Building Community with Vancouver Makerspace

• Written by Madina Knight

This creative community of makers and artists used Loomio to take the hassle out of decision-making, so they can have more time to focus on doing what they love.

If, as a kid, you loved breaking things apart and learning how they worked, or creating things out of material like wood, cloth or cardboard you would fit right in at 1907 Triumph Street.

beautiful carving of a colorful phoenix on a wooden placcard

Behind the nondescript garage door, lies a shared community workspace where furniture makers, woodworkers, metalworkers, textile workers and artists in various mediums gather to create their works.

This place is the Vancouver Community Laboratory (CoLab) - a local, 100% volunteer run, shared community workshop that provides people who don't have the tools for their building and craft projects a space to bring their ideas into reality. Artists, DIYers, expert makers and maker newbies all call this space their creative home away from home.

Building community

Since launching in October 2010, CoLab has grown into a vibrant community of more than 50 makers who use the space every day. Members regularly collaborate on projects and provide mentorship to newcomers.

CoLab meets monthly to make important decisions about the space such as deciding what tools should be purchased, determining general policies and procedures which should be implemented, and dealing with the usual business that arises in any volunteer run organization.

Prior to using Loomio, CoLab tried to use its members' email list to facilitate discussions before these meetings. Even with this, these meetings tended to be long as it was often the first chance people had of adding to the discussion. These long meetings and discussions were leading to monthly meeting fatigue. The group needed a more efficient way of making decisions.

More time for passion projects

Loomio has been invaluable to us as an organization. It is the perfect tool to allow distributed (time and place) discussion and decision making to take place and provide a repository for decisions that have been made. — Mark Johnston

many-pointed metal sculpture artwork on a pedestal at Colab in Vancouver

CoLab now use Loomio to discuss, shape, amend and conduct polls on proposals prior to their monthly meetings. This saves significant time for all members, so they have more time to focus on what is truly important – bringing their creative visions to life.

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