Distributed network of Open Garages

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The Open Garage is currently mainly based in Anthony's garage in Borsbeek. Unfortunately, our popularity may soon become our demise if we do not figure out a way to upscale the concept. Having more than 15 people over is lots of fun, but Anthony's garage is too small to provide any further upscaling of our events. Originally, we set up to start a network of garages and workshops where people could drop by on organised events. I (Anthony) would now like to push to put this plan into action.

Network of open garages and workshops

Some people in our community have their own workshops, in their garages, basements and garden sheds.

Keep the philosophy going

Part of the success of the Open Garage is the philosophy and we would like to keep this philosophy at the basis of our concept. Here are some of the rules we'd like to spread:

  • The basic principle "be excellent to each other" is of prime importance
  • The Open Garage community should work as a wiki
  • Beyond your house rules, politics should be ruled according to anarchist principles
  • Events should be OPEN to everyone
  • No membership or entrance fees are allowed (you may sell kits and stuff or ask for contributions to cover provable costs), as this lowers the barrier for (young) people to join
  • Collaboration on (your) projects is encouraged
  • Ask people to bring drinks, the garage has shown that this lowers the burden of organising an event and our community's stock of drinks is very healthy
  • It is important that people should learn from the events, it is not what people bring to the event but what they take away from the event which is of importance
  • What you organise in your workshop is up to you. An open evening where people bring their projects, a workshop or tutorial to teach technologies, a visit to an interesting place, a printer building event or a wine tasting event are just examples of what is possible
  • All members of the Open Garage meetup can organise and suggest events at their will and possibilities

Why not look for a common location?

Another option to upscale the Open Garage is to find a location to hire and move our events and gear to that workshop. This is a method that is often employed by hackerspaces and has shown to be a successful formula. However, we have noticed that this requires a few changes to the philosophy:

  • Location, electricity, etc are to be paid for by the community
  • The easiest way to accomplish this is to ask for membership fees
  • But this requires an official organization, like a non-profit, to be started
  • Where we currently have almost no politics and economics in our organization, this disrupts our basic philosophies
  • Politics and economics break open communities
  • Putting such a plan in action would diverge from the current Open Garage philosophy