Teaching and Sharing Skills at the IG


Hey Makers!

Two common questions I get are “what classes are available at IG?” and “How can I teach a class or share my skills at IG?”

I want to specifically address the second question, because it is not always crystal clear how education works at IG. Sharing skills and training on tools is a big part of our mission and it is also fun and rewarding to do.

From the most casual to the most formal, here are few different ways to put something together.

The simplest is to just show up and have fun! We are a social workspace and if you have expertise in an area folks are bound to notice and ask questions about it. Most of the time, they will be happy to show you what they are doing as well!

You could also host something like a skillshare or informal meet-up. For someone who is already volunteering to staff a shift, it’s particularly easy because you could announce what you’ll be doing during that time and invite folks to come be part of it (“Friday we are making t-shirts with the vinyl cutter!”; “Every Tuesday is electronics night.”). It is customary to request donations from non-members, but if you are providing instruction or materials or doing prep work beyond the normal staffing duties you can cover those costs via the honor system. Just make sure people know if they are donating to support the makerspace or donating to support the artist or both.

The next step up would be a class for members only that trains people to use some equipment that we have. An example might be a specific 3 hour class on how to make a book start to finish at IG using the folder, sewing machine, and book-cutter. These types of classes are always free to members, and for members only, but IG will pay a stipend to teach them (typically $100). The public is welcome to join IG for a one-month membership if they would like to take the class. We ask instructors to give us a written “curriculum” so that the class could be repeated, and agree in advance on what a good class size would be (typically 3-6) so that each person leaves feeling empowered and trained. This is how we typically train members on welding, for example.

A third option would be if you wanted to share a specific skill with the world and get paid a little more for it. We offer premium classes that are advertised to the public and to which we sell tickets in advance. For something like this, we would set a date a month or more in advance and create some promotional material (a blurb and a bio for the instructor is usually all it takes). IG would advertise the class and handle bookings. Proceeds from the class are split 50/50 (or by special arrangement) after materials are paid for. This can bring in more money for both the instructor and for IG, but takes a little more work to set up and works best when the instructor has a strong “lesson plan” and has run the class a few times before. If the total cost of all the tickets sold is less than several hundred dollars, it’s generally easier to use one of the other methods.

In all three cases each guest must sign a waiver every time they come in, and the instructor is asked to use a sign-in sheet to that we can count how many folks are coming to our programming.

This list isn’t inclusive - partnerships with school or other organizations for example, are something else. But this should touch on the most common scenarios for most members.

***Regarding sign-in sheets and waivers for events - there is a yellow binder in the front room (along with several others) near the arcade machine with these things in it. Will say Sign-ins/Waivers on the spine. You can put it out, collect names, and put it back after.

If you have more questions or are interested in sharing your skills or expertise with other members or with the world, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot an email to me or to edu@ithacagenerator.org to get started.

Happy making, see ya down there

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