What is a Mobile Makerspace, and why does London need one?

As the MakerBus project moves forward, we are looking to our local community for support and ideas to make our vision a reality. Luckily, in a city like London, these are easy to find! As mentioned, we’ve joined forces with UnLondon and have the support of their fantastic hacker/maker community. We’ve also had conversations with lovely ladies from the London Public Library, whose interest in the project and ideas about how we can work together in the future was inspiring. This past week we also met with organizers of the Western Fair Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market, who have kindly agreed to give us some space in May to show the community what we are all about!

As the concept of ‘making’ is still very unfamiliar to many people, we decided to compile some literature on the topic to help people see what we hope to bring to the streets of London.

In 2011 Forbes ran an article stating We Need More Makerspaces, calling for more conversation on the topic and for low-cost mobile maker labs to be sent out around the country. Since then, a number of makerspaces have popped up, many of them not too far from home. London has its very own UnLab, Toronto has Site3, and Windsor has HackForge. The growing list of hackerspaces around the world can be found here:

http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Hackerspaces

So, what is a makerspace, and what happens there?

Well, a makerspace provides a place for people with ideas to get together and share. This sharing encompasses not only the ideas that they have, but also the tools and materials that they have at home, from which others might benefit. Donations of technology, furnishings, resources, and time will also be needed to establish a thriving maker community. As Victoria Makerspace puts it “One tool can be effectively duplicated many times over by sharing it, in the same way that someone’s learning experiences may be shared”. The makerspace can then be used by individuals, groups, classes, or for projects as a shared learning environment.

Many makerspaces hold classes on everything from sewing to making stained glass windows. Others teach programming, welding, or wood-working classes. As more and more people live in small apartments or homes with little extra room, these places provide the needed space for letting creativity shine. If you want ideas for what you could do on the DHMakerBus, check out Make: Magazine.

Our project will differ from the UnLab by the simple fact that it will be portable and adaptable. If you can’t take your class for a field trip, we’ll bring it to your school. If you have a group of friends that wants to learn to program but doesn’t have the space, talk to us and we’ll be able to make it happen. There a limitless possibilities with a space like this, and we’d love to start compiling a list, with your help, of course!

So London, there’s the final question of the day: what would you do with a mobile makerspace? Click here to answer.

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