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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:26 am
Posts: 378
I wish I could've made the meeting, but it sounds like some of the ideas I'd had about the differences in "mission" between TCM and SB are true.

I've been imagining (and I think Paul's initial intent was to create) TCM as a group which organizes to build a lab space where members of the community can use tools they might not normally have access to, interface with people they might not normally meet, and trade information in a face-to-face environment they may not normally partake in. It seems to me that SB is more interested in education and community "togetherness"- providing an educational and fun venue for people to build a sense that the Twin Cities is more than just where they live, it's their community.

There's a subtle difference there, but I think the heart of it is this: the SB people are content with their space sitting shuttered and empty 80% of the time (or more), so long as they maximize the number of people there the other 20% of the time, and provide the people in the space with a semi-structured event during that 20%. We want a place we can access during reasonably broad hours (say, 5 pm to 10 pm during the week and 10 am to midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday), but with very little structure overlaid on the time we spend there.

Here's the beauty part, though: I see no reason why two groups with those aims cannot share a space. The TCM group would have to relinquish 100% freedom during open hours to do whatever we want in the space, and the SB folks would have to be okay with the knowledge that they aren't going to be able to start doing a class every day of the week just because they have this great new space. I think that's a minor concession on the part of both groups to provide a better space than either could arrange alone with less cost than either would face alone.

There's also been concern voiced about the amount of time SB has been "unsuccessfully" looking for a space. It seems to me that their lack of success might be due to a lack of a real driving force- they have a space, which suits the needs they currently have adequately, so they don't need to sweat too hard over finding another space. Maybe we can be the driving force.

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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:53 am
Posts: 928
Location: Eagan, MN
Thanks, Mike, good points... let's see:

SB is definitely has a variety of tools normally not available/affordable for everyday folks, and they're acquiring more. They just got a brand new air compresser with a reserve tank as big as me, for instance.

uptownmaker wrote:
the SB people are content with their space sitting shuttered and empty 80% of the time (or more), so long as they maximize the number of people there the other 20% of the time
...well, I think they need to maximize the classes & events that generate revenue. And they're certainly not uptight about their current space. Steve has generously offered it to us to use for Wednesday night meetups; apparently there's almost never anything happening in that time slot. It's nice and quiet in there, too, with plenty of tables & chairs; they even an actual lounge area. We could bring our own beer & pie.

Agreed re: sharing space -- our interests & needs appear to overlap much more than our respective work schedules, which is serendipitous.

re: perceived amount of time spent on looking for space -- Studio Bricolage is currently part of Leonardo's Basement, both physically and organizationally. And LB already is a really nice space, so there's been no real urgency. They've also been looking for larger spaces (like 3,500 ft^2) at bargain prices, which tends to mean long tedious negotiations. But yes, if we can keep folks out there beating pavement, meeting realtors, taking photos, and posting findings, I think that can only help. And at least for the moment, I for one am able to do this.

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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:06 am
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Location: NE Minneapolis
my biggest concern which we can work out is the differences in mission of our two groups.

if we can sort out details i can see *no* reason we can't share a facility and tools successfully.

however, we're leaning much more towards being a shop, and they're more of a school. now we will need to have classes (i.e. certification on the miter saw, etc) and several folks have expressed interest in teaching electronics classes, but the majority of our interest seems to be in having a *shop* we can work in.

given the great success LB has had as a NFP, i don't want to risk undermining their mission, so were we to incorporate into them, we'd need to be very careful to address the needs of our group as well as maintain their institutional direction. i suspect that we could find a way to fit our shop goal into SB's mission, however we'll need to address how our needs as a community are then addressed in their corporate structure.

that said there are MASSIVE advantages to joining an extant NFP, not the least of which are ~1K in incorporation/tax exempt filing costs.

i don't want to go into a lot of details about financing considerations or other groups concerns on our public forum.

at this point, i think we need to create some sort of unincorporated club with some general bylaws and a mission statement (maybe a little tonight, refine over 2 weeks online, formalize on the 11th meeting) from there, we'll be able to figure out if we need to be a separate entity from SB or can be folded in w/o compromising both missions.

maybe we as a club propose to "teach" a class in perpetuity for SB that is a cooperatively taught class of SB that has no formal hours, but that shop manager folks (whoever is in charge of maintaining a particiular trained only tool for example) teach in that manner, and that the community sharing ideas and hanging out is the teaching mission of that class (teamwork, supporting each other in our own projects), and that the member dues is a course fee....

i'm also inclined to continue meeting on the days we have at CR since we've announced those, and access and parking is a little better, although off weeks LB may be good, and we can potluck or something.


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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Posts: 56
Location: Minneapolis, MN
i guess that i didn't really make myself all that clear in my last post.

i can't see any problem with sharing a space, tools, and resources with SB, but am wary of incorporation with them as an entity. they have the tools and know-how that we could use, and the tentative schedule that they would need for classes dovetails with our tentative in-use times pretty well. i think that, for the time being, the best option for everyone may be for us to be an unincorporated club that "rents" the future SB shop in their off hours. this arrangement wouldn't necessarily go against their mission for a few reasons:
1. they would have to train us to use many pieces of their equipment (education)
2. they would be facilitating the growth of an emerging creative and technical group (community building)
3. the money that they would generate from us can be seen as education/facilitation fees and be funneled back into further facility and program development

i honestly think that a "leasing" situation like this would be great for us right now. it very well may take a year or two before we have the member base and finances to make a solid, stand-alone shop a reality.


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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:32 pm 
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Location: NE Minneapolis
i suspect youre' right hoot.

one thing that may have not been mentioned is concern abotu our group identity. us actually *being* something is has been mentioned at a few meetups and in teh naming discussion.

i think even just a mission statement and name will give us that, irrelevant of how we end up collaborating with other entities.


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 Post subject: Re: Feb 23, Studio Bricolage
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:57 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Minneapolis, MN
metis wrote:
i suspect youre' right hoot.

one thing that may have not been mentioned is concern abotu our group identity. us actually *being* something is has been mentioned at a few meetups and in teh naming discussion.

i think even just a mission statement and name will give us that, irrelevant of how we end up collaborating with other entities.

the funny thing about group identity is that it is NOT a formal process. the simple fact that so many of us have been using the term "tcmakers" in so many contexts that refer to us individually, as a group, and as part of a larger culture indicates at least a casual level of group/self-identity. furthermore, our regular meetings, internet interactions/associations, and casual outings as well as the discussion and implementation of concepts/projects that reflect our interests and association with a specific sub-culture bolster the notion that there is, in fact, a group identity.

ooh, sorry. end anthropology lecture.


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