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Marlborough Area Makerspace development


Marlborough Area Development Trust is supporting the development of a Maker Group in the Marlborough area with an objective of being able to establish a physical 'Makerspace' in due course, i.e. a permanent physical location, that is a shared collaboration ‘space’, which would be equipped with a range of tools and facilities to support ‘making’, and would be available on a 24x7 basis to members of the Group.

A Makerspace, or as they are sometimes called, a Hackerspace, is described in Wikipedia (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace) as:

"A hackerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and collaborate"

The scope of activities that take place in Makerspaces is very wide i.e. from developing autonomous robots with the increasingly popular Raspberry Pi small computer, through to time lapse photography or gathering data from weather stations.

The MADT's aims for this possible initiative are part of a general intent to support the development of the digital economy within the Marlborough area, and very specifically the aims are:

  • to encourage skills development and expertise in digital systems/computing and embedded software, for all age groups but in particular for the under-18's;
  • to establish citizen science and 'internet of things' (IoT) activities that encourage collaborative working for social/community benefit outcomes;
  • to support the combination of new digital technologies with craft and engineering expertise to develop creative and fun 'things'; and
  • to encourage creative and fun 'things' to evolve into new business ideas and to support the establishment of potential new businesses.


Makerspaces are by no means new, and https://wiki.hackerspaces.org, a central repository for hackerspaces worldwide, has more than 2000 entries of active or planned spaces from Albania to Vietnam and a significant number are in the UK.

An excellent example of how they 'come about' and evolve is provided by the Swindon Makerspace (see https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/Swindon_Hackspace and http://www.swindon-makerspace.org). This started as an interest group in 2012, hosted at the Museum of Computing, but they then took the plunge in March 2016 to establish a Community Interest Company and lease a space to establish an impressive set of facilities for members.

Obviously a Marlborough area based enthusiast could join the Swindon group, but it may be a bit too far away for casual 'drop in' usage and it is not really an option for any under 18s without their own transport.

So, the intent is to explore whether it would be possible to establish something similar to directly serve Marlborough and the surrounding villages.

As a first couple of steps:

  • a formal Maker Group is being established that meets periodically to discuss and collaborate on projects, and which is supported by this digital hub to underpin information sharing; and
  • a set of demonstrations is being developed that will be used as a "show 'n' tell" at various events to promote "making" and encourage more people to join the Group

We would therefore like to make contact with everyone that would be interested in joining the Group - please fill in the on-line  form here: this could be just a general interest in participation because you already 'dabble' in some aspect of 'making', or it could be a keen interest and a willingness to help 'make it happen'.

We are particularly interested in establishing contact with any local businesses that would like to support the initiative, either because they would benefit from having access to such a facility, or they have a need to tap into the skills that would be developed through the initiative.

 

More information about Makerspace: