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We are Prishtina Hackerspace

Prishtina Hackerspace is a co-working open experimentation space established exclusively for technological, educational, cultural and scientific purposes. The aim of the space is to:

  • Provide workspace, equipment and other resources for communal use by all members;
  • Encourage continued and after-school learning through workshops, classes, seminars and mentoring;
  • Create a safe and open environment for experimentation in technology and art.


Why Prishtina Hackerspace and not Prishtina Makersapce?

We use the term hacker in the historical 'creative use of technology' sense, not the 'media cyber-criminal' sense.

Hackerspace is the preferred term of the 'hackerspace movement', a growing movement which has exploded because individuals started these supportive communities where people can explore and do what they love. We all need community, and we all need to express ourselves creatively. Hackerspaces provide a physical space for exploring and supporting these two powerful, deep, inner needs.

The term makerspace could be used when you don't want to scare those who do not understand the true history of the word hacker.

Hackerspace info & history - What is a Hackerspace?

Hackerspaces are community-operated physical spaces which have been in existence for many years in various places around the world largely independent from government sponsorship. Each hackerspace is an autonomous entity, but they all share the same philosophy of having fun building things together. As defined by Wikipedia, "A hackerspace or hackspace is a real (as opposed to virtual) place where people with common interests, usually in science, technology, or digital or electronic art can meet, socialise and collaborate. A hackerspace can be viewed as an open community lab, workbench, machine shop, workshop and/or studio where people of diverse backgrounds can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things".

Hackerspaces typically use Free and Open Source Software, and Open Hardware technologies and generally have a consensus-based, democratic or even independent approach with a focus on action. Examples of activities and projects in hackerspaces include a wide variety of inter-disciplinary projects in mechanical, electrical, software engineering disciplines, arts and/or design with a focus on teaching each other how to make things and how to make them work.

References


Why was Prishtina Hackerspace started and why do we exist?

Problem / Statement

Kosovo youth lacks programmed activities open to all, especially those that expose niche skills and activities. This need becomes more acute during the long summer vacation when not much happens to keep these youth engaged in educational activities.

The current education paradigm in Kosovo is long overdue for a complete re-structuring. The pedagogic methods belong to a time when information technology was at its infancy, or altogether non-existent. Advanced curricula and pedagogic reformation are of utmost importance. However, the institutions responsible for this fundamental transformation of the educational system in Kosovo lack the resources and know-how to pull off this undertaking.

Innovative youth are left without an alternative to the obsolete system which they are bound to. Their output and contribution to their society is severely limited due to an environment which cannot fulfill their creative potential. Without such contribution from an immense portion of the population, Kosovar society continues to be intellectually and creatively handicapped.

Time which could be spent providing ideas and new creations is spent in idle activity and non-productivity. This leads to a cycle of repeating patterns and lethargic attitudes. Creative potential is misdirected or otherwise misused. This continued incapacity for skill development and community cooperation leads to a nation-wide brain-drain, with the majority of the capable workforce seeking to leave the country as the only means for further professional growth. On top of this, the unemployment rate in Kosovo stands at 45%. This number shows that a very large portion of the population is available or can otherwise be persuaded to engage in some form of productive activity, if provided the right incentive, or simply space and tools.

According to STIKK, the Kosovo ITC industry group,“...Kosovo continues to be plagued by an education system that at all levels fails to address the pedagogic and skills training needs of its students and the economy...the quality of graduates is poor and out of sync with workforce requirements”*

It is already being discussed a lot around the world, that we have to transform classroom, into collaborative, community supported settings. However, Kosovo stands a bit differently. The education system in Kosovo faces an ongoing decentralization process in order to improve the basis of social service delivery. This is a broad socio-cultural task, broader than any formal curriculum can hope to encompass, on the conceptual level it requires an inclusion of questioning of the existing mental models, mostly successfully reproduced through quality education, independent initiatives and social activities.

A number of potential contributors to Kosovo’s information and technology sectors remain the self-motivated, technologically-aware citizens. However, their platform for communication and cooperation is by and large non-existing, therefore their activities are restricted to virtual spaces instead of physical ones. Thus the great need for cooperative spaces which enable these self-motivated individuals to express and develop themselves accordingly.

We are aware and proud of the fact that Kosovo population is one of the youngest in Europe. In Kosovo, half of the population is under the age of 27 which represents an exceptional potential and energy for development, talent and creativity.

However, we are also aware that any such potential requires a proper channeling of this energy. The needs, desires and ambitions of young people need to be directed towards their concretization and addressing so that this most vital part of the population can give a significant contribution to the future of the country.

Therefore, we believe that an open co-working space, where people of same interests gather to share knowledge, work on projects, innovate, build and socialize is crucial to help the development of these skills and the future of Kosovo. Such spaces are also suitable for professionals and employed tech-savvies who need to share or apply their skills together with other people in a less formal setting.

Objective / Mission

Our objective/mission is to provide a shared space for collaborative technical and artistic experimentation in Prishtina, create a space with resources (hardware, tools, materials, access, knowledge) to members and the community to participate and take responsibility for individual and group projects. We aim to create an open community of hackers/makers, artists, and open source/hardware enthusiasts who will create, share, learn, and collaborate. We want to help spread knowledge to the larger community, especially in the areas of technology, DIY, security, and privacy, and assist other groups that share similar objectives.

In parallel with individual projects, the space will be open for member independently organized workshops, lectures and presentations, as well as just general gatherings that have to do with knowledge sharing, group tech projects for those that want to incubate in the hackerspace or those that just want to hang around at the hackerspace seeking help at some specific project that they might be working on.

Anyone from outside the hackerspace will be able to host projects and organize events, however, those are pre-approved by the hackerspace project managers beforehand and personal responsibility is required from the participants on the progress being made. Others who have a tech-related or social innovation project being sponsored separately by other organizations can also be hosted.

We are following the hackerspace models currently flourishing in cities all over the world. It is probably safe to state that hackerspaces are at the height of their popularity at the moment. Prishtina Hackerspace is where we begin making amazing things.

Target group and Beneficiaries

Youth who might otherwise engage in destructive activities will engage in educational and creative work, which will see their projects come to fruition from conception to realization. We expect most of our members and visitors to be high-school and university students, although there is no upper age limit. Prishtina Hackerspace will welcome all technology, digital culture and knowledge-minded:

  • Installation artists,
  • Digital artists,
  • Programmers,
  • Makers,
  • Technology user groups,
  • Musicians and
  • Craftsmen

willing to learn, share knowledge and work on hands-on projects.

The hackerspace can contribute to closing a critical workforce gaps, both directly and indirectly, by promoting technology, engineering, art and culture in the local and broader community in the world. Indirect beneficiaries will be the outside citizens/communities that will benefit from projects developed in the hackerspace. Indirectly the hackerspace will inspire excitement in hardware and software production, design, art and technology in general.

The direct and indirect economic development benefits of the hackerspace will range from employable skill development, participant self-employment, spin-off business ideas, to the attraction of venture and grant capital and will help to build and enforce the technological and creative workforce in Kosovo.

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