Our mission is to provide financial and organizational support to open communities in shared physical spaces who use innovative methods and technology in hands-on education. We'll speak to the global community about the progress in America. Hacker and maker spaces are where people go to teach and learn their passions. Even as each space typically shares a common set of values – transparency, hands-on, collaboration – they are all tremendously different in terms of structure, funding sources, and sustainability. While a huge movement to create new hacker and maker spaces has been catalyzed in the United States, in part because of the Hackerspace Design Patterns release from the 2007 CCCamp, the sustainability of these spaces and the movement they represent is far from certain. The School Factory, a non-profit organization that formed an early American hackerspace/makerspace called Bucketworks in 2002, has been extrapolating the models and values of these spaces into programming that helps communities understand and take advantage of potential in the maker and hacker movements. Banding together, four established spaces have launched the Space Federation, which provides a sharing of best practices and fiscal infrastructure amongst each other and to interested communities. By linking our resources we are able to help other facilitators launch and sustain their own spaces. Resources take the form of fiscal sponsorship, a governance and taxation support model for donations that gives these spaces non-profit status without the overhead and delays of supporting their own legal status. Guidelines and programming that help spaces build healthy community by connecting their members on a personal level are also a focus. This is not a franchising of spaces but a celebration of individuation while ensuring the administrivia which often kills spaces is taken care of efficiently and effectively. We are a segue from the current culture into a new world of self-empowerment, involved communities, and free sharing of knowledge. But these ideals must exist in the current paradigm until they become the norm. In short, we still have to figure out how to pay rent. In the meantime, American schools and libraries are failing. Conservative government officials are eliminating teachers and setting standards which the current educational system cannot meet. Schools are decreasingly preparing students for work within a global economy, and struggle to stay apace with the technological and social advances brought about by the dedicated volunteer work of the open source community. Similarly, public libraries in America struggle to retain relevance when books are available online, and rules require silence. The community-building purpose of a library, and the free access to knowledge it represents, is an idea at risk in a modern political culture of conservatism. Low income and smaller communities will pay the price of lost innovation and learning for their citizens. Globally, countries wildly differ in terms of their legal structures and cultural support for hackerspaces and makerspaces. Education systems are equally variable, in some nations still biased towards certain genders, age groups, and skill domains. We believe that hackerspaces and their relatives are primordial seeds in a new system of global learning and education that spans generations, interests, and political fashions. These communities represent a low-cost, highly effective alternative to overly burdensome systems of public learning and the public distribution of knowledge and potential. It may take many generations for these environments to have a lasting impact on civilization. If we start good conversations with governments, communities, and businesses today - along with amongst ourselves - we can ensure that every possible value these spaces can contribute to global society is developed for the longer term. Challenges Faced by the Hackerspace and Makerspace Movement Clique-ish social communities Financial challenges Difficult to insure Unsympathetic landlords Challenging infrastructure requirements Not well understood by general public Dis-integrative structures Zoning and classification “but they’ll see the big board” - the perceived threat of transparency Inconsistent cultural norms Informal environments create barriers to entry Questions we would like to discuss with the CCC community: How does the hackerspace/makerspace movement look globally? In America? What has changed since 2007? Since 2002? What spaces are in the Space Federation? What are their experiences? What is the Space Federation? What is the School Factory? What is the Space Kit? How is it related to the Hackerspace Design Patterns presentation? What do we have in the Space Kit so far? - we have the steps but need a way to take people through it. It includes more of things like how to assess a neighborhood and local government, less of what tools you should have. What does it still need? Why is this important? (not just in USA but globally) What does having global concept of spaces like these mean for future humanity? What has been working? What hasn’t been working? What do we need help with? Conclusion: We would like to engage the CCC community in an open discussion on these questions, and facilitate a separate co-working session to further develop tools and models that will extend the potential of the hackerspace and makerspace movement across the globe. There will be LEGOs.
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