An unexpected journey to infinity (well, Walthamstow...) and beyond...
For me, it all started in Swansea back in 2012. I'd been banging the drum locally about shared workspace and had played with the idea of a multi-use work studio for years. The truth is, I couldn’t see a way forward. Rent and rates were prohibitive, there seemed to be space everywhere, but no way to access it. I'd been working with a business mentor called Jules Mallory Skinner, as well as Huw Williams who had started Swansea Creative Hub and was now freelancing for Coastal Housing.
I'd talked with both about the need for a shared workspace in Swansea. Jules had been involved in similar schemes in the past and was happy to chew the fat with me (and offer up some sound advice), while Huw had the keys to a number of new buildings on High Street. Soon after, I was reading through a blog post on the Welsh Music Foundation's website: “Mark Hooper, founder of Indycube Coworking space in Cardiff was looking to expand.” He had earmarked Llanelli, among other Welsh towns. What, no Swansea on the list? I thought. Must be a football thing! Anyhow, a few emails later routed through Jules and Huw and IC Swansea was off the ground. I became anchor associate and relished the chance to help grow IC Swansea into a thriving community.
It's been 5 years, 50 thousand road miles, tens of thousands of hours of wild-eyed talks on revolution, independence and how to change the world one desk space at a time, and here we are. I've lost count of the number of indycubes we've opened, although legend has it there are thousands. I've met some of the craziest, loveliest, most passionate people a man could ask to meet. I've traveled the length and breadth of a country I was born and bred in, but had barely seen and have been genuinely blown away by how staggeringly beautiful this corner of the world is. I've fallen in love with a language I can barely speak but somehow understand and with places I’ve yet to visit.
So here we are in 2017, amidst new staff, national news and press, praise from high places, our first London based space in Walthamstow, and the launch of our cooperative. What have I learned? That basically everywhere we go the story is much the same. Lots of hard working, genuine people, willing and ready to try their best. People who make a difference. People who give a damn about where they come from and care about where those places are going. From Wakefield to Bangor, Pembroke to London, the story is same. An unexpected journey... and some!
Mike Scott is one of indycube's directors. He is still based in indycube Swansea, where he continues to bang the drums both hypothetically and literally. He is the face behind the ever-evolving indycube.community website. Send him a smoke signal or drop him a line on @mikescottindy.