Case # The Open Shed

Behind the Penzance Savoy Cinema in an interimistic bike repair kitchen, we walk into the Open Shed, a crowdfunded hackspace, and are kindly welcomed by Johannes ( Here hackers, bike repairs-men, and computer-recyclers come together in a sustainable survivor atmosphere. First, we do not quite understand the connection between the so-called “bike kitchen” and a co-working space for IT-workers, but the link appears to be the re-use of hardware parts and the ability to (partly) fund the place with the small payments, the bike-fixers charge for a repair.

Johannes gives us the tour of the stuffed location, adding a grass-rooted example to the list of visited co-working spaces. Tools, bikes, boxes, computer parts, trash, worn out furnitures and bits and pieces I cannot identify are occupying the backroom spaces leaving very little floor for movement or conversation ( This seems to be a place where the financial state of the peninsula is most explicit: no municipal funds are given to the initiative that only charge its 50 members 10 pounds a month for a membership. Do you fix a bike, half the price is given to the space, the other half you can keep yourself.

According to Johannes, it seems as if the financial state of Penzance and Cornwall in general, forces the population of the peninsula to reinvent not only a sustainable industry (since tourism apparently is not enough), but also an identity (since being a tourist destination should not be it). The Open Shed appears to us as a complex picture of this state of development - as a revelation of the need to be part of a work community even when you are out of work and the initiative to create something even though you have no capital to invest.