[open-science] Advice for starting an open community lab/biomakespace?

Jenny Molloy jenny.molloy at okfn.org
Tue Dec 1 10:13:40 UTC 2015

Hi Laura

Thanks and I was planning to pick your brains about makespace ;)
There are bio-specific things it would be helpful to get information on.
They're more niche than hardware-only makespaces for obvious reasons
although many of the principles will be the same so thanks very much for
those helpful links.

+1 to writing up being dull, I completely understand that documentation is
the last thing on people's mind when they're having fun getting on and
doing it! Also, due to the evolving nature of most of the spaces, any
operational plans/funding bids etc etc are likely to be scattered and
relating to very different development stages.

I guess the main thing I need is to be able to demonstrate that any models
we propose (with the caveat that they are likely to morph over time based
on community needs), have some evidence that they are reasonable and have
worked elsewhere. If this sounds conservative then it is, but we have to
demonstrate that it's a good idea to those who aren't automatically won
over because of the particular nature of the space on offer.

For instance, Leike's work ar Spektrum looks great but we can't run a bar
in a university building. Much to the disappointment of several of my
co-conspirators who thought this sounded like an amazing model (we
currently meet in a pub!)

Thanks everyone else for your responses, I'll dig through now.


On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:59 PM, Laura James <lbjames at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Jenny,
> We can certainly talk about Makespace Cambridge (which I cofounded) but
> perhaps you are looking for something more focussed on biolabs?  The
> hackerspaces.org wiki has some guidance https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/
> and of course FabLabs, one model, are pretty well documented. There's a
> definite lack of written help out there, mostly because community spaces
> are often run on volunteer labour and/or are stretched in resource just to
> get open and keep operating, and writing up is dull :)
> The RSA is doing some work on this eg
> https://www.thersa.org/discover/videos/rsa-insights/rsa-insights-makerspaces/
> and there's an event this Wednesday with livestream
> https://www.thersa.org/events/2015/12/rsa-makers-summit-2015/  Following
> the Maker Assembly earlier this autumn I hope there will be some further
> activity on UK makerspace processes/admin etc...
> Nesta has a dataset about existing spaces which might have useful pointers
> to further info if you can find relevant spaces to draw upon:
> http://www.nesta.org.uk/uk-makerspaces-data and there's the UK hackspaces
> list too: http://www.hackspace.org.uk/wiki/Main_Page
> Finally, the classic advice for creating community workshop spaces in
> creating the right framework is to start from your community, work out what
> you all need, and then fit something to that. There's almost as many ways
> of running a space as there are spaces, and one size does not fit all. Best
> to find some spaces that feel like they have similar communities, and get
> inspiration from them.
> Best of luck!
> Laura
> On 30 November 2015 at 07:19, Jenny Molloy <jenny.molloy at okfn.org> wrote:
>> Dear All
>> I have an exciting opportunity to start a community biology lab here in
>> Cambridge (UK), which would be fantastic for several local projects we've
>> got going around open technologies (which I should definitely share in more
>> detail soon!).
>> Has anyone set up a biohackspace/makespace/community lab and could you
>> send me any examples of governance documents, figures for number of
>> members, information on how you keep such a space sustainable financially
>> and anything else you have that could feed into our deliberations on how to
>> run the space?
>> I've found one site from GenSpace which is really useful
>> http://openlab-blueprint.org/ but it'd be good to see if their solutions
>> have worked elsewhere.
>> Things are moving quite quickly so apologies for the rushed email! I'd be
>> delighted to talk to anyone who can offer advice so while publicly posted
>> documents would be best and most helpful for others, if it's more
>> convenient to chat then just get in touch!
>> Jenny
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