Access Space: About Us

Access Space is the UK's longest running and most sustainable free, open digital arts lab.

At Access Space, people interested in art, design, computers, recycling, music, electronics, photography and more meet like minded people, share and develop skills and work on creative, enterprising and technical projects.

We operate at a very low cost with a minimal carbon footprint through an innovative, sustainable model, which combines free, open source software and locally recycled computers with the collective intelligence of a skill-sharing community. The capital cost of the lab is next to nothing, upgrades are free, and the capacity of the lab to deliver skills increases with usage.

We run drop-in activities and workshops, exhibitions and arts events and have opportunities for volunteering.

Peer Learning

Anyone can participate at Access Space, whatever a person's age, background and level of education or ability.

Whether this is helping with creative projects, technical tasks or practical activities, staff aim to facilitate learning through guided support and workshops, but we don't act as teachers. By talking with other participants in the space, participants acquire skills, knowledge and inspiration and build confidence - if you are interested in participating but think you don't have any skills to offer in return, just contributing to a laid back and productive atmosphere is enough to help many people.

Access Space promotes an environment of inclusion and one in which a huge variety of people work around each other, chat, offer help and often form friendships.

Why FOSS? (Free and Open Source Software)

Software for home, business or creative use is often expensive and owned by large corporations. However, there is an established international movement which creates and promotes software that is free allows users to do exactly the same work as proprietary software.

This software is free software. Free Software is able to be copied and distributed anywhere, which gives anyone the freedom to learn from the code and change it. People across the world with the right technical knowledge are able to view and adapt the source code and the structural foundation upon which the software is built, which is an example of global peer learning.

We challenge the idea that investment in technology means buying hardware & software and put skills, knowledge and imagination centre stage. We suggest that a community can mobilise to create a learning resource more effective than support technicians or tutors. The Free Software Foundation explain:

'Free Software is about having control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses, where computers work for our individual and communal benefit, not for proprietary software companies or governments who might seek to restrict and monitor us.'

At the moment we provide around 10 workstations for our participants to use. They are locally recycled computers so they don't look shiny and new, but thanks to a massive online community of software developers and the work of our technical team, they run the very latest free software. All of our software, including website templates, 2D and 3D design, video, audio and office programs, are completely free and available to everyone.

Video Editing 20 x 20 2010 Opening Chess & PC work

Access Space is a workspace, a social space, a creative space. There are quieter times, and busier times!

Quiet Space Embriodered Digital Commons Workshop

Free Software Foundation GNU Linux Debian Ubuntu
Click the images to learn more about the Free Software Foundation, GNU, Linux and Linux distributions Debian and Ubuntu.
Access space has appeared in and delivered discussions, presentations and publications around it's background and social and creative aims. Contact us for more information!

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