Big news coming from Public Lab: after many years of fun, creative, and successful Annual Barnraisings, this year’s event (November 3rd-5th!) will be the last of its kind -- at least for the time being -- as we shift focus to Regional Barnraisings.
Why we’re changing:
While all involved have enjoyed the Annual Barnraising, we’ve been watching trends and listening to takeaways. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed how difficult it is for people to travel all the way out to the wetlands of Louisiana, and once there, there’s not much time to work on local environmental issues. Meanwhile, we've seen a lot of growth and excitement at the Regional Barnraisings. There is a lot of passion in place-based projects, and we’re eager to put more power behind that movement.
After this year what we’ll be doing instead:
Starting in 2018, the Gulf Coast event will be reframed as a Regional Barnraising focused on local issues and with local partners. In addition, a second Regional Barnraising will happen somewhere else in the United States every year.
What are Regional Barnraisings, and how are they different?:
The first Regional Barnraising event was hosted in 2014 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since then we’ve held them across the US in Chicago, Illinois; Val Verde, California; and this year in Morgantown, West Virginia (June 24th and 25th). We have found the Regional Barnraising event style really successful and are committing energies to growing it out.
Like all Public Lab events, the Regional events are open to anyone interested in attending. It features a specific local issue and always is hosted in partnership with at least one local partner who is on the frontlines of that issue. The event allows for people to stay local, share skill-sets, build networks of locally involved and invested partners, and tends to bring out many first timers to Public Lab. This emphasis has surged attention into specific environmental concerns and projects, made space for creative collaboration, and bolstered the ability of people to bring in fresh ideas and synergy for their projects.
What we’re committed to keeping, testing out, and integrating:
In years to come, we are committed to hosting a Regional Barnraising in the Gulf Coast annually. It is the founding location of Public Lab, and there is so much here to do! We also anticipate that the Gulf Coast event could be hosted in different states across the region.
We recognize that a shift away from one collective annual event potentially reduces people’s cross-regional collaboration. Taking that into account, we will make a targeted effort to fundraise for travel stipends for individuals who would travel to attend the regional events. As always, we encourage folks from all regions to attend all Barnraisings, regardless of where their “home base” is.
We are also committed to posting materials on Public Lab about how to host Regional Barnraisings. In our current capacity, the non-profit is able to host two Regional Barnraising events each year, but we also see room for growth in our ability to support Public Labbers in other areas around the world to host their own Regional Barnraising events, and we are committed to supporting groups who wish to do so! Also in the pipeline, we’re brainstorming for a larger environmental monitoring and community science gathering in the next couple of years.
There are a lot of ideas, and we’d love to hear yours. We’re committed to listening to feedback on this, and over time, reevaluating event styles and shifts. Don’t hesitate to write in, and we’ll also host an Open Call Tuesday, June 6th at 3pm ET (7pm GMT) on this topic. In the meantime--
Save the Date! The Annual Barnraising will be November 3rd-5th in Cocodrie Louisiana!
Annual Barnraisings through the years...