Maker Assembly Manchester – 12 November 2016

The Incomplete and Crowdsourced History of UK Maker Culture. Maker Assembly Sheffield 31 August 2016. Photo by Dan Sumption /
The Incomplete and Crowdsourced History of UK Maker Culture. Maker Assembly Sheffield 31 August 2016. Photo by Dan Sumption

We are very much looking forward to our next gathering in Manchester, in conjunction with the Crafts Council’s Make:Shift innovation conference.

Our Manchester event will explore international maker cultures and what the UK can learn from them; the relationship between making and manufacturing in the UK and the role of makerspaces within the sector, as well as Making and Humanitarian Relief, discussing the role making can play within responses to humanitarian challenges. We have some great speakers joining us, so watch this space for updates.

With Maker Assembly, we aim to bring people together to have a critical conversation about the cultures of making* – its meaning, politics, history and future. We encourage everyone to participate by combining short talks with contributions from the attendees. Maker Assembly is peer-to-peer, informal and conversational.


Session 1 – Learning from International Making Cultures

Justyna Swat – Strategic designer and architect, designing for social impact and co-founder POC 21, Paris, France 

Craig Dunlop – maker, founder of Workshop, Cape Town, South Africa 

David Li – founder of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, Shenzhen, China

Session 2 – Making and Humanitarian Relief

Laura James – co-founder 0f Field Ready, co-founder of Makespace
– What roles can making play within responses to humanitarian challenges?

Session 3 – Making and Manufacturing Session

Ruth Claxton – artist and half of MakeWorks Birmingham 

Adrian McEwen – founder of MCQN Ltd., co-founder of DoES Liverpool, author of Designing the Internet of Things – Indie manufacturing

Paul Sohi – Product designer for Autodesk 

Alon Meron – Tutor in Design Products, Royal College of Art

Keynote Address

Laura Billings – Project Lead on The Open Works project and Author of Designed to Scale. Keynote Address title: The role of making in wider civic infrastructure.


Thanks to support from the Comino Foundation, ticket prices are heavily subsidised. Your ticket also includes a communal lunch and refreshments during the day.

Eventbrite - Maker Assembly Manchester November 2016


The current schedule, subject to change is:

9:30Arrival and registration
10:00Welcome address by Maker Assembly co-organisers Liz Corbin and Marc Barto
10:10Welcome to MadLab by Asa Calow and Rachael Turner
10:15Session 1 - Learning from International Making Cultures:
What can we in the UK learn from international making cultures? The session will hear from representatives of making cultures in Paris, Cape Town and Shenzhen, and explore the uniqueness of each culture as well as any common challenges and ambitions the varying perspectives might share.
11:45Coffee break
12:00Session 2 - Making and Humanitarian Relief:
How can we mobilise makers in our community to respond to humanitarian challenges? How can the use of digital platforms enable makers to collectively work on solutions? How can we make sure that what we design is needed and can be adapted by users locally?
13:15Lunch & chats
Lunchtime Activity: The Incomplete and Crowdsourced History of UK Maker Culture
14:45Session 3 - Making and Manufacturing:
What is the relationship between making and manufacturing in the UK? This session will explore manufacturing at all levels, from informal, collaborative, regional networked production, to indie, (re)distributed manufacturing, national networks, and how domestic activity relates with global supply chains.
16:00Coffee break
16:15Keynote: Laura Billings Designed to Scale
16:45Crowdsourced closing remarks
17:00To the pub


We’ll be holding Maker Assembly in Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab), a grassroots innovation organisation based in Manchester UK focusing on science and technology, arts and culture.

*What do we mean by “making”?

We’re talking about people who craft, design, manufacture, tinker with, engineer, fabricate, and repair physical things. Art, craft, electronics, textiles, products, robots. Hi-tech and low-tech, amateur and professional, young and old, with digital tools or by hand. Historical perspectives, what’s happening here and now, and how things might change in the future. We aim to be diverse and inclusive. If what you make, or how you see yourself, is a little bit on the fringes, you’re doubly welcome.