In the late 90's James imagined an alternative model of lifelong digital engagement that would be free and open to all, and would develop a wide range of skills and abilities at a minimal cost. A key seemed to be mobilising the wasted resources he saw around him - prematurely obsolete technology, trashed materials, empty buildings, and the wasted time of people who couldn't find work.
The do-it-yourself media lab that emerged from that vision, Access Space, opened in 2000 and is still running today. It combines recycled computers, free software and the collective intelligence of a peer learning community to build a powerful platform for developing skills and enterprise. Access Space develops confidence, capability, creativity and connections, and seeks to spread its holistic approach.
Currently the organisation is researching the individual, enterprise and community development potential of advanced manufacturing technologies. James contends that access to technology and technological skills, are necessary, but insufficient, for individuals, enterprises or communities to thrive; other very different capabilities are also needed.
Photograph credit: (CC BY-SA 2.0) campuspartybrasil