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Last month we submitted an article about a potential Hackerspace for Hornby. The idea has garnered much support and interest from community members of all ages and backgrounds. The one thing that keeps coming up is pertaining to the name hackerspace. Why a Hackerspace? Why not a Makerspace? TechLab? Community workshop? Etc.

Hacking has become mainstream with websites such as lifehack.org with ideas on how to repurpose regular household items, and ikeahackers.org a website about modifying and repurposing Ikea items.

So what is a hackerspace? According to Wikipedia “A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science,digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and collaborate. Hackerspaces have also been compared to other community-operated spaces with similar aims and mechanisms such as Fab Lab, Men’s Sheds, and with commercial “for profit” companies such as TechShop”. (wikipedia.org) *Note that when you search the term “makerspace” in wikipedia it brings you to the Hackerspace page.

“In general, hackerspaces function as centers for peer learning and knowledge sharing, in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures. Hackerspaces can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops, and/or studios where hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace)

Many hackerspaces use and create open-sourced software and hardware, meaning they create accessible computer apps and programs, and well as free plans for tools and devices. The for-profit models do not share and disseminate information the way Hackerspace organizations do. Web pages such as hackerspaces.org, hackaday.com and farmhack.org offer ideas, blueprints, open-sourced software, etc. available to anyone.
 
The facilities for hackerspaces provide space for members to work on their individual projects, or to collaborate on group projects with other members, creating self-sufficiency and community resilience. The building the hackerspace occupies provides physical infrastructure that members need to complete their projects, it also provides shared tools and resources that one person may not have in an individual shop space.

A hackerspace is more than just a physical space; it is a political movement, it garners peer-reviewed research, it is an international collective of people wanting to create and share valuable tools and information. Hackerspaces are inclusive; they are open to all members of their communities and promote knowledge sharing and collaborative planning. Hackerspaces.org maintains a list of many hackerspaces and documents patterns on how to start and run them. Currently there are 1965 hackerspaces listed on the site from around the world.

The functioning of a hackerspace varies from place to place and is determined by its members and while there is no exact blueprint or set of guidelines to create a hackerspace, they generally follow a “hacker ethic”, which “include freedom, in the sense of autonomy as well as of free access and circulation of information; opposing the traditional, industrial top-down style of organization; embracing the concept of learning by doing and peer-to- peer learning processes as opposed to formal modes of learning; sharing, solidarity and cooperation”. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace)

These key features of a hackerspace, including international support and recognition, inclusivity, transparency, and sharing of information, allows a hackerspace on Hornby to connect and collaborate with the whole world. Currently this organization is without official name, and while it may get a catchy cool name like “The Spark” it will likely be referred to as a hackerspace in it’s mission statement and mandate. So educate yourself and get on board!

For more information visit our Facebook page “Happy Hornby Hackerspace”

Come out to our next meeting on December 2, 7:00pm at the Fire Hall.

By Quana Parker and Leanna Killoran