Parallel Constructs: Burning Man and Mediation

Three chairs, shade from the relentless sun, and a kitchen timer. These are some of the tools of mediator Ron Kelly as told to Timothy Hedeen in the Fall 2009 Conflict Resolution Quarterly article, “Challenging Conventions in Challenging Conditions: Thirty Minute Mediations at Burning Man.“ Ron Kelly, a San Francisco mediator and educator, describes setting up a mediation booth in the middle of the dessert at a radical, super-sized arts festival called The Burning Man Project. Applying core principals of mediation to a fast track format, Kelly guides his clients through a thirty minute session that is free for the offering. Kelly offers his services as a gift to the Burning Man community. Like others, he arrives each summer ready to share and participate in a unique experiment. I confess that Kelly’s description of his experimental approach to mediation captures my imagination. I have long harbored a mediation booth fantasy.
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