News: “Maker Meetups” and “Community Meetings”

As a result of some discussion here on the forum and at the community meeting on 25/11, we are making a few changes to the way we refer to, and promote, the different types of regular meetings held at MHV. Hopefully this will help people (members and visitors) know what to expect when they arrive on a Tuesday night.

Most people want to keep the “Maker Meetup” format (show and tell by members and invited visitors) for at least some of our regular meetings so we’ll trial a schedule where that still happens on the first Tuesday of every month. We’ll try to generate an initial list of topics/speakers before each Meetup but stuff can still be added on the night.

We also seem to agree that having the space open EVERY Tuesday night is a Good Thing and that all members should feel that they can contribute to discussions about MHV and related matters (ie. The Committee is NOT the suppository of all wisdom and authority). So, rather than filling the calendar with different types of meetings, we’ll designate every non-”Maker Meetup” Tuesday evening as an evening for a “Community Meeting”. The structure of these meetings will be fluid and will involve some discussion of MHV “admin” (ie. Committee business) but all members are encouraged to attend, participate and put items of interest on the agenda.

These are relatively minor “tweaks” to the way we currently operate and shouldn’t interfere with anyone’s current use of the space for their own project work, workshops or special interest group meetings.

You will see these changes reflected on the MHV web site, our Facebook page and in our Google calendar over the next few days. Some draft text for the “Meetings” page of the web site is at the end of this post.

In other developments (from discussion at the community meeting):

For the time being, we’ll conduct our Tuesday night get-togethers in
the large downstairs room around the big table. This is seen as a
more inclusive space that is more conducive to a free exchange of
ideas. Upstairs is great but a little cramped and too divided-up to
be suitable for meetings of more than about six to eight people.

We are going to be replacing “working bees” with regular weekend or
evening hack-a-thons where projects important to the development
of the space and the community (“infrastructure”) get some
concentrated attention. As we work through the list of important MHV
projects, we may consider extending the hack-a-thon idea.

The laser cutter purchase project has a lot of support in the
community and could be the focus for some workshop/training activity
next year.

In the new year, we’ll also hold an AGM and start discussing
ways to better advertise and promote MHV. The idea of a “mini
Maker Faire
” is up for discussion, as well as MHV participation in
broader community events. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use
this forum and Facebook to advertise events and will investigate the
“Meetup” community website/service as an additional channel for

We are also investigating some possible partnership arrangements with
Australian companies that supply project kits as a way to both
promote and raise funds for MHV workshops.

Overall, the use of the space seems to be expanding after a lull
following the move to Belconnen. There is a reasonably diverse and
active group of key-holders who are opening the space at least three
or four times a week on a fairly regular basis. The resource is
still under-utilised and there is capacity to diversify our
membership base further and do some outreach to other groups in the
community where we have some common interests (eg. The arts

Several members will be traveling overseas during the Xmas and New
Year period attending maker events in Europe, the USA and other
far-flung outposts of the maker empire. We look forward to them
returning in January full of ideas and enthusiasm, but not Ebola
hopefully. (Although there are several people keen to start some
biohacking projects.)

As promised, here’s the draft “Meetings” page for the web site:

“As a minimum, the MHV space is open every Tuesday evening from 6.30 for either a “Maker Meetup” (a semi-organised show and tell) or for a Community Meeting where members are free to discuss any relevant issues and raise items of interest.  

Visitors are welcome at any scheduled opening and members can always “do their own” thing in other areas of the space while meetings are underway.

Maker Meetups are a particularly good opportunity for visitors to check out the Makerspace, meet interesting people in Canberra’s Maker community and see the cool stuff people are working on. 

If you have been working on something that you’d like to share, you’ll find plenty of people keen to hear about your progress and the challenges you've faced. You can bounce ideas around, compare notes or draw on collective experience and knowledge to help progress through tricky parts of your projects.

Everyone is welcome - all ages, interests and skill levels.

Workshops, special interest group meetings, hack-a-thons and project work by individuals or groups can happen anytime and are generally entered into the [MHV Google Calendar][1] and/or announced on [the forum][2] at least a few days before they happen.

Because the space is a workshop, you will need to wear covered shoes.

If you are unable to make it to our Maker Meetups, but wish to check out the space, keep an eye out for space openings and drop by some time.

You can check the calendar to see when people will be at space to show you around .”

That is all. Return to your homes and await instructions.

Thanks for posting that up @PaulG!

If no one gets to it before I do, I’ll submit a patch to the website today with the changes.