Organisation/2011 Trustees Election

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The election is running from 14:00 on Saturday 30th of July to 14:00 on Saturday 6th of August. Paid-up members on the 30th should have received a voting link by email that afternoon.

The voting method requires you to rank potential trustees in order of preference. There is an also a candidate (slightly confusingly) called "None of the above", you should rank that candidate above any candidates you do not wish to be elected.

Candidates

Martin Dittus (martind)

The Hackspace is an amazing experiment in lightweight governance. It's an organisation that from the start chose not to formalise the structure of its affairs, except when absolutely legally mandated. As we're growing this has become one of our biggest challenges: how does an emergent governance model work in a community of hundreds?

Most participation in the Hackspace is driven by self-interest: the desire to make things, to learn things, the desire for self-improvement. Joining the organisation gives you access to an amazing range of tools and people. Most members join us out of this self-interest; but maybe counter-intuitively it has also proven to be the best social glue and community builder. It motivates pledge drives, workshops, infrastructure projects and many other things.

Because of this, I'm convinced, we have a better chance than most to find a good answer. (It doesn't help us keep the place clean and the tools in shape, but that's not something we can't address by improving education.)

I started the server hardware auction which has already earned us several thousand pounds, initiated and coordinate the Young Hackspace, organised a few recent cleanup sessions including the last space organising day, am a founding member of OneClickOrgs, and there's a good chance you participated in one of my Hackspace tours.

Besides the liabilities and duties outlined in our constitution I see the role of a director as that of a mediator in conflicts, a Hackspace representative, but not that of a leader. The Hackspace is governed by its community.

Alex Smith (Alex)

When I originally got involved in the Hackspace it was a few people meeting in a pub talking geek. Even then the potential seemed massive, and I wanted to contribute, along with everyone else, to the growth of that community. As time went on and the foundation was founded, there was an opportunity to reduce a lot of the bureaucracy that would've otherwise fallen on the group, by pushing that towards a few individuals. I stood and was elected as a Director on that basis.

In the last year my involvement with the Hackspace has been lower than I would've liked. I still think the Hackspace is a fantastic place, with a fantastic community. I'd love to continue to serve the group, and I recognise the great work that has been done by the other candidates in this election.

Mark Steward (ms7821)

Mark has decided not to submit anything as a blurb, but you should know that without him the space would not exist in it's current form. He has continually gone out of his way to keep the space alive. --jonty

Philip Roy (cepmender)

Attitude

  • I have no particular axe to grind regarding the direction of the hackspace, nor am I partial towards any particular subgroup
  • I'm not here to stamp my personal mark, I'm here as a member of a community.
  • I do not want to be "in charge" but rather wait for the community to arrive at a consensus first; and I will help achieving consensus.
  • I can aid in conflicts or when assessing conflicting proposals
  • I look at proposals objectively, am patient in letting arguments emerge, then summarising them and bringing them to their core.

It often boils down to asking the right basic questions: What will this proposed new piece of equipment actually let us do? what are the drawbacks? How will a policy affect the membership and is it really needed?

Input

  • At the level of individual infrastructure projects, once a plan is agreed, I do take charge frequently; since joining I've built numerous additions to the Hackspace's infrastructure. Among other things I've been instrumental in building the new kitchen (using a lot of community input, and collaborating with others in the community.)

Other projects:

  • Various cupboards, book shelves, other storage facilities
  • will soon start building work benches for the new wet lab
  • various power tool refurbishments
  • In my "day job" I am a premises manager with experience in building maintenance and practical day to day H+S issues so am able to offer qualified advice on infrastructure and safety.
  • I have long experience in designing and making things and am very happy to share experience: Techniques, how to make things. Looking at someone's idea and helping them progress.

Future direction of the Hackspace

  • I see the role of a director to be to provide advice to the organisation, to foresee potential issues early and to guide progress.
  • I'm already director of a limited company, so I am well aware of the duties and responsibilities of a director. As chairman I've coordinated and mentored the affiliated society of members, and looked into converting it into a charity.
  • I am obviously excited about the prospect of turning HS into a charity, which has clear benefits for us as an organisation in terms of tax, business rates, access to public funding etc. and for the community as a whole.
  • however my experience with the other org has shown me that there are two areas where the Hackspace will need to be cautious in its decisions
  • 1. more external scrutiny of our activities and finances, where currently we can resolve any potential problems amongst ourselves.
  • 2. once we accept funding: this may introduce outside influence that may limit our activities.

Summary

  • I feel that I understand the community well, the ethos, the structure and the spirit of the space.
  • I don't wish to dictate policy, I see myself more as a collator of ideas and a moderator of debate.
  • I want to be able to provide advice and input into the running of the space.
  • I want to help the space grow in size and scope by building on the excellence that exists already.

I believe I have the experience and the moderation to be able to do this to the benefit of all of our members.

Jonty Wareing (jontyw)

I decided that a manifesto doesn't serve much of a purpose within the hackspace, as trustees have no greater control over decisions than any other member. So I'd rather just tell you who I am and what matters to me.

Russ and I co-founded the hackspace in 2009, after we both got irritated about having nowhere to make things. Also I wanted a lathe. Since then I have spent the majority of my time forcing the community into being and keeping it stable with as little prodding as possible. I have yet to properly use the lathe.

I like ale, cheese and roast beef Sunday lunches. I love hanging around by the door on Tuesday evenings and introducing new people to the space. I love watching new members change from bewildered bystanders to active participants. I love helping people, teaching people and giving people my uninformed opinion on whatever they happen to be doing. I love being wrong.

Regardless of my trustee status, this year I shall mostly be attempting to fix the community problems that have arisen with our astonishingly rapid growth. Things that worked well for one hundred members seem to be failing for three.

tl;dr: I don't care if you vote for me, I'll be fixing and supporting the space either way. It started as a "what if" experiment on a Sunday evening, but changed my life forever.