We all have resources – how can we share them? A Resource Sharing Network

Convener(s): Alex Eisenberg   

Participants: Chloe Dechery, Conor Short, John Pinder, Alex Eisenberg, Deirdre, Shakera Ahad, Kylie Lloyd, Will Bourdillen, Dan Simon, Kate Webster + others…

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

General Question

How would it be possible for us to share the material resources that we all have and don’t always use? For example – I have a good camera that I don’t use all the time – someone wants to borrow it. They do and in return I get some sort of credit for having leant something of mine out…


How can we use an online resource (bespoke or existing) to create and proliferate this network?

Defining ‘Resources’

Resources at the things that we need or want to make our work. Resources can be all sorts of things but in this context we focused in on sharing material resources.

An alternative economy?

  • A new form of currency
  • A barter economy
  • Points system
  • Ratings and recommendations
  • Feedback
  • New models of insurance
  • Web based and dynamic

Key Ideas

Institution > Artists


Artists > Artists + Institutions

How can we get past a top down (hierarchical) model of sharing? Or is this the best way – Robin Hood sort of thing?

The notion of good will – can we just base this on good will and not worry about formalising it?

Worth – how do we measure worth in this context?

Do you just measure the amount you share – in spite of what you are sharing?

Contribution is enough.

What would be a method for putting requests forward.

How do you keep the system going?

It’s vital that people contribute to the network to make it successful.

The idea of taking a risk – but who takes the risk and how can we move away from the idea of risk. How can we reformulate the idea that sharing something with a stranger is infact usually NOT RISKY AT ALL.

BUT at the same time how can we mitigate for the inevitable fact that things will get broken, lost etc.

You don’t have to lend (but it will be in your interest if you do)

Lending Requirements – a series of things that make the lender feel comfortable

There has got to be incentives to foster honesty.

How would it be possible, or necessary, for small companies or individual artists to give something back to the National Theatre for example? 

A chain or a network?

A network! 

Trust is vital


Current Space Sharing Initiatives

  • Northern Dance – “Spare Room” - each week when spaces are available they put them up on a website for people to book and use for free.
  • London Bubble – give spare space out to artists for a very low fee or volunteer exchange
  • Both of the above are last minute.
  • Nothing like these exists in London!

Similar Models

  • Wikipedia
  • Freecycle
  • SpareRoom.co.uk
  • Couch Surfing
  • Swapaskill.com
  • Residence (Bristol) – Store Room
  • Somewhere To Project
  • Common Pool Resource
  • Prop Share (USA) – academic models
  • Time Bank
  • The School of Everything
  • Class Works Costume Store (Cambridge)

Both Wikipedia and Freecycle operate with moderators who bring parity to their resources. Freecycle as a material resource exchange – ­ how different is this to a sharing network? The principle that Freecycle is supposed to be based on you sharing and then you receiving – but in reality it doesn’t quite work out like this.

Clear Practical Ideas to do:

Edinburgh Van Network

Material Resource Sharing

Space Sharing

People Sharing

Examples of things you might share:

Material Things: Projectors, camera, video equipment, space, vehicles, computer equipment, sound kit, microphones, props/costume, oddities (e.g. Binural Recording Equipment).

Non Material Things: Skills, advice, knowledge, information etc.


Starting online and the becoming phycisal – i.e. a series of central distribution points across the country.

How would you deal with the admin? You get it to become self moderating and self administrating – e.g. freecycle etc.

Getting Partners on Board

  • National Theatre
  • NT Studio
  • Royal Opera House
  • BAC
  • Etc. (who has a lot of equipment?)

Aggregating existing services – that institutions, regional organizations etc. already use to share things.

Functioning like a social network.

Using an established system or website – for example:

  • Facebook
  • Yahoo Groups
  • Google Groups
  • Ning

Lets just take the first steps.

Practical Concerns


  • Is it possible to get insurance for an item that you do not own or for lending.
  • New models of insurance.


  • Venues/institutions often do have things available but its not high up their agenda to share them – so perhaps we just need to make aware that the can and that they can be assisted in this process -  that it is easy.
  • Finding Reasons why space should be used.
  • Good PR for large venues/institutions to show that they are helping artists (but lets make this count for real!)

Revenue from Advertising

  • Could you use advertising revenue (e.g. for theatre/arts related companies) to subsidise the costs

Waste/Recycling in Theatres

  • How can we harness the waste from theatres – e.g. materials, wood, metal etc./
  • Setting up a network that seeks to recycle these things.
  • How can we move from small scale or informal sharing networks to something on a National Level?
  • Frugality and flexing as facets of a new culture.
  • Using dead time in theatres the dark – make the dark LIGHT
  • Betweens – time between exhibitions.

Collective Ownership

  • Could the be a model that get beyond the insurance issues?
  • Using Kickstarter (or other crowd funding model) to raise money to be able to buy resources and then share.
  • Could there be support from more major institutions to do this.


  • Just ask people for things more!
  • Do not invite the no.
  • Don’t be offended if people say no.
  • BUT the problem with this is that not everyone is good at asking or can ask.
  • How can we create a system that bypasses the machinations – or the shit! How can we create a template, a model – that is inclusive, well functioning and easy to use.

Final Thoughts

Partly this discussion was about a very practical concern of how to run this sort of thing – I would really like ‘this’ – okay that good I can borrow it from ‘you’ for free (almost free – certainly less that it would cost to buy)? BUT ALSO how can we address the current culture of ownership? How can we change the ways we think about the things that we have bought and move towards idea of sharing? And how can this help us become more sustainable as artists, and by doing so create better functioning and ‘richer’ communities?