Portland, Oregon, a city known for having a strong D.I.Y. ethos, is no stranger to collaborative, D.I.T. (do it together) culture either. Case in point: the recent PDX Skillshare. Supported in part with a grant from Shareable, the event brought people together to exchange skills and information about martial arts, screen printing, meal planning and preparation, beekeeping, business networking, clawhammer banjo playing, and much more.

The PDX Skillshare offered several martial arts classes.

The idea behind a skillshare is that everyone has valuable knowledge, gifts and insights to share, and a casual, peer-to-peer learning environment is a good way to share these offerings with others.

Aspiring beekeepers learn the basics at the Beginning Beekeeping class.

As organizer Noah Heller explains, “We are all teachers. We are all students.” He adds, “Drawing inspiration from other skillshares, such as the Somerville Skillshare, we seek to encourage a reciprocal learning.”

Skillshare participants hard at work making stencils in the screenprinting class.

The PDX Skillshare brought together hundreds people of all ages and interests to learn from each other. Over 50 teachers volunteered their time.

Skillsharers expand their understanding of mushroom cultivation.

Described as "a day of free classes, taught and organized by your neighbors," the skillshare was a way to learn new skills, pick up a hobby and meet people.

Skillsharers get their groove on.

Looking forward, event organizers hope to have one-class skillshares as part of Repair PDX's repair cafes, and perhaps another large skillshare in the winter.

Getting some how-tos at the Sewing Primer class.

For those planning similar events, Heller suggests getting feedback on classes so you can improve the quality of your offerings over time.

Bike repair is a valuable skill to have in bike-friendly Portland.

He also points out that bringing people together in this way to share skills and time is a good way to build a community around sharing.

“This is a great way to build local interest in sharing,” he says, “and expand your reach via list and social media growth.”


Top photo: Skillshare participants pick up some bike repair tips. Follow @CatJohnson on Twitter

Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a content strategist and teacher helping community builders create strong brands. A longtime writer, marketing pro and coworking leader, Cat is the founder of Coworking Convos and