On Wednesday 20 April, we gathered in the bar of the Roco in Sheffield to talk about what a Maker Assembly in Sheffield could look like. Here are my notes from the event. If you’d like to make suggestions for the event, comments are open on this post, so please add your thoughts below.
I said I’d follow up with some theme ideas that seemed to come out of the sessions. It’s impossible to capture or synthesise everyone’s ideas, but hopefully this will include something of interest to most of you.
Current planned date, still TBC, is Wednesday 31st August. Please pencil it in.
Do you have something to share about the topic below. If so, let us know
1. Scaling up, sustainability, economic impact
Questions about a ‘maker city’. Does it maker sense for Sheffield to brand itself based on its past?
Moving from being a small-scale maker to a larger scale manufacturer, running a maker business.
Local, national, international impact. Is bigger better?
(Maybe the opposite agenda to the above)
Should we resist the path of the ‘hardware startup’, the urge to turn everything into economic activity, jobs, etc.
The importance of free experimentation vs prescribed work
Innovation is not equivalent to ‘new products’ but ‘new thinking’
How can we learn from the failings of previous tech movements (especially the web, and Silicon Valley utopianism)
In people, their experience, what they make.
In gender, ethnicity, sexuality, physical or social needs
Self-identifying as a maker, or not
4. Alternative his/herstories
C-base mythology (and other self-authored maker myths?)
The O’Reilly brand of Maker (TM)
Music (who was the accordian player mentioned?)
A making performance
6. Some other topics which we mentioned, but only briefly
Hi-tech/lowtech/trailing edge tech
Adaptive design/prosthetics/hacking the body
Education, and engagement (new makers). I feel this is more the territory of STEM groups and/or Maker Faire.
Some things came up which we might be able to address through activities, stalls or other features at the event:
1. Connecting up
Attending and talking to others is a good start, but maybe we could have a ‘would like to meet’ wall at the event, or a ‘I can give/I can get’ noticeboard, or some other way of surfacing connections. Lightning talks (3 mins to say what you do and don’t do) – but we would need to be careful this doesn’t become a ‘me and my cool project showcase).
If you’re interested in helping facilitate this, please get in touch.
2. Diversity of attendees
A lot of people don’t use twitter, or don’t identify as makers, or just don’t feel like this event could be for them. We need help communicating about the event to more diverse communities, and figuring out how to reach them. We may need help designing the event format so people with different needs can enjoy it. If you can help with this, please get in touch.
Thanks to everyone who came along and shared their ideas.