Public Lab Wiki documentation



Host a Barnraising


« Back to Barnraising

Welcome! This page is under construction. Join us in gathering materials to help people host Barnraisings!

What's on this page?


About Barnraisings:

What makes a Public Lab Barnraising?

There are several important traits that all Public Lab events have. If you’re coming to an event for the first time, they are things you can expect to happen, and what makes a Public Lab event unique.

All Public Lab events:

  • Follow the Public Lab Code of Conduct,
  • Create learning moments,
  • Level the playing field for people to participate,
  • Increase collective understanding of environmental issues and community science,
  • Allow space for people to think and act creatively, use available resources, and move towards action.

Read more at publiclab.org/events

A Public Lab Barnraising is unique in that it also follows the principles of Open Space Technology (read more here):

  • Every person here is the right person
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Be prepared to be surprised
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • The Law of Mobility -- meaning, everyone is responsible for using their own judgement in moving to where their time will be best spent.

Together, these guiding principles help to create the space for the unique and genuine collaboration that Barnraisings have!

Why host a Barnraising?

Sharing a physical space with others can be extremely productive and rewarding. Barnraisings, in particular, help people to share and build knowledge with others. Barnraisings have been known to help people:

  • connect with others and build social bonds,
  • dive into local issues,
  • share a physical space to be creative, and
  • work on projects, and bring newcomers in.

At a Barnraising, agenda-setting power is moved to the participants. We all come to the space with our own ideas and interests on what we would like to do, and through a facilitated process, actually set the schedule together. This means that everyone who is there is part of the process of deciding what happens with the shared time and space.


Barnraising Hosting Resources:

Pre-Barnraising event materials:

Activities for planning and logistics

There are a number of things to do to get ready for hosting a Barnraising. You need to find a location to host the event, set up a budget, open registration, do outreach about the event and organize information about who is coming. Below are some activities that can help support you in getting ready to put on a Barnraising:

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Build a budget for Barnraising - - @stevie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Picking a venue for a Barnraising event - - @stevie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Setting up Barnraising registration - - @stevie - - 0 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Activities for the week before a Barnraising

There are specific tasks that need to be done the day and night before the Barnraising event. It's helpful to ask for support in getting these things done!

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Make nametags for in-person events like the Barnraising - - @liz - - 0 replications: Try it »
Create a run sheet + facilitator script - - @liz - - 1 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Activities for the night before a barnraising

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Set up a schedule grid for an Open Space event - - @liz - - 1 replications: Try it »
Make Open Space signs for an event like the Barnraising - - @liz - - 2 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

the image below shows what a great Welcome/Registration table looks like: alphabetized namebadges, stickers for customizing name badges, waivers to sign, pens to sign with, copies of the Code of Conduct, and free Public Lab stuff that people can take if they like: IMG_20151120_083909265_HDR.jpg


Resources useful at the event

Activities during a Barnraising

There are activities that you can build into your Barnraising schedule to help you to support the group. For example, you can build in activities that help the group with documentation and in sharing out new ideas. Below are some activities that can be done during a Barnraising event.

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Collaboratively document an event with a mini newspaper - - @warren - - 2 replications: Try it »
Take a group photo at lunch of the main day - - @liz - - 1 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Family and Fun activity ideas

When making family friendly events, you need to make sure there are good activities for people of all ages. Having a couple sessions that focus specifically hands-on, youth friendly activities is really helpful! See some options for activities below.

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Building miniature kites at a family science night build - @SuziT9 - - 0 replications: Try it »
Reverse Engineering (a hands-on STEM activity) - - @SuziT9 - - 0 replications: Try it »
How to Get Excited About Climate Change Prep #climatechange #science #citizenscience - - @Zengirl2 - - 0 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.


Printable resources


Join the brainstorming here:

Title Author Updated Likes
What are some good kid friendly activities people can run at events? @stevie 10 months ago
What are best practices for hosting family friendly events? @stevie 10 months ago
What are good activities people can do in downtime at multiday events? @stevie 10 months ago
What are good ways to capture outputs and notes at events? @stevie 10 months ago
How to best write a debrief of a session at Barnraising? @pdhixenbaugh 12 months ago

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