More-or-less what I said about beer in Berlin.
See also: IKBest4_more_cake_for_everyone
I once lived in a squat in Berlin. A condition of my living there was that I contribute to the squat in some way.
One of my flatmates was a "freelance programmer" (terminally unemployed) and a qualified brewer. My other housemate worked at an organic grocer, where he could get his hands on free barley. At the time, I was working as a cleaner. After cleaning floors 10 to 15 of an office block on Potsdamer Platz, I would go to the baker next door and eat leftover croissants. One day, I had a bright idea. I begged some yeast off the baker.
We had the know-how. We had water, barley and yeast. We didn't have any hops, but we decided to brew our own beer. We took it in turns to incubate the brew. The stuff tasted awful. But it was ours, it was free, we were proud of it. We could drink it and we could barter it for similarly dubious products made in the adjoining flats.
That building is now a "cultural centre" in the newly-hip quarter of Neukölln, where yuppies slurp matcha and complain about gentrification. I don't know if that's a sucess story or not.
But what I hope my story does show is that in-kind models are plentiful and they often don't need much formal control. Any one of us might be involved in several in-kind projects right now. One of the responses to the registration questionnaire was a question: how much control do we really need to exercise in an in-kind project?
Somthing else I hope my story shows is that it's not always just the product that counts, but having contributed. In the ways that suited us best, all 40 people in the squat were engaged in an in-kind network of give-and-take. And for us, the "product" was a fair community, not the yuppie hangout our squat has become, where unwashed losers like us would no longer be welcome.
For me, in-kind is about the process of learning and exchange itself: a relationship between equals based on trust and understanding, as well as the more obvious common scientific and political goals. Trust is really the key here. Héloise, I'm looking sharply at you, and I'd be looking even more sharply at Navin if he were here: this foundation of trust can only be built if the people at the very top are 100% convinced of the value of in-kind and and the quality of the model they have chosen. If you aren't convinced, stick around and let us convince you.
In-kind is not just about not having the money for the rent and so paying it in homebrew. It's certainly not about not having enough money to do great science and so having to go begging elsewhere.
It's about building and maintaining community across international borders, and about nurturing collaboration to do the best science the world has ever seen. France alone, Germany alone, Sweden alone, cannot do this. We can start this spirit of collaboration right at the beginning of a scientific project, whilst it's just a hole in the ground.
I want to finish by asking you for two favours. First, I want you to forget everyone who isn't here. We invited over 100 people; the 25 who are here are the right people to be here. Every one of you is here because I, personally want you, personally to be here. The second favour I want to ask is that you be creative and have fun during this workshop.
- Sonia Utermann, 24th April 2018