On the 20th March we held an open meeting for anyone that has an interest in the development of a makerspace in Guernsey. 20 people signed up to the event and 13 people attended the meeting along with myself , Sasha Kazantseva and Marcel Lenormand.
The mission of the meeting was to engage the local community into building the local Makerspace and Maker Movement.
True to Maker principles we decided to conduct the brainstorm through LEGO Play. We previously had a very successful Lego Play Lunch and thought it would be perfect to replicate this amazing visual facilitation tool.
It was fascinating to watch the faces of the people arriving and walking into a room with a large table in the middle covered in LEGO!
Holding the meeting at lunch time meant we only had about an hour, so we had a lot to cram into that time. We kicked off the meeting with me giving a brief summary of my travels across North America last year and how I came back with a vision for setting up a Makerspace in Guernsey after visiting such places in the USA. Next, Marcel gave an introduction to the ‘LEGO play creative planning concept’ that we were going to be using in the meeting and finally Sasha posed the question that we wanted the attendees to answer for us with LEGO
“What excites you about a makerspace in Guernsey?”
What happened next was was really quite interesting. With LEGO Play there a no firms rules on how you should work, only that we gave them 12 minutes to come up with something that would represent their answer to our question.
Some people immediately got stuck in and started building, whilst other instead started talking with those sat next to them for a few minutes before even touching the LEGO. Most people worked on their own models but a few people worked together on a shared model.
Once the build time was over, each person presented their model and explained their answer to the questions and how the model represented that. In keeping with the no fixed rules for the LEGO Play, there was no fixed order for presenting which led to a natural progression of ideas where the previous person had an idea that related to their own.
Here is a snippet of quotes from the day to the question “What Excited you about a Makerspace in Guernsey”
“Learn how to make ideas happen”
“Space to meet people”
“Space to accumulate and store stuff”
“Teaching kids how things work, take things apart, spark curiosity”
“Have a proper work bench”
“Get inspiration from others”
“Have opportunity to do woodwork”
“Have an opportunity to connect to the physical making world outside of the day-today digital work”
“Power of combined ideas”
“Libraries can help provide space and traditional resources to help Maker Movement”
“Access to cheap affordable tools and resources”
“To pick people’s brains, collaborate”
“Get help from others as with physical objects unlike software you typically need all sorts of diverse skills”
“Build on Arduino and work on smart home ideas”
“Keep working on Arduino and embedded electronics ideas”
Maker movement can help solve world problems through big challenges – like Apollo Mission
It soon became apparent that there were two main themes in the responses. Firstly, the majority of people wanted a physical space that they could go to that had tools and equipment that they could use to create things and store projects in progress. This isn’t really a surprise as this has been the intended goal for the makerspace from day 1. However, the second theme, that seemed to come across more strongly than the need for a space, was a need to facilitate connections between makers on Guernsey.
From talking to lots of people about the makerspace, I know that the island is crammed with creative people. The trouble is that many of them are being creative at home, in their own sheds, garages and spare rooms. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and many want to share that knowledge but don’t know how to let people know, or those that want to access the knowledge don’t know how to find the help they’re looking for.
This second aspect of a makerspace, connecting people, is something that we can do now without having a physical location for the makerspace. Creating connections can be done online, through our website and so that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of upcoming gatherings etc.
A subsequent announcement has also been made that the two groups; Beer Code Design and Nerd Nights plan to merge — bringing together two wonderfully diverse creative crowds that will form the nascent makerspace community.