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

Marc Dusseiller marc at dusseiller.ch
Mon Nov 30 17:21:35 UTC 2015

Hi jenny and all others, (Puneet, say hi to the peeps at CUBE!)

i have been very actively involved in the whole rise of the biohackers
since 2009 and seen many places worldwide. as stated before by laura
"There's almost as many ways of running a space as there are spaces".

someone asked a nice question on the DIYbio list recently, asking people
about their biggest mistakes in setting up their community labs:

it's usually easier to tell "what didnt work" cos of the diversity of
approaches. from my experience the main pitfall is to set-up a space with
loads of infrastructure and then wait for a "community" to come and do
"great" projects. i have seen soooo much cash and energy wasted with that
approach (especially in the fabber world). better to start bringing the
existing communities together, create an inspiring group of people eager to
do something bottom-up. the top down "here is your space" never worked.

we have written a nice little text about lab-making:

even better to start without a space, start with social events, and getting
equiping the lab as the community grows.... maybe they all wanna work with
monkeys not molecules... so you'll need cages and sheds not petri-dishes
and PCR machines.

my key arguments is always... it's not about tech, not about art, it's all
about the people and setting up the space together.
labology - "If you can't build your lab, you don't own your lab"
so using the early phase of such a space to build it together is definately
a good idea.

and of course... 20% Science 80% Rock'n'Roll

i gave a few presentations on the topic and got a bunch of lists. but as
also stated above, hard to find the time and money to properly write a
"blueprint", and then you can't use the Swiss model in Indonesia and vice
versa, but still loads of things to learn from each other.

i put some more technical aspects here:

and an even more technical list is here:

and make sure you got a nice little garden, a cosy kitchen, sofas and chill
out zone.

if you have some funds already available (instead of buying expensive
equipment), why don't you organize a global gathering, bring 6-8 people
together for 1 week, invite the local community who is already interested
and we'll chat about everything together, have nice food, think about
interesting projects people want to do etc....

and we once wrote such a "governance" text at the meeting in waag.... but
it got lost in the web somewhere... and there is a lot of other
semi-functional maillists to try to reach more people:
biocommons <biocommons at bioartsociety.fi>,
europe <europe at biohacklabs.org>
Kitchen Hackteria <kitchen at hackteria.org>

good luck! feel free to skype me for a longer chat.

On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 5:48 PM, Mr. Puneet Kishor <punk.kish at gmail.com>

> > On Nov 30, 2015, at 10:12 PM, William Waites <ww at eris.okfn.org> wrote:
> >
> > On Mon, 30 Nov 2015 22:03:17 +0530, "Mr. Puneet Kishor" <
> punk.kish at gmail.com> said:
> >
> >> There is no code-of-ethics... focus on the user. Eliminate as many
> >> hurdles as possible, be they legal, money, regulatory, etc.
> >
> > Sure, making stuff accessible as possible... But not sure eliminating
> > ethics is a good idea.
> You are absolutely right, which is why I started that subsequent para with
> "So, here is what I am getting at. Definitely talk to as many
> biohackerspace folks as you can, do things the right way…” Part of that
> “doing things the right way” is to develop a code-of-ethics,
> best-practices, conflict resolution, etc.
> Puneet.
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Temporary phone: Try pigeons or smoke signals!
//////dusjagr labs/////////////////////////////////////////
Dr. Marc Dusseiller
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SGMK | Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Mechatronische Kunst
Postfach 2161 | CH-8031 Zürich
hackteria | Open Source Biological Art
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