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Posts Tagged ‘BuildBrighton’

BuildBrighton needs your help

July 2nd, 2010 1 comment

Here at BuildBrighton we’ve been looking, for the last 8 months, for a suitable, affordable space for the group to move to. It has become clear to us that our current arrangement with The Skiff, although fantastic, is not enough to attract new members. Most potential new members do not see the benefit in paying a subscription for a meeting only one night a week, and are sometimes put off by the officey nature of the space and the lack of any decent machinery of equipment. It is a catch 22 situation, however, as without subscribers we cannot afford to make commitments to long term outgoings as our earnings are sporadic, making some money here and there through workshops and council grants etc.

We have long wanted to turn BuildBrighton into Briton’s answer to Noisebridge or NYC Resistor. We have found two fantastic spaces that are beyond our current monthly earnings by different degrees. We also have 100 non-members on the hackspace mailing list and 250 non members following the BuildBrighton twitter account.  How many of these potential members would convert into actual members if we had the right space? What is it that BuildBrighton would have to provide for them to make that conversion, and how much would they be willing to pay in order to get that? We have no desire to out price ourselves, and yet we need to charge an amount that can sustain the group financially.

In an attempt to find these things out, we have created a questionnaire and are asking people to fill it in to provide the answers that we need. If we have a good idea of how quickly and to what extent the group can grow, we can make decisions about how much risk we can take on with a new place. You can fill the questionnaire in here.

The two spaces that we are looking at are The Metalworks, approx 1000 sq ft in Central Brighton, next door to the new space that The Skiff are moving to shortly, allowing us to maintain our ties with those who supported us in our early days. The other is a 4000 sq ft workshop space at New England House, which is not only enormous, but filled with already created smaller spaces that could be converted into useful areas like dark rooms or craft rooms, or rented out to artists or commercial creative enterprises as studios or work spaces. Both spaces have enormous potential and we can see the group flourishing in such environments.

Please do fill in the questionnaire, comment or contact me if you wish to be involved in BuildBrighton, want to find out more about us or just want to offer us your support. Knowing that we are needed is a big reason why we do this.

Spreading the hackspace love

June 14th, 2010 No comments

Last week I went on holiday to Devon as a wee break from the stresses and strains of work. And what a lovely week it was too; sunshine, beautiful scenery and cute country towns with hardly any wifi or 3G signal at all and an average population age of 70. After 4 days, my partner, Ian, and I decided we needed some life and some connectivity and headed up to Exeter to hang out.

Before we left, Ian had done some research and discovered a hackerspace existed in Exeter.  As one of the founders of the Brighton hackerspace, Build Brighton, we contacted Gray Simpson of E_hackerspace by email to let him know we were coming and asking if the group was holding a meeting while we were in the area.  Turns out the hackerspace was still in the ‘so, how the hell do we do this?’ stage of creation with no regular meetings, so an ad-hoc one was hastily pulled together on a Friday evening for our benefit.

It was really great to meet up with a group in the early stages of development. It really brought home what we at BuildBrighton have accomplished in less than a year and it was good to be able to pass on useful advice and tips to a new space. It was also fantastic to see how the stories that we had about building and running the space and about the cool things going on there inspired and enthused Gray and his co-founder Julius. I just hope that they hold on to that enthusiasm and keep the momentum going, which they will have to do to get the space off the ground.

I also learned that in Brighton we had it kind of easy. There was already a very strong tech community, albeit software and design based rather than hardware based, and as a visible member of that community I had easy access to forums, contacts and mailing lists that made the advertising and promotion of BuildBrighton fairly stress free. Exeter it seems has very little in the way of a tech community so Gray and Julius will have their work cut out for them trying to build one from scratch. I really hope they succeed and look forward to watching them grow over the next year.

You can find out more about the Exeter Hackerspace at their website or join their mailing list.  You can find BuildBrighton at The Skiff in Cheltenham Place every Thursday from 7pm, or by our mailing list and website.

To find out more about hackerspaces in general – communities for peeople into building things with technology – you can do so at hackerspaces.org