[Gllug] HackerSpace

'LesleyB ' lesleyb at herlug.org.uk
Sun Dec 13 11:41:03 UTC 2009

On Wed, Dec 09, 2009 at 11:39:59PM +0100, Chris Bell wrote:
> On Wed 09 Dec, Lesley wrote:
> > 
> > It depends what you envisage this space doing?
> > 
> > Regards
> > 
> > Lesley
>    The meeting was running late, but there was just time for questions
> before the lights started going out. The remaining time was taken by three
> young lads and two neighbourhood policewomen asking for more youth
> facilities.
>    I spoke to the Park Royal Partnership representative afterwards and
> requested a combination of education opportunities, a community computer
> club, and hacker space. I explained that I wanted to provide community
> facilities for anyone to learn how to install, configure, and administer
> anything from a single computer to a network suitable for a small business,
> plus space for further development, pointing out that this could be
> beneficial for both the community and local businesses that might need
> expertise in the future.

I worked with James Wallbank and his team at Access Space in Sheffield for
a short while.  Jame's model involved recycling thrown away computers often
receiving donations from business updating their sometimes very antiquated
stock.  There are a bunch of regulations about recycling electronic equipment
and I don't think the recycling exercise itself was profitable but sometimes
useful kit turned up - like an A3 scanner.

Access Space provided an arts/open source bridge for many arts/technology 
projects as well as a free community centre for artists needing to use
a networked computer for internet access in a supportive environment.

I ran a Level 1 course there for a short while, for women only, where we 
were able to demistify the whole technology thing by showing them the insides
of a computer, doing things like taking a hard disk drive apart to show the platters
and materials used and then building one and installing Mandriva on it.  The course
was funded by a women only organisation and one of the pre-requisites was that it be
women only.  So we simply closed the Space to public access for the course dates.

The space itself was used by various folk, from the unemployed needing a place
to be and people to communicate with, to artists trying to get sound and video working
in particular ways using the Mandriva disribution, to people teaching themselves
Blender for their own projects.  There was a particular team of youngsters that 
came in to play a particular on-line game.  The attitude taken was that at least they
were off the streets and in an environment where they could and might pick up on 
other opportunities.

>    I was told that the representative was not personally involved in that
> part of the organisation, but he had already been convinced about Open
> Source by his son who is attending Imperial College, and he would pass on
> the requests. The response appears to be encouraging. There is EU and
> Government funding available to the Park Royal Partnership, and they can
> request help from a very large number of local businesses.
Funding can come from various sources for various everchanging projects.
I don't know the whole funding base of Access Space but it supported full time work
for about five people and occasional work for myself and a number of others.
Not at great salary levels but reasonable enough.

I would love to do similar down here and I think you have a huge base at Park Royal.
I also think London is big enough to support the East and West having their own hackspaces.
There is also no reason why these hackspaces can't all get along at some level and learn
from each other's different models.

I encourage you to stay in contact with the council team and dig for more information, space
and funding.

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