Nottingham Hackspace – Q & A with an innovative makerspace

Nottingham has many great spaces for creativity and community, often hidden away in the crevices of the city. One such space is Hackspace based in Rodin House in Sneinton. Hackspaces are a phenomenon the world over and the fact Notts has it’s very own. is a thing to be proud of. One of their members, Kate Bolin, was kind enough to answer a few questions.

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Work in progress…

What is Nottingham Hackspace & how long has it been running?

Nottingham Hackspace is a community workshop/makerspace. We’re a place where members can use tools and resources to design, repair, re-use, build, create, invent, and make anything. We’ve been running since 2010, and have been in our current premises since 2011.

Who started Nottingham Hackspace & where did the idea/inspiration come from?

Dominic Morrow was looking for people who were interested in making things, and he arranged a few pub meetups and it went from there. There are hundreds of makerspaces/hackspaces all over the world, and with things like Make magazine and hackaday.org, there were plenty of people in Nottingham who knew they wanted to get together to make stuff, but didn’t quite know where. And so we started the hackspace.

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Nottingham Hackspace

How do people join/get involved?

It’s a really easy process – show up on an Open Night or Open Day, have a tour around the space, find out about membership, and sign up! Our Open Nights are every Wednesday, from 6:30 until 9, and we regularly have Open Days on Saturdays. Check the website and our Facebook page for the next Open Day.

How was it initially funded & how do you sustain it financially?

The Hackspace is entirely funded by member fees and donations. We had a fundraiser in 2011 when we needed to move to new premises and we’re currently in the process of fundraising to upgrade our current premises to a two-floor hackspace of awesome. But all the tools, all the consumable materials available, all the bills – those are all paid by our members, and we’re incredibly proud that we’ve done this without external funding.

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Work in progress…

What are the benefits & pitfalls of a collectively run space?

Everything that is in the space and everything the space does has to be approved by the members. This means that you get a great core of people who are really involved in the space and really want to make it awesome, but it also means that you can quickly dissolve into bikeshedding – the fine hackspace art of coming up with new and exciting ways to do things without actually ever getting anything done.

How do you feel about Nottingham as a location & Sneinton in particular? Is there a strong community here?

There’s an amazing maker community in Nottingham, and it’s astounding we’ve grown as much as we have over the past six years. We’ve been branching out to the other makers in the area – especially people who are involved in fine arts and crafts – and we want to be a resource for the community, a place where you can make neat stuff.

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Crafternoon – Soap Making Workshop

What events/workshops do you have coming up in the next few months?

We have a jewellery making workshop on the 24th of April, and an Arduino workshop on the 30th. We also have one of our big Open Days on the 21st of May – where we get out a lot of projects members have been working on and give people a chance to make their own things at the space. And along with our workshops and Open Days, we also have regular meetups at the space. Stitch & Bitch is every third Tuesday, the Retro Computing group meets every third Thursday, the group focused on Internet of Things meets on the fourth Thursday of the month, and there’s a skateboarding group that meets on the first and third Monday of each month. All of our events are on the website and our Facebook page so check it regularly to see the latest!

Many thanks to Kate for answering our questions. 

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