Engine of More: UKHF Handbook?
Hackspace Foundation Handbook: the book would be, more or less, a list of Hackerspaces as reported to the UK Hackspace Foundation https://www.hackspace.org.uk/ as per the map seen here. Some extra rigour might be taken to indicate their size, when and how they are open, key tools and events as well as significant projects they engage in. The book might include a couple of useful look up tables and info-graphics as well as some ideas on how to start a space or some tips and tricks on how to run a space taken from “Rules of Thumb” and other ideas I’ve had. It would be unofficial rather than an endorsed product of UKHF. It would be strongly influenced by books like “Bradshaw’s Guide”.
Yesterday I wrote 4 ideas about what book I was going to write. Now I’m going to expand on the 1st idea and write about how it might come together, how it might look and work in practice.
Primarily I’d want this book to be physical, though I’d also give it away as an e-book or PDF, but this one works the worst as anything but a physical book. The same information is much more suited to a live website like a Wiki or the list and map that is maintained and updated by the UK Hackspace Foundation here. To some extent it would build on the data gathered by Kathleen Stokes, Andrew Sleigh and Hannah Stewart for Nesta back in 2014/15 that formed this report and open data set with some info-graphics.
The infographics could reflect the space and its locality and specialisation. The main downside of this approach is that I’m not a graphic artist and would likely need to commission and pay someone else to make my info-graphics or I’d have to bodge them together best I can.
I have (in the past and would need to confirm the offer still stands) been given permission to use any appropriately owned* graphics used by Make: (*who produce some infographics of their own but also use some under licences and are not at liberty to let me also use them).
In no small part, the Handbook idea is inspired by Make’s “Makers Notebook” a hardbound book for keeping notes, with pages that includes lots of reference material, quotes and other information useful to makers. It makes quite a good gift and feels substantial and worth something.
The Maker’s Notebook is an idea from Gareth Branwyn there’s an interview with Gareth about the Maker’s Notebook here. In the tweet above, you see Adam Savage in his private workshop has several copies of it on a shelf, these are likely copies that have been gifted to him each year by Maker Faire crew following his Maker Faire Sunday Sermon which Savage has delivered at Maker Faire annually for many years, you can see some of them on this playlist.
Info that might be of interest would be things like the number of members and the size of the space. In practice a considerable amount of work and possibly even vetting might need to be done to make this info accurate. I recall from time volunteering at Maker Faire UK for the UKHF that what one space defines as a “member” differs to that of another, with smaller spaces juicing up their numbers by reporting how many people engage with a mailing list. I also am not certain that this sort of league tabling would be all together healthy. I’d certainly not want to list every space that exists and have some form of curation as to what gets listed and why. For instance I think spaces like DoES Liverpool and Make Liverpool are interesting and worth listing though they don’t firmly fall under the remit of the UK Hackspace Foundation (some would argue). Then there are places like FabLab and Eagle Labs, would they be included? What about places like AutoDesk where notionally no one can access them?
It could also have a section to act as a “passport” like the Hackerspace passport created by Mitch Altman and others. https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Passport
Jake Howe and I did a similar version for the UK back in 2012. You can’t get them anymore but when you could they looked a little like this.
In conclusion I think that a UKHF handbook would be really good, but I’m not sure its the book I should be doing now to capture my own experience and more should be a project involving others in the UKHF that I’d be happy to drive as an ongoing thing for the foundation.
Finally we could do a version of TopTrump cards instead… I think that’d be quite good fun. Barney Livingston has already done half the work…
Thank you for your comments on the previous posts here and on twitter, the feedback has been generous and very helpful for me.