If you have any questions about our skills exchange here is a list of FAQS. If your query isn’t answered here please contact me and I’ll get straight back to you
Q: What is the aim of the Mutantspace arts skills exchange?
Mutantspace is a cooperative that simply wants to provide people with the skills they need to be creative, to make, play, create, experiment and fail
Q: How does mutantspace work in different parts of the country, of the world?
Mutantspace provides members with a skills exchange bank that can work anywhere. As a cooperative it’s very much about local groups and individuals helping each other develop and produce whatever arts projects they’re involved in. However, as the skill bank is online, people in localities everywhere can use it whenever they want.
What this means is that our skills exchange has the potential to create independent cooperative cells, in cities, towns and villages all over the World. The advantage of all this means that the co-op can be operated on a very local level, serving the interests of the local members, while at the same time linking them up to the entire international membership. Simply put, by starting small in our own backyard we can do anything so long as we pool our skills for the mutual benefit of each other. It’s not a big individual ask but by all of us giving a little we can create alot
Q: Don’t these types of groups/collectives end up with much of the work being done by a few?
Mutantspace is not a formal group nor is it a collective. It is a diy arts cooperative made up of individuals and therefore is not reliant on holding endless meetings in order to make small decisions. Individual and group members work with each other when it suits them to do so and decisions are made between individuals working with each other, on projects, through the co-op. There will always be those who contribute more but that is a choice made by the individual
Q: How do you prevent people from taking advantage of the opportunity to access skills for their own benefit?
Mutantspace works on the basis of trust and mutual self interest. The more you do the more you get out of it. The members that develop more arts projects through our skills exchange will benefit more. However, if a member is found to have posted a skill into the bank in order to take advantage of the trust given to them they will be found out and ejected from the co-operative
Q: You say that the principles of trust, co-operation and active participation are fundamental to the success of the cooperative. Are you not being stupidly naive in thinking people want to help each other without looking for something themselves?
Whether we are stupidly naive or hopelessly optimistic the fact remains the same. We want to create an alternative to the mind numbingly boring, tedious, sanctimonious and consumption ravaged space we currently live in. To do that we need to take responsibility, work together, share, trust and co-operate. We hope that people get something out of the network for themselves. We don’t rely on altruism and collective harmony AT ALL
We want an active, articulate, discursive space where people are interested in play, get excited by play and are enabled to play by taking advantage of our skills exchange, arts festival and culture blog. However, people must take responsibility and recognise that for everyone to get something out of the co-operative they must put something into it
Bottom line: Whatever you put in you’ll get back alot more. Creating playful spaces means sharing and collaborating. That’s what it’s all about. You won’t get anything else out of it- it’ll just be a waste of your time. Besides, isn’t it time we grew up and realised that self serving individualism isn’t making us happier?
Q: Does mutantspace produce its own cooperative projects?
It does indeed. We run a bi – annual DIY arts festival in Cork, Ireland called the Trash Culture Revue. Check out our previous events to see what we’ve done to date
Q: Is mutantspace opposed to profit making projects?
Mutantspace is fine with profit – there’s nothing wrong with making a few quid and we all need to pay our bills – but it is NOT about profit. It’s about fun, play, imagination and creativity. However, if a project team sell tickets or goods at a mutantspace event all the better for everyone involved
Q: How are you paying for this website?
Out of my own pocket. I did try and build this site myself but quite frankly putting a well designed and efficient website together was way beyond me and so I got the experts in to do it. And they did a great job. So if you find this site useful and get alot of play out of it and would like to help us along you can always donate a few quid or help us out by marketing the site in your own area. I’d much appreciate it
Q: How do you quantify the cost of funding in kind without it leading to arguments and bad feelings within the co -op?
You don’t quantify it. That’s the first mistake. It’s the value of the contribution not the cost. This arts resource is about taking responsibility for your own space and helping others with theirs. However, it must not be forgotten that one of the core principals of the co-op is mutual trust and responsibility. It can be difficult to find the balance between give and take – especially living in the consumer society we all live in now – but that is part of the challenge and the learning process. We will all benefit from the lesson
Q: Are there any guidelines on posting skills into the skills exchange?
Give serious consideration to whether you’re willing to share your time and skills with other members. It’s a big commitment and there’s no point in wasting your time and other members time if you’re not
Be realistic when posting your skills into the bank. Be sure you’re willing to share everything you’re offering. Remember, putting a small amount of skills and time towards cooperative use can make a huge difference
Please remember that once you have posted your skills it will be assumed by other members that your skills are available within a period of 2+ weeks of requesting that skill. If there are specific times, etc that you are not available please state them on your registration form
The sharing of skills is always decided by the interested parties through email. If there are any problems please contact me
It is important that you’re honest when posting your skills. There is no point in misrepresenting what you have to offer
Members receiving skills must pay for additional costs above what is being shared e.g. petrol costs, materials, etc
You can always add or take away from your own account as circumstances change. Mutantspace is a fluid co-op and very aware of how circumstances change from day to day
The skills exchange is not to be used as a rental agency or a buy and sell site
All potential members have something useful to give. Whether it stems from a hobby, an interest or special knowledge. What you think is worthless may play a critical part in another members project or may stimulate someone’s imagination. Everyone has part to play. It is important that you fully describe what your services offered are as it is critical that no one is misrepresented in the exchange
All information is strictly confidential. Please let me know if there are any problems with your use of the skills exchange
Mutantspace reserves right to dismiss any member who takes advantage of the trust given to them by the other members
Q: I’m not sure what I could offer to become a member
Any useful service that could make a good contribution towards an arts event or project is acceptable. It could stem from a job, hobby, interest, talent or just from special knowledge you may have. Instructional services are also welcome as long as they contribute towards an actual event or project i.e. teaching someone basic production skills wouldn’t be appropriate however doing production for someone’s event would. If you’re having difficulty thinking of a skill to offer, feel free to contact us for advice. Our considered view is that everyone has something to offer in mutantspace
Q: Who pays the expenses incurred in providing a skill?
The receiver of a skill pays all direct (out-of-pocket) costs that occur when another member provides that skill. A photographer, for example, would charge for the film used, but not for their services, the depreciation of the camera, studio rental, or any other overheads
Q: How much detail do I need to give you in regards to my skills?
The more details you can give the better as other members may need quite specific skills e.g. specific sound and lighting gear, genres of music, theatre, art, food, sport, etc. The more accurate you are the better for the whole cooperative. Think of how important detail is to you
Q: How many skills should I offer?
Every member offers at least one skill. Some members may list more (two would be the average). However many skills you offer, you’re protected by the weekly maximum number of hours that you stipulate when you join. That maximum applies to the skills you give but not to the skills you receive.
Q: While bartering works on a one-to-one basis how can I be sure it’ll work online?
This is not a barter system – it differs radically in that our members freely share their skills; they don’t have to “balance out” what they use against what they give. Members use as many listed skills as they want, without limit, at any time.
Members are also protected with respect to their own time. Each new member stipulates a weekly maximum number of hours for which he/she is available. Members never give more time than they’re comfortable with. However, there’s no maximum applying to what a member can use
Q: How much time do I have to put in? What’s the average?
You set your own weekly maximum. (See the previous question). There are no guidelines for setting that maximum, and averages are not meaningful, since there are too many variables (nature of the skill, demand for the skill, etc). Choose a number with which you’re comfortable. Most members rarely meet their maximums. Having said all that a couple of hours a week is pretty measly. I’d suggest anything from 2 hours+ a week on average
Q: If nobody wants my skills, can I still get a skill from the bank?
Yes. However, that does not mean you can put down some esoteric resource such as badger tickling for membership purposes and then proceed to take advantage of the other members. It will be up to the discretion of mutantspace whether or not your skills are appropriate. Remember the primary function of this cooperative is to help people produce arts projects and events so anything that can help in that aim is welcome
Q: Can I be sure the skills information is correct?
I try to ensure that all skills are regularly checked. Members are encouraged to let me know if there are ever any problems with the bank services. Please remember that this cooperative is based on self governance, responsibility and trust. We’ll never get anywhere if we constantly take advantage of everybody at every turn. If a member misleads the membership and are found out they will be struck off
Q: What if a requested skill interferes with a paid gig?
The paid gig always takes precedence. Please let the requesting member know of that possibility when the request is made. And don’t do it at the last minute try to give people good warning
Q: Can I offer skills at a discount?
The short answer is no. However it might happen that a member who uses your skills might pass your details onto somebody else or might hire you for another job. For example if you’re a designer and another member uses your skills and is pleased with it you might gain more business through them. If you’re a band and you play for a mutantspace project you may find that somebody at the gig wants you to play at another event, gig, festival, etc…
Q: What if I don’t have time to meet my responsibilities?
You’ll find that’s not a problem. You control in advance the amount of time you’ll devote, when you fill out the registration form. (You can even change your limit during the course of your membership). Most new members are surprised they aren’t contacted more often
Q: How do I know I can obtain a skill when the need arises?
Members are required to follow the membership rules. In summary, these rules obligate the members to provide their particular skill within a short period of time, usually a week, except in clearly defined circumstances. Members who don’t take the rules seriously maybe removed from mutantspace
We don’t share any information about members or prospective members
Q: So how do I join?
Just click on the register button and off you go. We hope our skills exchange helps you play and that you enjoy helping us build a new, exciting, fresh and alternative creative economy