Meanwhile Spaces

Skip to first unread message

Russ Garrett

Sep 21, 2011, 2:05:32 PM9/21/11
to London Hack Space
There's suddenly a lot of buzz happening about "Meanwhile spaces" -
basically unused commercial spaces which the government are
encouraging landlords to lease short-term to non-profits for free
while there isn't any interest from prospective tenants. We've had a
couple of people offer places like these to us now.

Obviously these aren't a candidate for us to move to, but we're in an
ideal position to use these for temporary projects. There are some
popping up in very central locations (like [1]) which would be awesome
publicity for us.

So - if anyone is willing to take one of these on as a project, what
would you do? I think it would be a great opportunity to run larger
workshops or talks than we're capable of doing in the space.

Russ Garrett


Sep 21, 2011, 3:44:21 PM9/21/11
to London Hackspace
Just to get the ideas flowing......

-get together with the electric pedals guys or similar and making a
small alternative theatre.....novelty thing, only open for a shortish
period, prices very cheap but lower if you pedal. Maybe some kind of
prize scheme for those who pedal most or who come back most. Films
shown include anything good for society, maybe some foreign films, and
the type of thing the Hack the Media guys and gals make. If they had
the time for this, there could be an area at the back of the theatre
where Hack the Media workshops were run--advertise this to enough high
schools, employment centres and universities and you could get a real
competition about who was going to get screened this week.

-Hallowe'en is coming even though people don't really go for it much
here :) Hallowe'en house of horrors! Black out the room and turn it
into a maze with black fabric over the walls. Kids and their parents,
teens, older people can come through in the dark into a series of
"challenges" (stations) to get through the maze. Put your hand in a
bowl in the dark--that is, into the Witch's Eyeball Cauldron--it's a
bowl of slimy peeled grapes. Smell gross things, feel gross things,
have mannequins jump out at you and mechanic things go bump in the
night. I'm sure creative minds can come up with all kinds of amazing
things. Remote controlled tarantulas anyone? (Great way for kids and
their parents to be introduced to what learning skills and tech can do
that's "cool", and introduce them to the presence of the space)

-grafitti or public art workshops
-remote controlled vehicle race track, driving range, maze
-get together with a uni maybe and put together some virtual reality
workshops/shows introducing it
-somewhere people can use to learn/present sand art projection [1]--
though maybe fold this in with idea #1
-25th century study space for students--except not really, too many
amazing skills workshops and lockpicking and ham radio training going
on on the side, plus "advanced" industrial design of the study
furniture (booths, sitting on the ground, desks with hoods), light
shows, white noise booths etc. --oh wait, this is getting pretty
similar to the space isn't it
-enormous unit-wide tunnels/jungle gym from the moment you open the
door... at the centre of which is some kind of social space
-full-automated living space based on arduino and other magicks
-anything that involves small amounts of dancing, or building amazing
-what happened to the full-sized vehicle hacking people??

ok you get the idea....constructive only please :)

The short-term nature of these means we could especially consider
engaging with other like-minded groups or uni/college courses to see
if we have amazingness to brew together. When the short time is up
the things end, no hassle involved, and if it's part of their training
then people from those groups may have more ability to work on one of
these projects "full-time" than our members do.

[1] Sand art projection--

Nigel Worsley

Sep 21, 2011, 5:32:59 PM9/21/11
> -Hallowe'en is coming even though people don't really go for it much
> here :) Hallowe'en house of horrors!

Great idea!

These are quite common in the US, follow the links on this page to get an idea of the sort of things they do:

That one is rather more technology oriented than most as it is a tech course that the students building it are taking.

It might be a bit tight to put something like that together for this year, a lot of work is needed to do a good job.

We would need to sort out a cheap source of getting the dewar filled too, I can't imagine us doing this without a
bit of liquid nitrogen :-)


Martin Dittus

Sep 21, 2011, 6:24:38 PM9/21/11
I was thinking:

1.) As event space. Mini-hacker-conferences, hack days, the kind that never happens in London unless a sponsor is involved (think: stuff the Guardian would host but more niche/geeky/less glossy.)
2.) As exhibition space for finished Hackspace projects. Sol, Tom, Billy, … loads of people churning out random ideas all the time. Atm we never actually display our output.
3.) As outreach space: to test what it's like to have a second hackspace; to teach local communities.

No reason why it couldn't be all of the above.

I'm keen to help run any of this if others are interested.


Benjamin Southworth

Sep 21, 2011, 6:52:17 PM9/21/11

I don't know how out of scope this is, but.

I've just set up a social enterprise trying to educate more children and young adults in to the realm of hacking, digital, making, creation  through technology and craft. 

We may have a fairly big budget if we can persuade some of the corporates, who are making positive noises, but we'd love to get a space, or a section of a space to run out and in.

I could really do with all the help I can get so, I'd love to arrange a meeting/beers to talk about how we can work together to do cool stuff.. 


Sep 21, 2011, 6:55:35 PM9/21/11
There was that book Cory Doctorow wrote - Makers - in which people get together to build a theme park ride of their own with various exhibits and things. I know a few of you will have read it. Could mix the "showcasing what we've built" with a ghost train or similar narrative?


Sep 21, 2011, 6:57:23 PM9/21/11
Oooh, wait I minute, I spoke with this chap a while ago: - somewhat less tech than we'd like but maybe theres something in their approach?

Martin Dittus

Sep 21, 2011, 7:15:56 PM9/21/11
Oh, yes. I think I also have contacts there. Went to their previous space at the old Limelight, they're doing great stuff. Definitely worth talking to, if there's interest.

(I did not know that there is an attempt to criminalise squatting.)



Sep 22, 2011, 2:18:18 AM9/22/11
Hi Russ,

My friend has an initiative called Retail Reset to put maker spaces on the high street. I know he'd be interested in collaborating.!/about his name is James Greer, his twitter handle is @jimmygreer, his email address is jimmygreer [at] gmail [dot] com


Sep 22, 2011, 2:25:58 AM9/22/11
i know someone who would be willing to collaborate with HackSpace


Sep 22, 2011, 6:14:45 AM9/22/11
to London Hackspace
Why dont we host a london makerfaire?

or +1 for the halloween stuff!!

Michael Shiloh

Sep 23, 2011, 6:38:18 PM9/23/11
didn't kids create their own playgrounds in the rubble of london
following the bombings of WWII?

Michael Shiloh
Artist, designer, teacher, tinkerer, geek
Interested in classes? Join


Sep 26, 2011, 6:22:12 AM9/26/11
to London Hackspace
build a ghost train you say? I'M IN!!!

On Sep 23, 11:38 pm, Michael Shiloh <>
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages