Finding Us On A Friday

We meet every Friday from 10am to midday-ish at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, 16 Acton St, London WC1X 9NG. Everyone’s welcome.

Searching for #tuttle on twitter will always give you the most up-to-date idea of what’s going on.

If you’ve been at Tuttle over the past few weeks, you’ll have heard Lloyd talk about the new rota to make sure that the different things that have to happen to enable Tuttle to function each Friday actually get done.

We started off with a sign-up sheet – that’s right, a real piece of paper! – but we’ve now added this as a page on the wiki.

There are six different tasks, although one of those – opening up the building – is usually done by Brian (since he has the keys!). The others are

  • welcome, meet and greet – making sure that newcomers, guests and everyone else is made to feel welcome and comfortable
  • coffee and tea-maker – making sure that there is sufficient coffee and hot water for tea throughout the morning
  • tidying up – making sure that the space is kept tidy and clean
  • announcements – collecting and making the 11am community announcements
  • looking after coffee money – rattling the tin and counting any money donated

Just because you sign up for a task on a particular Friday doesn’t mean that it is your sole responsibility – there are usually lots of people to help make coffee and tidy up. We just want to make sure someone says they’ll do it so the same people don’t have to do it every week.

You can sign up to do one or more tasks on one or more Fridays on the service rota page of the wiki. Please take the time to do so if you can – it is down to us to make Tuttle happen each week!


C4CCTuttle runs from 10am to midday. It always has, that’s always been the deal – I had people today trying to tell me it used to be different. Nope, but I understand why that belief has come about.

In all of our previous venues, apart from our beloved #sexfactory, there was some form of catering, we had the space set aside for Tuttle and at 12 o’clock those who wanted to stick around and eat and drink could do so and at both the Coach & Horses and the ICA I just asked people to move to another part of the venue.

Now that we’re at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, we have a slightly different deal – it’s not a public space and there is no catering or serving staff. In addition I personally get overwhelmed by the number and variety of conversations I have at Tuttle. It was rare in the past for me to stick around – I always need some space after Tuttle and since there’s nobody employed here to keep the place open and look after people if I want to disappear I’ve had to chuck people out.

This is particularly difficult when people turn up just before 12 with the assumption that something will be continuing. At the ICA you could do that because the place was open and none of us *had* to stay to lock up and look after the space.

You don’t like this abrupt ending and neither do I.

So I’d like to suggest a different way – a smoother transition from “loads of people” to “everybody’s gone home”. We will have tables and a space set aside for people to have lunch that they bring with them if they want to. We will also make sure that someone from the Centre with a key will be around. At different times this may be me or Brian or one of the other keyholding project people like the Accidental Festival team. I will announce at 12 o’clock something like: “Tuttle proper is over for another week, but some people like to stick around for lunch so please help us clear away the coffees and tea stuff and set up for lunch”

This maintains a boundary around Tuttle but gives some flexibility for people who want to extend their tuttle time. It restores, I hope, the vibe around Tuttle that we used to have. I would then feel able to go away for a bit and get my head back on straight or do stuff I need to do.

Does this work better? What have I missed?


Wellington Country Park Pitch 63

I’d like to propose two (probably weekend) camps to be held at the Centre for Creative Collaboration sometime before the end of May. As always I’m canvassing general support before fixing a time – so let me know if you’d like to be involved firstly and secondly which weekend you’d like to do them on.

We talked about this a while ago, but I feel the need to have at least a day of discussion about what we’ve actually created here and what we do with it next. For me this comes down to “How do we continue to do cool stuff *and* generate enough revenue to pay basic bills” but I think it’s also about what is the whole thing for, how do we think it’s going, what sorts of things do we want to do now that we have access to the C4CC space for a while. I’m thinking this is just one day, but open to the possibility of actually camping overnight here and carrying on on Sunday morning too.

This idea came up when we were confronted with the stark white walls and floors of the Centre for Creative Collaboration. How do we make it more comfy? We also had a #tuttle before Christmas where a bunch of knitter/crochet/crafters turned up and did their thing in the corner. I think it would be lovely to spend a Saturday feathering our nest – bring fabrics and other materials and let’s make some stuff to allow the space to be used without us all getting stiff backs. Open again on whether one day or two days for this.

First visit to Centre for Creative CollaborationThis Friday, 5th February, we’ll be meeting at the brand spanking new Centre for Creative Collaboration which is a University of London project that our lovely Brian Condon has been working on for some time. If it works out OK I’m hoping that the Centre will become our home for the next period. I’ve been appointed Social Artist in Residence. It’s all very exciting.

You’ll find us at 16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG from 10am.

Right now, it’s a completely blank space. So we need some help to get up and running on Friday.

Chinwag are generously providing pastries as we’re part of Social Media Week London.

There are a few things that we’ll need to support us every week:

A kettle or two (we have a water boiler for day to day tea & coffee but Tuttle’s quite demanding) We’re oK on this front, ta!
A couple of those squirty flasks for serving the coffee & hot water [UPDATE Julia from Chinwag is bringing ONE – always good to have our own – donors’ generosity will be noisily exposed to the world]
Plastic plates [hmmm…]
Loo roll [Patrick says he’ll bring some]
Paper handtowels [possible samples from manufacturer – see comments below]
Ornaments and small pieces of art

IMPORTANT: If you’re bringing any of the above along, please let me know by e-mail so that I can make sure we don’t get 30 kettles and can’t get in the door for paper towels etc.

(obviously we *could* go out and buy those ourselves but I’m thinking that some people in our community might like to provide them in return for a small plaque in the centre noting their generous support)

Everyone can also help by donating any of the following:
A mug
A teaspoon
Special Needs Coffees & Teas
A bunch of flowers
Or anything you think would help us make it a bit more homely.

Though if you have none of these, you’ll still be welcome!

Just a quickie to let anyone know who thinks this is the best place to look that we’ll be the guests of 1000heads at their offices in Great Windmill Street, a hop, skip and a jump (or two depending on the length of your legs) from Piccadilly Circus (yes even closer than i-NET)

We’ll be there this Friday, 22nd Jan and the following 29th Jan from 10am until midday, but no doubt there’ll be folks heading off for shenanigans after that.

PS the *best* place to look for location updates is always a search on twitter for #tuttle


Canon Cameras at Tuttle

It’s getting harder and harder to pay for your own coffee at Tuttle. Since we moved over there, our new hosts, LEON, in Spitalfields have been very generously giving away free first coffees until 11am for lovely Tuttle folk – and now Canon Cameras are covering the costs for the whole session (within reason!)

Sam at Canon Camera Buzz writes: “At Friday’s event Canon will be showcasing cameras from compacts to high-end Digital SLRs. If you have any questions, whether on the products being demonstrated or any Canon camera, the Canon UK team will be there and more than happy to help.”

As usual, there’ll be room for you to carry on tuttling without having anything to do with the sponsor if you really don’t want to, but I think people who come to tuttle, but who aren’t interested in shiny new camera kit are few and far between.

If you want to know more, follow @canoncamerabuzz and the hashtag #canontuttle

Pastures new again

Lloyd Davis speaks at the first anniversary meeting of the Tuttle ClubAs I announced to the Tuttle Club on Friday morning, we are in need of a new home. The simple story is that there’s an education event going on every Friday at the ICA which is incompatible with Tuttle being there. They thought we could co-exist but having tried it out last week, they realised how excitable, energetic, noisy and disruptive our presence can be.

It’s been an excellent space for us, and I’ve seen upset in people about losing the space even temporarily, in the last day or so that is as much about affection for the ICA bar as it is affection for Tuttle or just a resistance to change. We care continuing our relationship with the ICA. In the pipe line, for example is a Tuttle Film Club. I’d urge you to consider being a member there – it’s a great place for people like us to support and be part of. And you get discounts (10% off at the bar), access to exclusive events & priority programme info all for £35 a year (or £30 if you ask for the Tuttle Club offer)

Now then. What are we going to do next. Well in the immediate term we need somewhere to meet next week. I had a lovely offer from Henry at LEON of using the space at their Spitalfields branch and that looks like where we’ll be, subject to final confirmation which I expect to have cleared in the next day or so. I will confirm the details here and on twitter – so if you can’t see anything else other than this statement, that means there’s nothing else to see. CONFIRMED – we’ll have a reserved section from 10-12 Keeping an eye on #tuttle on twitter is always a good idea anyway.

I don’t know how repeatable this offer is as we go forward or how sustainable we’d find meeting in a cafe like that every week. As a incorrigible prototyper and continuous improver, my challenge to the group is for us to find a space “even better than the ICA”. That’s a tough challenge but it also helps me remember that we’ve grown and changed in the last year and we should acknowledge that in our choice of future home.

We should in any case think hard about what to do next. There are a few options I’d like to play around with:

1) Stop, forget it, go home. It was fun while it lasted, alright let’s get back to Friday mornings at work. Should we? Have we run our course?

Given that we’ve consistently been attracting between 50 and 70 people every week (except Boxing Day) and still there are people who say to me “Ah Tuttle, yes I hear it’s very good, I’ve been meaning to come, it’s just been a bit tricky” and every week there are still more new people than I can physically meet in one session, I don’t think we’ve exhausted the format.

2) Look for somewhere else. Think of all the open empty spaces in London that we could imagine Tuttle existing in. Well, what are the minimum requirements? Most people say: somewhere to sit, the ability to make or buy coffee, and wifi. I’m interested in pushing that a bit further what are the things about the physical environment of the ICA that you really appreciate?

Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Barbican, all have large open public spaces. The School of Everything unplugged event manages nicely at the RFH, for example, but that’s at most 10-15 people. Even if the move halved the number of people we’d dominate the space we occupied, so it would have to be by arrangement with the venue, not just a flashmob. An important Tuttle principle is “Don’t piss the venue off” I also like having a space exclusively, so you don’t have to constantly be asking people whether their there for Tuttle or not when they wander up to the huge crowd.

It should also be free (gratis) – the deal with the ICA was that they didn’t charge us for the space and there was no minimum spend at the bar. I’m not at all keen on going somewhere that means we have to either raise a group collection every week or need to bring in sponsors every single week – if we have someone else’s space it should be on a philanthropic or patronage basis – they have to see (as the ICA did) what the value of having us there is, and it’s not straightforward to articulate and measure.

I’d like to nail a common assumption though. As much as we’d love to think that all venue owners would be grateful to have 50 or 60 people in their space spending some money on a Friday afternoon, when it comes down to it, anybody with a space that we’d be able to use, has an existing plan and model for how to maximise revenue from it and minimise their costs. Free might (or might not!) work in our business, but very few restaurateurs, pub landlords or general managers have gotten their heads around it yet.

I think there’s more mileage in expressing our need loudly and letting interested parties come to us, rather than go around trying to persuade people.

If we reject the first option and choose to continue then at least at first we have to explore this route.

3) Go Large. This is to continue with the original vision of having a space of our own, even if it’s contained within something else. It means grasping the nettle now and maing a business out of it, a business that engages in providing consulting services, running other events in a full-time space all of which subsidise the freeness of open Tuttling on a Friday morning (and doubtless afternoon too). Perhaps I’ve been waiting for a crisis like this in order to push me into really going much bigger.


Actions for you

I think there are a few things to do to help us all find our way.

1) Make a list of all the possible venues, their facilities, location, cost where known etc. This is something that’ll be valuable to the community as a whole anyway – I’m often being asked to suggest venues for stuff. So please contribute to the List of Cool Places (in London) to do Cool Stuff

2) Add to the list of selection criteria – let’s pull together what it is that we’ve liked about where we’ve been and would like to maintain or improve on in the new place.

3) Talk about it with whoever you can, open up conversations about who’s got spare space, who’d like to have us play alongside them, which cats are hep to our jive etc. Talk to me about how can we make Tuttle an even more exciting adventure. Bring me your evil plans.

And remember that this isn’t going to get sorted out for you, we all need everyone to help. Although I talk about a Re-Location Committee, that’s partly just an attempt to reclaim language – this isn’t the sort of Committee your parents served on – it’s self-selecting, if you want in, join in. And if you think I’m a complete nana and am missing the point or need a good talking to or whatever, let’s talk about it in the comments.

As you probably know, I encourage people all over to start their own social media cafe rather than trekking to the nearest big city and then moaning about how long it’s taken to get there.

I want to be absolutely clear, I own nothing here. I have no control over or responsibility for anything that these groups or their members do or say. Neither do they owe me or the Tuttle Club any allegiance – any affiliation is purely informal and may be as tenuous as the fact that one of the founders may have once said something to me about being interested in what we’d done. I have a feeling though that if I’d tried to franchise the idea with contracts and fees and branding and such, they wouldn’t be springing up quite so perkily.

We’re all in it together, kid.

Outside the Central London group (that’s us) I am aware of the following social media cafes, tuttles and tuttle-inspired events. I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone out. If I’ve left something in that died long ago, let me know.

In the UK, working roughly upwards from the southernmost (though my geography isn’t *that* good) …
Tunbridge Wells
Twickenham has kukutana
Thames Valley
Bath had a meeting and there’s a facebook group but not sure if there’s any more.
Cardiff has Trydan
Cambridge has Twig
Coventry & Warks
Black Country

In mainland Europe, I’m only aware of:

In the Land of the Free:
Boston, MA
Long Beach, CA
@langley started something in Denver, CO but it appears to have closed…
Chris Heuer has run a social media cafe at Citizen Space in San Francisco, CA
New York City, NY

So who’s going to get going on Asia, South America, Australasia, or Antarctica…?

Photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr cc-by

Sponsored by NCVO

louderlogobetaThis week’s meeting is supported by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations who are launching a new campaiging site Their aim is to create a tool resource for anyone campaigning for change:

“Through Louder you will be able to create a microsite for your campaign with the most used ‘change-tools’ the web has to offer. You will be able to connect to and manage profiles on other social media sites helping you coordinate supporter action.”

There’ll be a small group attending so do go and say hello and thanks for the coffee.

In the meantime you can also follow LouderDevelop on twitter.