New Frontiers: MCSW 2018 Theme


“I love the idea - whether it's in my work or where I live exploring new frontiers, and I like putting myself in strange places and trying to survive and figure things out and gather up an infrastructure.” - Madonna


This year’s theme: New Frontiers is a celebration of our inaugural year of Mindcamp SW as we expand into new territory. It is also an acknowledgment of the uncertainties, challenges, and tensions we face honoring what exists and looking forward. This is hazardous work in extreme situations and without many rules. Our New Frontier comes with ambiguity. There are:

·      cowboys and loners

·      community and barn raising

·      rugged individualism and frontier towns

·      no laws and a code of conduct

·      wide open spaces and new construction

·      novelty and history


We meet on the perpetual New Frontier. Oracle, AZ has been a frontier for 10,000 years. First inhabited by the highly advanced indigenous culture based in what is today Phoenix and Tucson. The Hohokam settled the area 10,000 years ago and established seasonal farming and summer camps in the Oracle highlands. The Hohokam inexplicably came to an end in the late 15th century. Next, the frontier beckoned Spanish missionaries who arrived in 1698 who both had settled the region and were in conflict with the indigenous peoples, eventually, they relocated to the San Xavier Mission to the south. Pioneers and cowboys came in the late 1800’s to establish cattle ranches and communities were marked by their extraordinary cultural and ethnic diversity.


New Frontiers take root in our imagination. From Captain Cook and the crew of the Endeavor to Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise, we look towards a final frontier where no one has gone before. Space and science beguile us. Territory calls to us. The future beckons us out of the familiar and into history.


New Frontiers are a paradox. A frontier is neither as empty and unpopulated nor as defined and clear as we think it is. A frontier is a state of mind. A frontier is a way of doing. A frontier is a journey and a destination. A frontier is a moving target. A frontier is uniquely American. A frontier is global, universal, and cosmic. A frontier is internal. It pits your greatest strengths and weaknesses against the infinite demands of the new.


New Frontiers signal a meeting point between diverse elements: 

·      the existing and the new

·      the indigenous and the foreign

·      the land and the law

·      the natural and the artificial

·      the gentle and the tough

·      the individual and the collective

·      the possibilities and the risks

·      the hopes and the fears


New Frontiers necessitate innovation. What tools and crafts, mindsets and skillsets, ideas and horizons do we need at the New Frontier? What do you have? What do you need? Who will you be? How will you be? What can you say to those who travel the way with you? New Frontiers are part of our human history, what will we do with ours?


“Being on the frontier, as I've said, required doing rather than imagining: clearing land, building shelter, obtaining food supplies. Frontiers test ideologies like nothing else. There is no time for the theoretical.” - Robert D Kaplan