Slaghammers is a feminist welding collective, prioritising women, trans and non-binary people. Based in Glasgow, they first came together in 2016 and took their name from the first tool they had in their workshop. They formalised their structure and became a co-operative in 2021. Their central belief is that learning how to weld is empowering and want to share that knowledge.
They have a core group of nine members from a range of backgrounds and professions. Some have college degrees in welding, some are self-taught and others are at the beginning of their metalwork journey. Members take on metal commissions alongside a variety of day jobs including; support worker, nurse, artist, cafe worker, architect, gardener, joiner and librarian. Several members started to learn informally with Slaghammers and have now gone onto college courses to train as professional welders.
By working together as a group, they have created a well-equipped permanent workshop and safe space which they can now rent out and run training events in.
Why was a co-op the right way forward?
Co-operative businesses are democratically run organisations owned and controlled by their members to meet the needs of those members. They are strong, diverse and stable businesses that create shared wealth that put people and place on and equal footing to profit.
Slaghammers wanted to create a structure that supported their horizontal, non-hierarchical and collaborative approach to working together. Having a larger group involved in the decision-making process appealed to them, as it allows for more transparency and a wider number of voices to be heard.
When looking at the options, they were drawn to co-operatives as they have a history of creating groups in more social, community-based contexts, as well as the support network that can develop between pre-existing co-operatives.
The group were working together informally and approached Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) for support around how best to take things forward from a co-operative perspective. CDS were able to work with them to help implement the most appropriate organisational approach and legal form for their purposes. Slaghammers Limited was formally registered in 2021. CDS were pleased to provide further support in 2023 to help the group review their governance, sustainability and revenue model.
What is next for Slaghammers?
The group envisage the space as being multi-purpose, where they can run educational days, have associate members working on their own projects, whilst also taking on larger commissions to support the running costs of the workshop. They are currently working out how to facilitate different tiers of membership in the group, depending on what people’s capacities are and/or need of the space is.
If you would like to access support to set up or develop your co-op, please get in touch using the link below.