Hackerspace Architect: You Are Doing It Wrong
At this point I wanted to recognise that a big problem to tackle with writing about how to make a Hackerspace is that it implies other people are “doing it wrong”. This can be counter productive in engaging others you might seek to help if what they have achieved isn’t recognised. I have had more than one good friend tell me that I often come across as telling hackerspaces they are “doing it wrong”. I think this was especially true in my earliest blog postings on my older Wordpress site when I was touring hackerspaces around the world.
A particular example of this is the article I wrote about Makespace Cambridge back in April 2014. You can read about that here:
I think there was at the time very much that impressed me about Makespace Cambridge though its the criticisms that stands out, especially for those who feel they have worked hard on the project. With this in mind, I think it will be important in any writing to try to ensure that my views are balanced and draw broader conclusions from general examples rather than point out the flaws of specific organisations.
Like coaching I’d aim for reflection. Achieving the perfect shared workshop is impossible, high lighting some of the issues and perception you have of a place is important. Even the best player on earth has a coach, we can all learn some in sites from another genuinely engaged individual. Yet getting the balance right to ensure that an organisation or individual is open to feedback can be difficult.
I’m aware this is a post without conclusion. Honest feedback from an individual who is truly engaged with an idea can be tiresome and painful, yet it is also a generous gift. When I get feedback myself I know I can be defensive and even dismissive, but generally I try to reflect on it. Feedback is most usually meant with kindness to help, sometimes of course the feedback is not useful, is something you’re painfully aware of and working on or is plain wrong! Feel free to shun a non-believe (hater in modern parlance?) but a believer with feedback should be listened to at least. Yet thoughtless feedback with no other agenda than to aggrandise your own position is never good.
Today’s thumbnail is a cement mixer from “the Asset Strippers” at Tate Britain by Mike Nelson.