[hackerspaces] Tips and Tricks (Was Women in Makerspaces)

Melissa Hall melissa.hall at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 14:27:59 CET 2013

I don't think we can really have this conversation without talking about
feelings because being welcome, belonging, comfort, these are all feelings.
 Still I respect that that discussion seems to make some members feel
uncomfortable and powerless.

Several people have asked for suggestions for actions.  The truth is I
don't know your communities, so I can't offer intelligent suggestions for
your situation.  But I can suggest some things to think about-

1) Is Ravelry part of your social media strategy?  If not why not?

2) Is your space part of the art community and is the art community part of
your space?  Artists made things before technologists and do enjoy good
tools.  (The art community being a part of the space from the beginning is
one of the things I think my space got right)

3) When you do outreach to promote your space, where do you go?  Are there
other community organizations you might be overlooking?  For example in my
community I would love to see the maker space do some cross-promotion with
the local roller derby team (they do a monthly craft night we could host)
and  the local edge theater group.  And promoting in say, the local LGBT
center as well as the local game store might make more of a difference than
you expect.

4) If someone is being made uncomfortable or unwelcome in your space, what
can they do about it?  Are the choices to suck it up, confront them
directly or leave?  Are those really the options you want to offer?

If someone has trouble using tools, we train them.  If someone has trouble
using the community (and abuses it as a result) we shrug and act like
nothing can be done.  Maybe you should consider the community of your space
another one of your spaces resources and treat it like you would a CNC
router.  You get trained on how it works, and if you mess up the tool there
are consequences.  Maybe we should treat the people in our community as
well as we treat our tools.

And let me stress "nice" is a terrible standard of behavior.  Nice is just
not upsetting anyone.  I prefer people be polite and that means sometimes
people might get upset, but what matters is that everyone behave in a way
that allows for comfortable social discourse, even when tempers are high or
things are distressing.

If this is declared off topic I will drop it.  If it is sent to a ghetto I
will not follow.  However if we are not ready to talk about making
a community that is designed to include women, I wonder if we will ever be
ready to talk about making a community that is designed to include other,
less powerful, groups.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.hackerspaces.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20130118/c1e6943f/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list