Building community at Diyode

Submitted by Diyode on May 29, 2013 - 3:05pm
A community conversation at a community workshop

What does community mean for us at Diyode?  Recently we were asked to intentionally think about this as part of Tamarack’s 1000 Conversations campaign.  Community is not something that we often think about rather, it is something that we just do.

What does community mean to us?

Community is your tribe that you are a part of.  It is made up of people who are participating in more than just themselves.  We naturally form community but sometimes barriers get in the way of this happening.  But if you give people the opportunity to do things they enjoy doing, then community will naturally happen on its own.


Why is community important to us at Diyode?

Diyode is a place where people come to learn from each other.  The level and diversity of knowledge in the room is sometimes astounding.  We each come from different backgrounds, many of us don’t even use our hands with our jobs.  But here we get to come together to tinker and learn from each other.  The possibilities of what we can do together is endless.  No matter what the topic, someone will have some level of expertise.

Through this space, we get to share our projects and aspirations with each other and feel validated.


What type of space are we trying to create?

At Diyode the most important thing is that we create an inclusive space where everyone feels comfortable to come and tinker and learn.  Expertise is not necessary just a desire to try.  This is an active community, we do not do things for people but rather we teach each other how to do things for ourselves.

So if a person comes in wanting to create an x, we will help them learn how to build their own x.  And maybe there first x turns out more like a y, that’s ok.  Keep trying and you will eventually end up with the x you are looking for or maybe something even better like a z.

Ultimately the journey is the reward; it is not about creating the perfect doodad but rather the exploration and the tinkering that you did to get there.

This is simply a place where people come to try and build cool things, just for the sake of curiosity.


There are many different kind of people use this space.  Some are here just for their own interest but the core people want to help each other and also reach out to the community.  There are opportunities for synergy everywhere, which leads to an environment of people helping people.  As we have become better known in Guelph we are being invited to take part in community festivals which we love to do because it gives us a chance to inspire a love of tinkering in others.

We are not sure why, but everyone seems to get along at Diyode.  I think it is because everyone is so eager to learn from each other and help each other out.  There is so much good happening here!


Have you had a negative experience of community? What made it negative?

Not here at Diyode but in other aspects of life.  Many people just want to take and not give.  But in a community it is important that everyone gives something for the greater whole.  That is why we end up with cameras in places, to stop people from taking.  In the case of Diyode, we have not had problems with people stealing, our challenge is people borrowing stuff from the space, this means it is not around for others to use.

Others in Diyode talked about having a negative experience of community at church.  Though they were young, they felt judged for not conforming to the norms of the group.

Communities run into problems when they get too big, whether it’s a church, a neighbourhood or a community workshop.  People no longer feel the same sense of connection so they fall into the trap of taking more then they give, or disconnecting completely.

Despite these risks and challenges, Diyode continues to be a strong community.  There are now over 70 members who pay for and use this space.  Not all of these members are part of the core community, but they all get to share in this community space and have opportunities to connect with others.


The Diyode community workshop is a place for making, 2500 square feet of tools and supplies for wood working, metal working, electronics, prototyping and crafting. Holding it all together is a community of people who like to get their hands dirty, and are always willing to lend a hand to anyone that wants learn something new.

Diyode is a non-profit organization with a mandate to foster an enthusiasm for DIY, to spread the idea that it’s better to build something than to buy it, and that it is better to fix something than throw it away.


Thanks for sharing

Thanks for much for sharing about your conversation. Would love to see some of the projects people have worked on in your workshop- what a neat idea for a creative, communal space!