CoTech Gathering 🪁 Spring Break 2021


CoTech Spring Break 2021 :kite: 8th–9th April


We invite all members of CoTech to join us for two days of delightful time together! We also welcome guests from international co-operative movement, particularly those specialising in tech.


The gathering is going to take place mainly over the morning of Thursday the 8th and afternoon of Friday the 9th. In between participants are encouraged to self-organise and hack away!

The general CoTech, GLADYS PERKINS ROOM will be open throughout two days of the gathering. The main scheduled sessions (announced below) will take place on Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.

Throughout afternoon on Thursday we invite people to explore topics we care about such as website and code of conduct.

We will mainly rely on the platform but we also intend to pull people into the exploratory world of the Fun Circle, all available through your browser.

:kite::herb:🛼 Thursday, 8th of April

— The State of CoTech

:round_pushpin:GLADYS PERKINS ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 10:00–11:00 BST
Facilitators: Luke decentral1se (Autonomic), Szczepan Orlowski (Animorph)

Welcoming session to touch base with what everyone’s been up to. We will share a presentation of bird’s eye view highlights departing from the recently published newsletter. We will also discuss priorities for CoTech and see what could we engage with in the over the coming two days such as reconsidering what CoTech is and updating the website.

— Co-operative Company Handbooks / policy documents

:round_pushpin:SADIE PLANT ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 11:00–12:00 BST
Facilitator: Hannah Blows (Animorph)

The original seed of the idea was to create a simple shared resource for CoTech members to view certain documents from other CoTech co-ops as templates for each other to remix, especially those that are less frequently shared publicly, e.g. template contracts, license agreements etc. But the wider landscape of how co-ops run can also be captured, and the idea quickly spread into policy and operations… How do you decide the ways you operate together as humans? What goes into your membership agreement and contract? How do you document agreements made within your co-op? What’s your process to onboard new workers into your co-op? Come and let’s puzzle this out together!

— Hubl and its trial at CoTech

:round_pushpin:RADIA PERLMAN ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 11:00–12:00 BST
Facilitators: Cyril Thiriet (Happy Dev), Calum Mackervoy (Code-Operative)

To those new to Hubl, the session will introduce its philosophy and direction, as well as summarise how CoTech has been involved in test-drivng the platform over the past months. We will hear from Cyril from Happy Dev, the team behind the project, on how Hubl is progressing. We will also find out about the upcoming features consolidating the user experience. We will also discuss how CoTech can contribute to development of this open-source system built on Solid. There’s things we could jump at immediately. not all of them require coding!

— Collaboration within CoTech

:round_pushpin:ROY CLAY ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 12:00–13:00 BST
Facilitators: Polly Robbins (Outlandish), Aaron Hirtenstein (Agile)

Session will look at how co-ops collaborate in CoTech. The motivation is to look at some of the examples of and barriers to collaboration. How can we establish a shared understanding both on the culture level as well as on the very down to earth elements such as day and cost rates. Three usual ways of co-ops collaborating will be shared and discussed to understand what would work best in the future.

— Shared Digital Infrastructure

:round_pushpin:SALLY FLOYD ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 12:00–13:00 BST
Facilitator: Shaun Fensom (CBN)

How can CoTech members work together to share digital infrastructure? At what layers can this work? Can we reduce reliance on service providers who don’t share our values? What are the challenges? Are there any easy wins? In tandem with the discussion Autonomic will present their new software project: Co-op Cloud!

— Website update session

:round_pushpin:GLADYS PERKINS ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 14:00 onwards BST
Facilitator: Chris Croome (Webarchitects)

Chris Croome: I’m aiming to spend some time updating the CoTech website during this event, the key aim being to update the listing of co-ops, I’m aware of two that need removing and 8 that need adding 4, I’ve sent these 8 an email asking them to join this gathering or let us have some content prior to it. If some other people would like to join in this effort that would be appreciated, we can do some screen sharing if necessary and hopefully a few more people could be got up to speed in how to update the site.

Everyone wants our website to be better!

:black_joker: First glimpse of Fun Circle

:round_pushpin:FUN CIRCLE ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 20:00 BST

:kite::herb:🛼 Friday, 9th of April

— Working groups space

:round_pushpin:GLADYS PERKINS ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 10:00 onwards BST

Open room for any other ideas people wish to explore together during the gathering, potentially resulting from the first day.

— Afternoon check-in

:round_pushpin:GLADYS PERKINS ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 14:40–15:00 BST
Facilitators: Animorph

Touch base session to review what happened so far, discuss next steps and prepare for the upcoming sessions of Day 2, inevitably leading us into the weekend!

— Planning physical gathering summer 2021

:round_pushpin:STAFFORD BEER ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 15:00–16:00 BST
Facilitators: Sion Whellens (Calverts), Szczepan Orlowski (Animorph)

The next Worker Co-op Weekend is Fri 23- Sun 25 July at Selgars Mill in North Devon, Stir to Action’s new residential training and events centre. The previous day, Thursday 22 July, has the potential for one or more pre-events, including a Solidfund strategy forum and potentially a CoTech gathering. Sion has checked out the venue. This discussion is to consider whether it’s something you’d like to consider, or to look at alternatives.

— International collaboration: experiences from other networks

:round_pushpin:ARLAN HAMILTON ROOM
:spiral_calendar: 16:00–17:00 BST
Facilitators: Nicolas Dimarco (FACTTIC / Fiqus), Naska Yankova (Camplight) & Neto Licursi (FACTTIC / Camba)

How we can evolve cooperative collaboration while building trust, growing our expertise, and getting organised in order to be sustainable, competitive, assemble interdisciplinary remote teams, and transform together to meet the challenges we face today.

Please use the Moodlight link to capture your answer to the question: “How do you feel working with other cooperatives?" Would be great to have your input prior to the session.

— Fun Circle

:spiral_calendar: 17:00 ONWARDS
Coordinators: John Evans (Code-Operative), Simon Ball (Blake House), Melissa McNab (Code-Operative)

How’s everyone doing? Hang out and drink, snack here in the WORK ADVENTURE FUN DUNGEON. It’s like the lobby, it’s open all night and where you can talk about CoTech and other fun stuff.

There is a multiplayer 8 bit work adventure world also you can also explore, it’s open from 17:00 but you may want to hit the lobby and chat. first up to you.

You can make an Avatar explore and talk to folks from CoTech in a 8bit world.

This is the link to WORKADVENTURE REALM

FIND SIMON IN THE WORK ADVENTURE 8BIT WORLD… he will be your guide to new adventures …

FROM 20:00 - Organised Fun - In work adventure world, get your avatar and be there for more organised fun in work adventure world…

Original Post - 20th of October

Seems like pandemic is not going away anytime soon. Last year we had two gatherings (Sheffield in April and Newcastle in December. We planned to organise next gathering alongside Worker Co-op Weekend in May this year. This summer @aaron from Agile Collective kickstarted organising a gathering for later in the year in Oxford but we soon learned this would be very challenging to organise.

Those who have attended any of the CoTech hacks/gatherings know the beauty of connecting to fellow co-operators in person and jointly contributing to strengthening CoTech (e.g. by drinking beer). Understandably, there has been a limited appetite for online gatherings since we communicate on this Discourse instance and other channels for years now. However, we do have new members (as well as long-standing ones) who might have not experienced any gatherings as of yet.

At the last monthly governance call we discussed the idea of connecting online for a hackathon but we did not know what could be collectively desired outcome of such an event. I was tasked with setting up a thread here (apologies for doing it so late) to start a conversation exploring ideas for an online hack. Before we even approach the question of dates and potential platforms, it would be great to hear from everyone whether they are interested at all and, if so, what would they like to engage with.

As a start, please allow me to suggest an exercise of listing 3 top things we could address at the potential gathering in early 2021. I will enumerate mine, feel most welcome to suggest completely different items as well as refer to each others’ points (for instance, do take apart my input below):

  1. Network trajectory and coordination - revisiting what CoTech has brought to the member co-ops and how to create more practical opportunities for us to come together. Naming the direction we want CoTech to go.

  2. Remote collaboration - understanding skills, aspirations and availability of other co-ops. Engaging with Hubl based on the trial period.

  3. Shared infrastructure - reviewing co-operatively run platforms for operations within co-ops and between them. What’s needed, what exists & works and what doesn’t. How can we contribute to improving co-op platforms?

If we gather enough input from different co-ops here we can hone the ideas at the monthly calls and eventually propose setting up the gathering via Loomio. Please share your thoughts & feels!


My number one priority is that it’s enjoyable, as I think this goes the furthest in terms of strengthening the network as you put it. For me, this is the primary function because it provides motivation to do the business and process stuff later on, which can be done more asychronously.

And so I think any online gathering should involve one weird trick the doctors don’t want you to know about:

Shared tactile experiences i.e. smells and textures. I read that there are companies that have started commencing meetings by all smelling cinnamon at the same time, or all ripping some velcro or something like that. The idea being that everyone is having the same experience even though they’re not in the same place.

I’d also want to replicate the experience of gatherings as far as having most interactions being between 2-4 people at a time. I’ve found that online calls bigger than that are not conversations more than meetings, and they become difficult to be casual in. So I suppose breakout rooms are very important to me for whatever platform this would happen on.

I think some kind of structure might be necessary to be enjoyable, so yes, I am afraid I am suggesting Organised Fun. I would like to avoid a quiz as far as possible, but maybe some other kind of game could be played that people could enjoy? Maybe distributed clues for some kind of narrative could play out over the course of the day? Or, maybe it’s like, tell us some secrets about yourself, so that we may deeply know you etc. Anything that moves the space away from “typical work call”.

I’m up for putting the work in to make it capital f-u-n FUN! Maybe if others are interested we could form the Fun Circle or something?


Fun Circle! I’m with ya


Would like an opportunity to pick the shared infrastructure thread up again


Thanks for kicking this off @SzczepanOfAnimorph

I have two things rattling around my brain at the moment:

  1. BizDev - can we work out a standard rates approach for collaborations that encourages collaborations and increases value to both coops.
  2. The CTO role in Tech Coops - how do tech coops do the work reserved for a CTO? (e.g. setting the technical direction, agreeing and monitoring technical standards and processes etc. Is this a challenge in your coop? Does it get easier / harder as your grow? How does this fit with a sociocratic structure (circles)? Do you have a de facto CTO? etc etc.

An alternative might be a physical gathering alongside Worker Coop Weekend, now tentatively recheduled for 23-25 July at Selgars Mill, Stir to Action’s new training centre.

Also an online worker coop event series is being mooted for 30 April-1 May, with an international focus.


Hi Sion,

Thanks for the information.

We had our monthly Co-Tech meeting today and would like to propose the spring gathering from 08-09 April.

The gathering could be broken into two parts:

  1. Morning part on Thursday (08/04), 10 am-1 pm; being from ‘state of the union’ and have several parallel threads running in parallel
  2. Friday (09/04) afternoon planning physical meeting and have fun into the night

Date of the next meeting: 31st March 2021 at 4 pm

Notes from today’s meeting are available here:


Thanks for a swift post @mikoliang !

At the GM the other day our co-op decided to step up and organise a little spring break 8-9th of April!

This online gathering will serve as a way of catching up and as a primer for the face-to-face gathering later in the year!

As @mikoliang suggested this online gathering would be made of two half-day parts:

  1. Thursday 8th of April - 10am - 1pm
  2. Friday 9th of April - 2pm onwards!

Thursday morning part will be dedicated to elements we would like to catch up with, some of them already brought up in this thread. After lunch and on Friday morning people can hang out and do some CoTech related stuff such as updating the website etc. but there will be no ‘official’ sessions.
On Friday we would meet after lunch to synchronise updates (e.g. what happened on Thursday), have a working session dedicated to planning physical gathering in summer(?) and run into the night with the Fun circle instigated by @KingMob @Kayleigh and whoever else is a joker!

We need your input!

  1. Aside from ideas for themes / sessions already mentioned in this thread, what would you like to happen during the mini-gathering?

  2. What are your tool preferences? is something we normally use at CoTech. AirMeet was mentioned during the call as an alternative… any other you would like us to consider?

  3. Any other ideas for best online CoTech spring break? Don’t hold yourself back!

@mikoliang @Hannah @Geoff and myself will do everything we can to coordinate, and we certainly invite everyone to contribute!


Crap, missed this again! So sorry. Will make a note for next time.

No worries @alex , you haven’t missed the spring break yet!

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Looking forward to the online session on April 8th-9th very much!

@Sion Selgar’s Mill sounds like it could be fun, I’d like to make it down there. Where do we find out more? And what are other people thinking? Seems so abstract right now!

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Break out rooms and self-organised sessions would be rad.


@simon.blakehouse a digital photobooth room could be set up to capture stills and a workshop room relating to investigating needs & developing the brief for New CoTech video… food for thought.


@Hannah is researching the platform tip @polly shared at the last CoTech call, very promising!

@decentral1se would you be up for presenting at the opening session on Thursday morning given you are now working on the newsletter and hence probably most most up to date with what’s going on?


Would be pleased to take part in a discussion on shared digital infrastructure if any interest - from 12noon on 8 April. Let me know please if you’re interested in joining me.


yes I’m interested Shaun

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Thanks for the Airmeet lead @polly! While initially very compelling, a test and dig into it leads me to think it doesn’t quite meet our needs, such as multiple sessions running simultaneously, even in the Business tier; would need to enquire about Enterprise to access this feature, which seems overkill for one small event. Also they push for Chrome-only which many here balk at; other browsers get a ‘Lite’ mode where they cannot interact with other users…!

A brief scoping of some other big conference/meetup platforms and despite all the lovely UI and trimmings I’m not finding compelling enough pros outweight the cons; a major one of both Remo + Hopin is that they don’t support users on Linux.

I propose to keep it simple (and co-operative!):

  • Propose and develop the sessions here in the forum (anyone, up until 31st March, 4pm)
  • Individual members of CoTech register to attend (Animorph collects email addresses, e.g. Eventbrite)
  • Confirm the session topics and who’s facilitating them at the CoTech Monthly Call (anyone + Animorph, 31st March, 4pm)
  • Publish confirmed schedule here on CoTech forum (Animorph)
  • Create a home room for the event on, and rooms for each session (Animorph)
  • Send the links to all attendees before the gathering (Animorph)
  • CoTech gains ++++++

Beyond which platform to use, our time and efforts will be spent aiding people to prepare and facilitate sessions.
Let us know how you want to get involved!


Yep, I can do that!

Also, we could do a chat/demo/whatever about Autonomic launches open alpha of Co-op Cloud - #4 by kawaiipunk is there is an hour free somewhere /cc @kawaiipunk


Thanks Simon.

Anyone else? We’ll talk about shared hosting from bare metal up to cloud apps. Maybe we’ll talk about connectivity too.

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I’m up for that. I would imagine @chris also?