[hackerspaces] Introduction from Birmingham, England

Mark Huson mehuman at gmail.com
Thu Oct 1 19:39:50 CEST 2009

   We, www.baltimorenode.org, have only been an organization for 2 months
now and have 19 members so I haven't had too much experience with retaining
members and I don't know what hours you are allowed to use the shared space
so take this all with a grain of salt. I have found that the themed meetings
are the ones that get the most attendance. We meet weekly to discuss
buisness and then hack afterwards, we reguarly get 6-9 people at the
meetings. We also have an open hack session on Thursdays, which i have not
been to, that attract a fair number of people and there is now a lot of
interest of people meeting that day to live code together.

   The way i think about themed sessions is that there is a goal, a reason
to be there and people with like minded interests to bounce ideas off of.
Also just because there is a theme to a certain block of time does not limit
or alienate anyone else from doing what he/she wishes to do in the space.

Let me know if that helps.


On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Antonio Roberts
<antonio at hellocatfood.com>wrote:

> Hey all.
> I'm the founder of a group/space in Birmingham, England
> (http://www.fizzpop.org.uk). We're based at someone else's building
> (which I know is risky) and we've been going for just over 7 months.
> Whilst I'd love it if we had our own space I currently don't think
> that'll happen as I feel we're having a bit of trouble getting people
> motivated in the first place.
> When we first started we toyed with the idea of having theme based
> sessions e.g. arduino hack day, circuit bending session etc, but some
> of the attendees felt that this could be restrictive and might
> alienate those who don't want to take part, thereby reducing the
> attendance numbers and possible members. So, every fortnight when we
> meet we have just a random hacking day. Some long-term projects have
> emerged from this but overall I've noticed that newcomers and even
> some current members just don't know what to do or expect when they
> turn up. So now I'm toying again with the idea of having theme-based
> sessions. If anything it'll just give a bit more focus to the group
> and its activities and possibly spawn bigger projects.
> I know that meeting once every fortnight is a bit counterproductive in
> itself, but out of the five tech groups nearby we're one of two that
> meet this frequently. All of the others meet monthly. So, I'm thinking
> of more projects that could take place outside of the space and
> possibly even on the Internet.
> This is where I ask you guys for help. Not necessarily for ideas for
> activities (though they're always useful) but just your experiences of
> what type of session works best. Is it better to have sessions be
> free-for-alls or set a task?
> Cheers for your input
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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