While shared working spaces have been popular around the world for quite some time, it’s only becoming popular in Indonesia in the last couple of years since the FOWAB folks in Bandung set up their fist hackerspace, which has since moved to a bigger and better location. Jogjakarta followed up by setting its own hackerspace not too long after. Since then there has been other shared spaces set up across the country and plans for more are being talked about with increasing frequency.
This increased take up of such a space is being spurred on by the rise in freelance and entrepreneurial individuals looking for places in which they can go about their businesses without having to incur expensive set up fees and deal with all sorts of leasing commitments. Coffee shops are popular spots for freelance workers and startup founders to work at but these places have various limitations which could be overcome by having shared working spaces instead.
More recently a community working space is being set up in Ubud, Bali. Cleverly named Hubud, short for Hub in Ubud, is the brainchild of three foreigners looking to set up a space of their own. Video editor Peter Wall, designer John Alderson, and United Nations consultant Steve Munroe who got together one day and decided to move forward with the idea of a shared space in Ubud.
At the moment Hubud does not have a permanent space yet but hopefully it will change soon. Hubud currently relies on Facebook to engage with the community as it does not yet have its own website, and the web address hubud.org redirects to the Facebook page.
DailySocial had an email conversation with Peter Wall a short while ago about the space and this is what he had to say:
How did the idea for a co-working space come about? I mean there are plenty of others around the world but what prompted you to set one up in Ubud? Never having been there I’m curious as to the scene and likelihood of people taking advantage of the place, so perhaps you can give me a background on that as well.
Peter W: The idea came about totally organically. I had been thinking about it for a while, as I’d been living in Toronto before Ubud and had been inspired by the work of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) there (which just this week announced they’re opening a third building!).
CSI must be one of the largest co-working spaces in the world by now, so just an incredible place. And John, my partner here, had also been thinking about a co-working space for Ubud – longer than I had actually. And a friend at a ‘guy’s night out’ here in Ubud connected us.
Steve Munroe, our third partner (and also at the party) had developed a similar idea when he was living in Phnom Penh a few years back, and so we came together and just ran with it. It’s been great working together and feeding off each other and are so excited about the project moving forward!
As for Ubud, I think the community is in a really interesting place right now. There is a very powerful convergence of many different communities here and in many ways they aren’t connecting as well as they could/should be.
Of course there is the Balinese community, which is obviously very rooted here and connected to their incredibly creative traditional artistic endeavors that really put this place on the map as an artistic haven/mecca. And then there’s the Indonesian community, with people from across the archipelago who have either moved here or who come here to retreat or be inspired creatively.
And there’s the long term ex-pat community – many of whom who have been here 10, 20, or 30 years, and who have contributed a good deal to creating a unique vibe in Ubud, and finally there’s the new ex-pats, those of us (like me) who have been here only a few years, or months, or days, and who come here and find an incredible energy and vibrancy to the place.
Now these communities are all here, but in many ways aren’t connecting as much as they could or should be. So the idea behind Hubud is to have a place, a creative place, for people to come together and collaborate and work together. There are basically no large corporations here (other than a few chain hotels), so almost everyone is either a small business person or an independent freelancer. We want to create a space for these types of people to come and connect and work together, while still being independent.
What’s the place like, have you got photos to share? Is the place up and ready or have you still got some setting up to do?
We are building the community first, and the space will come second. We’re starting May 21st with a pop-up – a two week trial run at a cafe we are taking over in central Ubud. The pop-up will be the week before and the week after TEDx here in Ubud, so a lot of ideas and people will be bouncing around.
We have already connected with many Ubudians, and are hoping to connect with lots more – and want people’s input as to what type of space/community they want. We’ll then move to the next phase – finding a semi-permanent space we can rent for a few years… and then eventually we hope to build/buy our own space.
What kind of infrastructure have you got in place?
The pop-up space will have a large “mother table” to work at, and then various nooks and crannies to work at. There will be coffee, tea, etc., and a shared printer. The space will be a collection of ‘zones’ that support different activity, like a library/tech center, a conferencing pod and so forth.
What kind of scene do you expect from Hubud? Hackerspaces in Bandung and Yogyakarta are clearly technology/web oriented while Ubud is synonymous with creative writing, but something tells me it won’t be all writers. Clever name by the way
It’s a good question. I think we’ll see a large mix. We’re hoping for a mix. There are so many creative types here, writers, photographers, artists, designers, architects, filmmakers, but we think everyone is creative. Entrepreneurs are creative. Small business people are creative. So the idea is to get whoever wants to come into the space and, as someone smarter than me has said – allow accelerated serendipity to happen. One theme we anticipate in Ubud is invention/reinvention – very broadly speaking this is the totally creative space that many people are in here.
What can visitors expect from Hubud or from joining Hubud, and lastly, is there some form of membership? What’s the cost structure for visitors?
The idea is to have a membership, based on hours per month, or months per year. A drop in for 1/2 day/full day is also likely. We haven’t set up the cost structure yet. The pop-up is free, and we’ll get input from the community on what type of costs we might have. So stay tuned!
[image from Hubud Facebook page]