The Other Realm

 

What is The Other Realm?

A better question is more of ‘what will The Other Realm be’.  In short, it is going to be a design collaborative and cooperative education mixed use machine and fabrication shop that is open to the public and has a range of equipment that anyone can be trained in and utilize.  One of the innovative components of The Other Realm is its associate program.  This is a way that anyone can come and spend part of their time as essentially apprentices for existing cooperatives or other associated businesses in the area.  The rest of the associate’s time will be spend working on developing their own cooperative.  Then, when the newly created coop is ready, they will become an iteration on this model, in another area.  To learn more about the structure it will operate under, go to the section of this site under ‘governance‘.  In the beginning The Other Realm itself is in the ‘associate’ role; gathering the necessary constitutes, money, and other assets.

 

Who does The Other Realm consist of?

The Other Realm’s main focus is people with ideas but not the resources to have them actualized, and in sparking new thoughts into the minds of everyone.  The goal is to not target a specific demographic but more reach out to find people who need a physical space in which to operate and/or need to find collaborators.

This probably, hopefully, includes you!

Currently, there are several people involved in the process of finding grants and other collaborators, but we definitely need more people involved.  This is our primary activity at the moment – finding more people who are interested.

 

Where is The Other Realm?

Right now, it is virtually located in the minds of those who seek such a space but we hope to set roots somewhere in the Pioneer Valley of MA.

 

Why does The Other Realm exist?

So that taking an idea and seeking validation and actualization is easier for everyone and not just those already with the right tools.  There is not a public makerspace shop and associated organization in the Pioneer Valley of MA.  After much frustration in the roadblocks to solving problems and building new inventions, it was realized that someone needed to create such a place.

 

When is The Other Realm hoping to set up shop?

We are actively working on getting the ball rolling but it will probably be a bit of time until we actually have a shop.

 

How is The Other Realm going to pay for everything?

Initially, the goal is for grants and donations to pay for the establishment of the space.  However, to insure the long-term financial sustainability of the organization, the intent is to find people with business interests that are looking for space and/or collaborators that can act as the linchpins in the organization.  Then a percentage of their profits will go into a community fund that is used to pay for upkeep and improvements.  This also acts as a buffer so that, if some organizations are struggling, it will act as a lifeline that can be tapped into like a line of credit but with more flexibility than going to the bank.  The assets in play, that would be attractive to small business, are not just the machinery and physical space, but also the associate/partner relationship.  This system means that a pool of associates can work with any of the partner organizations without any additional cost (the associates will be paid from the community fund) or without needing to go tracking down help on their own.

However, these are early days and much will likely change.  This is just one model and like any good model still being hashed out, it has assumptions and unknowns.

 

What are the next steps, how can someone get involved?

Well, there are several first steps: the first thing that can be done is to fill out the info gathering survey: https://goo.gl/forms/uljmqdKxNUKBBHvC3

There is also a listserv that will be the main avenue by which we discuss things: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/theotherrealm

And a Facebook group that will be mainly for announcements, publicity and have a wider member list (the listserv will be for the nitty gritty): https://www.facebook.com/groups/otherrealm/

Lastly, there is a Kanban style task list at: https://tree.taiga.io/project/otherrealm-other-realm-infrastructure/kanban