The Nobel banquet and Burning man are both two projects where people are gathered for a cultural experience. Both events focus on acknowledging some kind of performance, whether it is an artwork or some kind of scientific discovery. Burning man is described as a “cultural manifest expressed through art, communal effort and innumerable individual acts of self-expression”. The Nobel banquet is an event where Nobel winners are celebrated for their special achievement for humanity through their careers.
These two events seems too differ at first as they each contains of a unique setup of activities with a cultural experience far from each other. But I believe that out of a project management view, they are very similar in their planning stage as well as in their execution. Each of the projects contains of a certain amount of activities that’s often dependent on a time schedule. Although the activities differ in the two events, they can be seen as similar objectives. Some examples of these objectives are that a certain amount of people should be able to attend the events, and specific performances like speeches, songs or any kind of display should follow accordingly to a planned schedule.
As for the scheduling of the two projects they both need a long time of planning and preparation in comparison with the relatively short execution. This applies in particular The Nobel banquet were many people needs to be maintained under a very short amount of time. Maybe one of the biggest differences in the planning of these two is that Burning man needs to include different artists in its planning. These artists, who will perform under the event, have the ability to affect the managers in their planning of the project. The artist can also affect the possibility to achieve the goals and objectives as they have a quite large amount of power as stakeholders. In opposite, the project managers of The Nobel banquet are more independent towards its stakeholders, most of the power is in the managers hands.
The scope for the two events can be described as comprehensive in their own different ways. Burning man is a project over several days included many different artists and thousands of participants that needs to be taken care of, this creates a huge task for the managers in planning the logistics. Although The Nobel banquet has fewer activities it is also a major task. The accuracy in the different performances needs to be flawless, many hours is spent planning the smallest things for the event. And because of all the media cowering the event, room for errors are not allowed.
These two events are both inspiring in their own way, and maybe also in their opposite way. They are two unique projects that really takes their purpose to the extreme.
8 thoughts on “A comparison between The Nobel banquet and Burning man”
Fifty Shades: I like that you mention that both events is a cultural experiences, I never see the Nobel Peace banquet as that until now. I agree with you that both events needs a lot of planing but in terms of execution, the time comparison to planning is lesser. However, I would like to argue that the artists will not affect the planning of the Project Manager if the project is carefully planned and the organiser knows how and what exactly the role of the artist. So the PM will have control of the artists instead and not the other way round.
Note that the Nobel Peace prize is marked by a ceremony in Oslo, while the other prizes are given at the Banquet event in Stockholm. In Alfred Nobel’s days, Norway and Sweden were united as one country (in many regards but not entirely).
Hej Erik, Can you add links to the original posts on OSS of the two projects?
COuld it be that the linking concept is “rite” or “ritual”? Each is a partly acted, partly collaborative, large, annual experience for people who share some beliefs.
I like that you clearly identify the objectives that are common between projects – knowing how many people are attending, the program of the ritual, etc.
What are the parallel requirements for the respective “performers” – the Nobel banquet has a mix of royal speeches, laureates, speeches, and artists & musicians. SOme change, some stay from year to year. Is it the same with Burning Man festival (i have no idea, i’m quite curious).
the Banquet is in fact much shorter in execution – a couple of hours for the public event.
Here’s a question in regards to scope for you to ponder: What does it take to be a featured artist at ‘Burning Man’? How are they chosen? And what does it take to be a “featured Nobel laureate” at the banquet…? How are they chosen..?
Indeed, both The Nobel Banquet and Burning man are projects where people are gathered for cultural experiences.
I like that you brought up a couple of similarities between the two projects where – both need a long planning time and a relatively short execution period.
However, I will have to disagree the fact that one of the biggest differences in the planning of these two is that Burning man needs to include different artists in its planning. As what Kamarul had mentioned earlier, I too, agree that the different artists will not affect the manager of the project. It should be the project manager that is taking control of the whole project and execution.
Do you agree?
Who is the project Manager @ Nobel Banquet?? I searched but can’t find any names!
By contrast, the artistic director @ Burning Man is widely publicised, e.g. https://journal.burningman.org/2015/11/news/official-announcements/kim-cook-hired-as-burning-mans-director-of-art-civic-engagement/
What does this difference in ‘prominence’, if you will, tell us about the two events?
I do agree with what Permagnus and Kamarul said. Particularly the comment about, ” that the linking concept is “rite” or “ritual”? Each is a partly acted, partly collaborative, large, annual experience for people who share some beliefs.”
Also, it is important to note that for burning man, 70,000 people will converge on a temporary city in the Black Rock Desert, which is a really large scale project and it needed an additional layer of planning which is urban planning in comparison to The Nobel Banquet.
Hi, I agree with you that out of a project management view, they are very similar in their planning stage as well as in their execution. Each of the projects contains of a certain amount of activities that’s often dependent on a time schedule. However, I think as long as a project involves with people in planning the project, like Nobel Banquet, different members from different countries are participating, it is more tedious to schedule in terms of the precision of the timing and planning the content of the activities.
Your take on the comparison between these two projects is very interesting; to look at them from a cultural perspective is something that I would not have seen otherwise. However, like Kamarul and Cindy have mentioned, I also disagree that the artists involved would heavily affect the project management. I believe that the involvement of the artist is dependant on then project managers, such as working within the scope, scale, and theme of the event that has been given to them rather than the project managers working around the pieces in which the artists have created. I believe that there is somewhat of a balance between both but I would say that the artists would have to work around the constraints in which the project mangers have given them rather than the other way around.