In 2018, Maker Assembly is supporting a series of network activities by Maker Groups across the country. The first of these is New, New England House in Brighton.
New England House is a council-owned, multi-storey factory in the middle of Brighton. New, New England House is a project led by local regeneration agency, Spacemakers, to “reorganise the building, from the bottom up, from the inside out”. Working with building tenants, the creative communities of the city, and with partners including Assemble, Europa and Peter Nencini, their ambitions are to create a space that will:
- be an open, affordable and public factory for the benefit of the whole city
- create a new economics for the building, and increase the surplus the building generates for the council
- be a cheap, rough and ready place to make things, by hand or on screen
- be a place where Brighton can produce, instead of just consume
Maker Assembly is supporting a series of community events (“Talks on Production”) throughout the summer to invite people into the building, galvanise interest in the project, and learn from others working to similar ends.
So far, two events have been held; the first with Kathrin Böhm of community drinks enterprise Company Drinks, that links east London’s history of “going picking” with a full drinks production cycle. She talked about collective products; International Village Shops; undercover feminism in German villages; being an arts project and a drinks company at the same time; and how to build an economy that makes more people happy.
The second event was with Amica Dall from architects and designers Assemble, who talked about working with communities who’ve been defending their houses from the threat of demolition for decades, and refurbishing those houses with parts made from the rubble in the streets around them; setting up open-access factories that people can actually access; creating Assemble’s own factory, and sharing tools with carpenters, ceramicists and metalworkers, for mutual benefit; and the difference between making it look like something’s happening in a community vs. creating the infrastructure for a community to do it for themselves.