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Coworking Spaces

Coworking with your kind of people

Workshop at Icecairo's Ecocities Camp this month

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People can be more productive around like-minded people, as the whiff of inspiration transpired among similarly motivated individuals catches on like fire. The special insight that each enthusiastic person brings to a common problem charges up another dreary soul, who may be momentarily down in the ruts or scarce of ideas. They understand the pain and problems of their peers in the industry and can better commiserate and share experiences.

When coworking began, one of the main reasons cited for its existence was the ability to collaborate with people from many different disciplines who share the same ideals of independence and flexibility in an affordable office space. When these general coworking spaces offering that coveted desk and mobile environment become more specific – attracting people only from that niche community or specific industry be it artists, fashion designers or techies – the connection that binds and inspires the group could also push the people in it to greater heights in their area of expertise.

Like we reported in a previous article on coworking for writers, there are also coworking spaces which provide special tools, events and a certain environment for other niches. In this article, we bring you coworking spaces for six specific communities ranging from visual artists to tech startups and crafters, who, when they get together, can form a bond to create something exceptional in a group of their very own.

1. Visual artists unite!

Visual professionals sometimes need a little bit more than the writer, or the tech genius. A video editor needs his workstation, like a photographer needs his Photoshop software. A filmmaker needs his production studio and these specific equipment requirements might not be so readily available in a coworking space that caters to general purposes. Boulder Digital Arts in Colorado, USA and Looma Photo in Rome, Italy offer just the right space for photographers and other visual artists like filmmakers and designers to come together to create that perfect picture.

Boulder Digital Arts for example, offers discounted events and workshops like portrait photography, documentary making and Adobe Photoshop workshops for its members. It also gives discounted access to a production/video studio with all the right equipment. 

Looma Photo on the other hand, is primarily a photo service company specializing in services such as architectural, aerial and industrial photography. It also offers a coworking space – Coworking Looma - now for visual arts professionals that comprises of office sharing and one workstation at 350 Euros monthly. It gives priority to members who have skills that complement the studio.

2. Where the environmentally-focused gather

So you are a green activist? You may find people in Icecairo that share your cause and work on likeminded projects. The coworking space in Cairo is promoting a particular focus on environmental projects and activities with the goal of building a green community in the Egyptian capital.

The space itself is a vibrant ecosystem built by the community, offering eco-friendly products, including gardening lamps, recycled furniture, a water purification system and plant irrigation, creating a link between the people and the space. Among the gadgets at Icecairo is a hydrogenous fuel cell that produces energy from water and a Bokashi composting system to recycle and reuse organic waste for other purposes.

Icecairo also organizes public events related to the eco-centric concept, as they try to create a similar culture in Egypt, by crafting a space where visitors can brainstorm and work side by side to promote sustainable development and a green community in Cairo.

3. Coworking spaces with shops

Sometimes, creative entrepreneurs also need some help to start selling the things they create, and a sense of community to make it all work.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where community spirit is highly cherished, there are coworking spaces that aim to bring communities together and offer facilities to make it thrive.

Urban Village is a creative hub that provides facilities for creative entrepreneurs and professional freelancers to operate their artistic business or start their ventures. Their aim is to help as many young creative Malaysian entrepreneurs as they can, in providing them with basic business necessities such as workspace, event space, retail space, studio space, entrepreneurship consultation and exposure.   

Retail space includes a flea market space for artists to sell their artwork, and online micro stores where they can sell their creative products or buy and support the products of other artists in the community. Event space offers artists an area to hold exhibitions and studio space is suitable for musicians or voiceover talents.

4. The power of technology

Technology entrepreneurs always benefit from having one another around for inspiration and collaboration. In London, there is Techhub, where the tech community can come together, exchange ideas and progress faster. In Australia, Fishburners is the largest tech coworking space in the continent.

It is a not-for-profit charitable institution based in Sydney and houses hundreds of entrepreneurs and over 115 startup businesses in their coworking space, providing the basic necessities to run a tech startup. They are now home to the accelerator PushStart and education provider General Assembly and hosted presentations from a number of incredible entrepreneurs and tech professionals including Vivian Stewart, the cofounder of Sydney Angels, benefitting their members with expertise and up-to-date knowledge.

5. Make something here!

Makers and crafters will love Metrix Create Space, as it is dedicated to people who want to make something. Literally. Simply put, it is a place where you come to make things and work on various hands-on projects like e-textiles or 3D printing. The part techshop, part hackerspace, part coffeeshop in Seattle, America provides a comfortable workspace, tools and even professional help for your projects.

It is stocked with a wide selection of tools, from sewing machines to hammers to oscilloscopes and carries most basic electronic components as well as kits and bits you might need. Laser cutting and engraving services as well as 3D printing and design can also be found there.

The space also has a growing schedule of workshops to give you the skills and confidence that you need to work on your own projects. Some examples include workshops on design for 3D painting and soldering 101.

6.  An artist community

Last but not least, there are countries that support coworking for specific groups of people like artists. In Australia for example, the New South Wales government funded an initiative called The Empty Spaces Project through Arts NSW and UTS Shopfronts, where information and tools are provided for local projects brokering the use of low-cost, temporary spaces for cultural and community activity and encouraging landlords and government to support these projects.

The initiative invests in coworking by facilitating local artists with access to unused spaces for next to nothing. Over 20 spaces have been set up around the country since 2010 and project manager Lisa Anderson says artists are not the only ones to benefit; with occupants turning looser agreements into commercial leases and helping to generate more foot fall to otherwise unoccupied buildings or main streets.

 “Coworking is a critical part of Empty Spaces,” explains Anderson. “When local businesses, government and artists collaborate together it can lead to a broader conversation about community improvement,” she adds.

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