This week, I was invited to be a guest on the Restart Project’s radio show on Resonance FM. we talked about the intersection of making and repair cultures, making a spot welder out of a microwave, and a bit of juicy news, “Error 53” (which will be long-forgotten in no time at all…).
Our first Maker Assembly event at the V&A was a great success, by all accounts. We had some nice feedback from participants and speakers; and as a test, it was useful: it felt to me like there is demand for this kind of critical conversation about making, and this is not served well at the moment. Continue reading “Maker Assembly #1: It’s a wrap”
There’s some power in negating what already exists. Even if you reinforce the dominant institutions by accepting their framing and language. Anyway, without wishing to get into that, I’m intrigued by these anti-school systems that are popping up. This quote via Antiuniversity, who are reviving an original idea from – when else – 1968:
‘The schools and universities are dead. They must be destroyed and rebuilt in our own terms. These sentiments reflect the growing belief of students and teachers all over Europe and the United States as they strip aside the academic pretensions from their “institutions of higher learning” and see them for what they are – rigid training schools for the operation and expansion of reactionary government, business, and military bureaucracies.’
I’m helping put together a conference later this month at the V&A called Maker Assembly. It’s an attempt to catalyse a more critical reflective discussion about maker culture, and add some more depth to our understanding of what making is about, and how we can do it better.
As part of that effort, I interviewed one of our speakers, Dean Brown about a project of his, the 7 Lamps of Making, in which he revisits the work of John Ruskin, the 19th Century art critic, who was a key influence on the Arts and Crafts movement, itself a resonant movement today.
Hannah Fox of Derby Museums gave a wonderful talk last night about the rebirth of the Silk Mill. She showed some of the collection, including this picture from their collection of Joseph Wright works. I couldn’t resist posting it here: such a beautiful image of material, and the heroic maker who works it. Continue reading “Joseph Wright – A Blacksmith’s Shop”
I spoke today at an event organised by Loughborough University Arts, as part of their Market Town programme. I promised I’d post my slides, and some useful links, and so here they are.
Makerspaces on the High Street
There is a great deal of interest in the rise of makerspaces and other sites of autonomous creative production. Can this energy be harnessed to power civic regeneration, and help create more liveable urban spaces? This talk draws on some research I co-authored for Nesta to set out an overview of where makerspaces came from, where they are now, and how they might contribute to the development of urban spaces.
- The maker movement: Brighton Mini Maker Faire, Derby Mini Maker Faire
- Nesta UK makerspaces research
- The data set on Github
- The hack(er)spaces network
- The Fab lab network
- Cambridge Makespace
- London Hackspace
- Autodesk Pier 9
- Stewart Brand on ‘low road’ buildings (highly recommended)
- 100,000 Garages
- My thing on Thingiverse
- Hem.com – personalised furniture
- Not On The High Street – personalised gifts
- UPS Cloud DDM
- Fashion makerspaces: New Vestures
From the event blurb:
As the growth of makerspaces, fab-labs, and community workshops continues we ask what opportunities could they hold for Loughborough and how could they support the town’s economic sustainability?
Recognised as sites of civic and social innovation, creativity and learning, makerspaces are increasingly seen as an exciting opportunity to support design, entrepreneurship, fabrication, manufacturing and technological innovation.
Key people writing about and working in this field will share their thoughts and ideas. The speakers will be:
- Andrew Sleigh: Researcher, writer and producer and one of the researchers on NESTA’s recent UK makerspaces mapping project
- Caroline Chapain: Lecturer at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Local Economy at Birmingham University.
- Hannah Fox: Development Manager, Derby Silk Mill.
- STEALTH.unlimited: A practice exploring the responsibilities and capacities of architecture in contemporary societies.
Market Town: a programme of new commissions and critical debate that sets out to re-imagine the future of Loughborough’s high streets.
Hello Sheffield! If you were at the Made North conference, and want to refer back to anything I said, here are my slides, and a few links for reference. Continue reading “My slides and notes from Made North”
For several years now, I’ve been turning over the idea of a gathering of makers. Not a Maker Faire, that aims to bring new people into the fold, but a coming together of people who are already makers, or who are interested in making as a practice, a progressive movement; an energy that demands critical reflection. For want of a better word, let’s call it a conference, without dwelling too long on the baggage that brings with it. Continue reading “Makers, come together”
I’ll be speaking, and on a panel talking about the New Maker Economy, at the Made North Conference on 18 June, which is part of Sheffield Design week. Continue reading “Speaking at Made North”