We’ve been running weekly open evenings at Makerspace for over 2.5 years in this space every Wednesday at 19:30, we had the same system in our previous space too.
Open evenings allow us to welcome the public into our space on a regular basis which is important, but to many they’ve become like a chore to be done, like cleaning the bathroom, emptying the bins, or tidying the space that almost no one wants to do.
The few people that do actually want to host open evenings are not always available and shouldn’t be relied on exclusively to do this, we should all chip in.
Nearly every week a director has to make a call for members to signup to host open evening and it’s almost always the same group of people who volunteer, and when they don’t as has been the case for at least 3 weeks now, it falls to members trying to use the space to cancel their plans to help out.
Myself and Mark ended up hosting it this week, Paul last, and Mark again the week prior, as it stands right now there is no one on the schedule to host any slot in the foreseeable future.
When I last wrote a similar message about this almost 2 years ago it was because I was that member constantly jumping in at the last minute to plug the gap, and I got fed up of it.
Two years later the same problem still exists and has existed all along, there are times when folks are more proactive at volunteering but generally it’s an issue that never went away and just like two years ago every time someone (usually me) has proposed a variation to the open evening scheduling, an extremely small group of members objected against this.
While I support the idea of some form of regularly scheduled open evening, the solution we have now is by no means perfect, we could focus our energies on more polished, less frequent events, and we could offer events at different times of the day and week to make it more inclusive to parents and shift workers.
I respect that there is a small group of members who have a vision of a weekly open evening however they aren’t usually the ones plugging the gaps when people fail to sign up for their vision, and it has in my view got to the point you cannot even have a sensible conversation about changing open evening.
Two years of often weekly messages chasing signups and last minute filling the gaps shows this isn’t working, we’ve grown to 230 members and we still can’t host a weekly open evening any better than when we were 100 members.
For the next members meeting I would like to see an major agenda item being to discuss this, how could we rethink open evening to make it better?
It would also be really nice to hear peoples views about:
- What do you like and dislike about open evenings as host and visitor?
- What prevents you signing up to host more frequently?
- How often would you be willing to host?
- What could we do to improve open evenings?
- Other thoughts about open evenings and scheduling regular events.