Production Support Needs
The top-ranked community event production support needs were:

      1. Practices supporting inclusion, diversity and equity.
      2. Practices supporting environmental sustainability.
      3. Finding suitable event spaces/locations.
      4. Insurance.

This is not an exhaustive list – and we’re open to all ideas – but hopefully, this gives you a sense of some of what would be relevant to ELS participants. Case studies and creative ideas to help explore solutions to challenges in these areas would be awesome.

Who is a Speaker at the ELS?

Anyone can submit a proposal to speak at the European Leadership Summit. We would like to hear the voices of diverse speakers from around the world brought to this global stage, and you are an integral part of achieving this. The ELS is a co-created event and we encourage everyone to participate! 

Speaking Formats

These are the common formats for sharing content at the European Leadership Summit. As you prepare your proposal, consider which of these might be the best to highlight the content you want to share.

  • Talk: Information on an important topic delivered classroom-style with time for Q&A. 
  • Panel: Panelists represent a range of experiences, philosophies, and approaches to a common question with a designated moderator. 
  • Group Discussion: A topic is presented with participants spending a majority of the session discussing in one large group or small groups. 
  • Dine-Around: Casual small group discussion about a topic over a meal. 
  • Workshop: Hands-on skill-building, co-learning activity (e.g. how to …).
  • Wellness/Movement Activity 
  • Demonstration: Presentation or showcase of a project. 

How to Craft a Strong Content Proposal

Participation in the European Leadership Summit is your moment to share knowledge, facilitate connection, and inspire action. So what makes good content?

  • It Invites New Perspectives
    We’re looking for proposals that bring in a variety of perspectives, outside of Burner norms and stereotypes associated with a topic. Go for brand-new thinking or a fresh perspective on an age-old challenge. 
  • It has a single, clear message explored deeply

We’re looking for ideas that have a clear direction and avoid covering several topics and issues without answering none of them. Offer a key message with depth so that ELS participants will feel knowledgeable when they walk away.

Remember, if you have more session ideas/topics, you can enter multiple content proposals. 

  • It demonstrates a benefit to the audience

We encourage you to begin thinking around your content idea by answering a simple question – so what? What will the ELS attendees gain from attending your talk or discussion? Illustrate your thoughts with some real-world examples of what best practice looks like. Show us how it’s done or help the attendees learn from your mistakes. 

  • It asks (and answers) thought-provoking questions

We’re looking for a session that challenges assumptions and offers new (and radical) ideas. It’s not only asking but providing or drawing out from participants, answers to those questions and ideas for solutions. Challenge ELS participants to think differently. If you’re interviewing others as part of your proposal, ask the difficult questions. 

  • It is relevant to the European Leadership Summit audience

The tools, tips and ideas you share need to apply to Regional Contacts, Regional Event leads, artists, and community-builders. We’re looking for something that uses creative examples and could be used immediately by ELS participants when they return to their local communities – even if your ideas and examples are not from the Burner world.

  • It has Radical Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in mind

We are looking for proposals that have considered radical inclusion, diversity, and equity – both in the selection of speakers to represent the content and in the ideas and perspectives presented. Please make sure your session reflects the world at large. Does it speak to a global audience? Is your session inclusive? Perhaps it even goes beyond the Burner world to consider others who are strongly connected with Burner ethos.

  • It lets you be a storyteller and builds connection

We are looking for content that makes people feel something – an emotional connection that you build with the ELS attendees. What do you want the audience to feel after your session – joy, motivation, curiosity to learn more? Present your ideas because it’s your passion! And if you can, don’t just tell, show. Think of how you can share examples to bring your point to life. Be a storyteller.

  • It is original in its format

Innovate in the way you tell your story. Bring a demo, introduce props, use some innovative audiovisual components. 

  • But ultimately…it doesn’t need to be perfect

What we’re looking for are fresh ideas, inspiring case studies, and lessons learned from your experiences – even if they are still a bit raw/unfinished..

Call for Content Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still have a question?  Check out the Call for Content FAQs.

Ready to Submit a Proposal?

Read the preview of the questions in the ELS content proposal form. Then fill out the ELS content proposal form before 23 January 2024 at 23:59 EEST!  

We can’t wait to co-create the 2024 Burning Man European Leadership Summit with you!