[Gllug] HackerSpace

Andrew Back andrew at osmosoft.com
Thu Dec 10 12:26:46 UTC 2009

On (11:06 10/12/09), general_email at technicalbloke.com wrote:


> Having seen hackspaces in both London (non-commercial style) and New
> York (commercial style) I really don't think the former even begin to
> compare. The London hackspace was a room in a cold squat with about 20
> junk computers, some perpetually unfulfilled plans and very little else,
> the one in NY (NYC resistor) is a beautiful vibrant space with a huge
> array of cool tools, events and visiting teachers, speakers and classes.
> Sadly there weren't that many free classes and events but at the end of
> the day stuff costs money and doesn't tend to happen without it. I don't
> think it's sustainable to try and build a hackerspace without
> subscriptions and fees. The main point point of such places is to get
> access to space and tools that most individuals can't afford
> individually but can collectively, concessions can always be offered to
> the unwaged / disadvantaged.

I strongly disagree. In Glasgow we built the Electron Club hackspace with
nothing other than donations of equipment and the odd very small cash
donation. E.g. a few of us chipped in a few quid each to register a domain
and a few quid more later on to buy wood to build proper shelving. All the
equipment was donated, and more recently there were various fundraising
initiatives to secure the space its own private ADSL line (rather than
sharing the CCAs).

Granted, the Centre for Contemporary Arts provides the space rent free, but
there will be similar opportunities elsewhere. At the start I was sceptical
of the idea that this could all be done without membership fees and such,
but through perseverance it worked out, proved sustainable and it has little
in common with the dystopian non-commercial hackspace vision you described:



Not everyone can afford membership fees and even when people can it may sway
them the other way if they are unsure it is for them. I'm not against
commercial hackspaces, but to suggest non-commercial ones will be extremely
poor by comparison is nonsense. Furthermore, once cash comes into the
equation it suddenly implies a whole structure for managing spend, official
roles and so on. If you can live without this and exist with little more
than a clear mission/purpose and basic rules it means you can focus your
efforts on the fun stuff whilst being as inclusive as possible.



Andrew Back
mailto:andrew at osmosoft.com
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

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