Public Lab chapters connect people locally working on Public Lab projects. They help expand the foundation for a locally and socially contextualised presence in the global Public Lab community.
Each chapter has its own personality but some things are universal:
- Chapters agree with (and add to!) the values statement
- Chapters have at least one member who is an organizer
How to start a Public Lab Chapter: Step by Step
First make sure that at least one individual (you!) goes through the basic steps of joining the Public Lab community!
Finally, email the organizers to let them know you are interested in starting a chapter. An individual organizer will step forward to help you go through these detailed steps (order varies):
- Create a new wiki page for your area of interest describing initial partners/stakeholders, research questions, and interests
- Reach out to the main publiclaboratory list to find community members who may already be in your area
- Host a public event in your area. Here are some guides, and info on how to post an event on publiclab.org
- Help people in your area sign up for publiclab.org
- Become an organizer yourself
- Once more than ~20 people are involved on an email thread, we can consider starting a new regional mailing list
Chapter development and diversity
Welcoming new members and new organizational partners will be an ongoing (and fun) part of developing the chapter. Getting metaphorical for a moment, Public Lab chapters are sometimes thought of as going through stages, like “seed,” “shrubbery,” “flowering,” “canopy,” etc. To help chapters grow, look for individuals who could fill key roles in the chapter, like "activist," "technologist," "ambassador," "wrangler," etc.
Here are some overall best practices that have been compiled from chapters:
- Discuss your goals individually and as a group
- Schedule monthly or quarterly meet-ups
- Share back to and connect with the global Public Lab community by posting research notes on what you're doing and thinking about
- Host a regional barnraising in your community, and send someone to the Annual Barnraising in New Orleans, in November of each year.