DIYBio Continental Congress, London, May 8th 2011 - Personal Impressions

Last weekend, some fifteen people gathered in London for a workshop on the ethics of DIYBio, and I thought that I should write about it. The goal was to work out some kind of code for people who kinda-sorta feel associated with the DIYBio movement. The workshop was organized by Jason Bobe from, who deserves thanks and bunnies and rainbows for bringing all these people together.

So. This is mainly a post about my personal impressions from the workshop, excluding any actual results, the reason being that there will be an analogous workshop in the States in June, and we agreed that we don't want to influence or bias it by publishing any of our results or discussions.

First off: It was brilliant to meet everyone. We had participants from Le Paillasse in Paris, London Hackspace, DIYBio Manchester, BiologiGaragen in Copenhagen, and from Cork (Ireland), Freiburg and Berlin. Definitely expanded my "places to travel to in the near future" list.

Truth be told, getting to meet people in person was my main reason for attending. Having grown up in the comparatively old and well-established German hacker sphere, somewhere between the ultra-political Chaos Computer Club and the more free-spinning parts of the hacker community, I'm somewhat cynical when it comes to community codes.
Despite that, it was certainly interesting to learn the various viewpoints, motivations and aspirations of the attendees. And of course, the post-workshop pub session was at least as interesting as the workshop itself.

All in all, I think a significant outcome of the workshop may have been to bring the very scattered European DIYBio community closer together. Contacts and mutual invitations were exchanged, and there has been talk of organizing a more hands-on get-together in the near future, which would be just rad. Let's see whether we can make it happen.


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