[hackerspaces] History of shared workshop spaces

Marc Juul marcjc at gmail.com
Fri Dec 4 08:01:51 CET 2009

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I think we have several different age groups who are becoming interested
for different reasons. Here are my experiences from the upcoming
Copenhagen hackerspace. There are the students who are there to learn
from others and get access to resources they wouldn't usually have, and
just to hang out, and then there are the older members with a 9-5 job
and possibly a family who are interested for some of the same reasons
but also because they simply don't have the physical space for a
workshop in their apartment. Some of these guys basically just want a
place to store their projects and tools.

- --

Ron Bean wrote:
> Back in the '90s, I used to lurk on rec.woodworking and
> rec.arts.metalworking, and the idea of shared workshop space came up
> regularly. The general consensus (or at least the loudest opinions) were
> that it was unworkable, because you'd be dealing with partners you don't
> know. How do you know they won't abuse your tools? How do you know they
> won't hurt themselves and get you sued? How you do know they won't
> disappear and leave you stuck with the entire rent? (etc).
> Then Wired writes an article, and all of a sudden we have shared
> workshops popping up all over the place, often including woodworking and
> metalworking tools. What changed?
> I don't know the answer, but I can make a few guesses.
> I always had the impression (maybe not accurate) that the woodworking
> and metalworking newsgroups were dominated by homeowners who had garages
> and basements to work in. There was sort of an implication that if you
> weren't a homeowner, you needed to work on your career instead of having
> hobbies, until you could afford to buy a house (Or, maybe I'm imagining
> that.) In any case, most of the people there had no strong desire to
> work with other people (more likely, they were using their hobbies as a
> chance to get *away* from the people they worked with all day, and spend
> some time alone).
> Contrary to popular belief, many hackers do value each other's company,
> and enjoy working on projects together. And in many cases, hacking is
> directly related to their careers. And in theory, it doesn't take much
> space (although some hackerspaces are quite large).
> There's also a long history or artists sharing studio space. Artists are
> used to not having enough money, and sharing space makes sense from that
> point of view. And many of them do value having other artists around.
> So I'm thinking that it's a cultural thing, rather than any practical
> difference.
> Anyone have other comments on this?
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