Saturday, 11 December 2010

Bringing, Sharing and having a Good Time

Thanks to all the people who came to share their skills and talents last Wednesday night in CAI. Everyone seemed to have a good time, even if they didn’t come away with exactly what they were looking for!

In the lead up to the event, what struck me was the amount of people who claimed not to have any skills to offer. It’s easy to forget that not everyone can do the things that you can do and that something you take for granted can be valuable to other people. So to help jog people’s memories of what their skills were we put up a number of headings that skills could be categorised under. They were Green Fingers, Computery Things, Health & Happiness, In the Kitchen, Art & Crafty Stuff, The Business World, DIY Dilemmas, The Life of the Mind and Miscellaneous. We also put up a list of other potential skills for people to take inspiration from.

We asked people to consider 3 basic guidelines for sharing and bartering:
-The unit of exchange is one hour
-Give freely – it’s better if you offer something you enjoy doing
-Skill sharing is based on trust and common sense – so keep fairness in mind.

People were then invited to spend the first hour putting up everything they had to offer and everything they wanted under the various categories. Then the next hour was for finding the people who were offering something you wanted and bargaining with them for it.

These were some of the skills offered...
Digging and weeding
Basic blogging
CV revamping
Intermediate knitting
Curry lessons
Basic hoola-hooping
Intro to sustainability
Wardrobe weeding
Bike maintenance

And some of the skills wanted...
Body popping
Bouzouki classes
Astronomy with binoculars
Basic Welsh
Positive thinking
How to screenprint
Mushroom foraging
Basic website design
Biological pest control

Bartering was good fun; I found myself in a few humorously tense ‘lay your cards on the table’ situations in order to get what I wanted, having to stand there and list every skill I could think of until the person I was bargaining with consented to do a swap.

A couple of people who weren’t able to come have asked if the skills swap can go on online. It would be interesting to figure out a way of doing this, however there are already a lot of skill swap and local exchange trading systems websites dedicated to this. ( Freeconomy , Cardiff Taffs) The charm of Bring and Share for me was being able to speak to people face to face, get to know new people and have a laugh. However I think we are going to have a look at putting the skills offered online for other people to do swaps for some time in the near future.

Actually I’m finding the barter mentality hard to kick – today on Twitter I spotted an opportunity and negotiated a ukulele lesson in exchange for basic sewing. Might be skill swapping for Christmas presents this year ...

If anyone would like to offer any feedback about Bring and Share or comments about skill sharing in general it would be good to hear from you...

1 comment:

  1. Finished the first part of one of my skill swaps today - decorated a bike for the Cycle Training Wales bike workshop to hang on their wall. in exchange I'm going to be getting a bike maintenance lesson, which hopefully will also include how to sort out my dodgy gears!