This isn’t meant to be one of my full Hackspace visit posts so sorry for the lack of pictures and true detail. Whilst I was down in Hackney for the Dunwich Dynamo I popped into London Hackspace for about an hour. London Hackspace is just a few yards from London Fields, the start point for the cycle ride. I was delighted to be met by some of Britain’s Hack-istocracy and maker scene worthies including Russ Garret, Jonty Wareing, Clare Greenhalgh, Tom Wyatt, Charles Yarnold and others all having a bit of a BBQ in the yard. Matt Little and I enjoyed an ice cold Club Mate from the Snackspace whilst I managed to make my tongue numb by eating Liquid Nitrogen frozen candy floss!
We were treated to a tour of the Hackspace by Jonty which included showing us a new robot arm in the basement which was mounted on a concrete plinth sunk into the floor (very impressive) and a brewing room. Despite resent drama over use of the back yard at the London Hackspace, they did have an impressive hut craned from the top of their building and left behind by Orange (the phone network not the Dutch Dynasty). I have to admit that use of outdoor space to have nice social BBQs (without a load of planning) is something that Nottingham Hackspace really lacks.
There was a good buzz about the space with people engaged in a real variety of activities. A lock-picking workshop was just being packed away and someone was busy in the workshop area making a leather bag. Charles was messing about with a 3rd person camera on the golf-buggy which has been procured for Electro Magnetic Field Camp which is coming up. Tom W was inside a big blue tarpaulin with air being pumped into the end and a massive uPVC dome has appear over an old Morris Minor in the car park.
I was pleased to see a new “quiet room” on the ground floor as well as a craft and textiles area of shelving which looked new. The main room on the ground floor seemed a lot less cluttered than on my last visit with lots of people being able to engage in activities of varied kinds in this universal shared space. I hope to return again soon and do a proper post!
Jonty and Russ have both hinted at doing “more with the UK Hackspace Foundation” after EMF camp though they did say that after the last camp as well… of course in fairness to them they have had a lot to deal with since then such as moving to Hackspace 3 and doing Electro Magnetic Wave, though I think it’s likely they’ll find themselves with more to do that will pull them away from looking at the Foundation again? London Hackspace have just passed 1000 members (though they need to do an ex-member audit to get the final figure). A big discussion point relevant to all Hackspaces is “how do we scale?” with questions being asked about the future of London Hackspace and what it might be like at 2000 members. There is no question that procedures and rules-of-thumb written down or collectively remembered don’t always scale well with a large turnover of people. For instance Hackspace mailing lists that can be perceived of as intimidating, noisy and increasingly irrelevant most of the time work well with 50 people not so much with thousands. I hope to learn more about scaling Hackspaces and their future and share my findings with you here soon.