Author: Jackie Pease

"New Safe Spaces Policy and Grievance Procedure adopted"

It’s almost a year ago since we asked for the community’s input to draft Safe Spaces Policy and Grievance Procedure documents that had been originally been put together by the directors (past and present).

There was great participation and many useful points were raised which went on to further shape the policies. Since then, we’ve employed Anna from Liverpool HR to bring her expertise to the documents before they were once again sent out to the community for their final approval.

We’re pleased to now formally adopt them for the community. You can access them from the bottom of the Home page here: Please take time to familiarise yourself with their contents (it won’t take that long!). Although we haven’t had many issues in the past, there have been some, and as the DoES Liverpool community continues to grow we need to make sure that everybody treats each other fairly, and that when people think this hasn’t happened they know they can do something about it.

We also recently asked for volunteers for a new Grievance Team, to support the Grievance Procedure and deal with any grievances that can’t be dealt with informally, and again had a great response (you can see who the members are on on the People page of the Wiki: – thanks to everyone for giving their time). The new volunteers, plus the directors, have had a training session with Anna, and the Grievance Team is now live. Although we’d rather issues didn’t arise, we would definitely prefer people to come forward with their complaints as soon as they become a problem, and certainly we want to make sure that people feel comfortable in the space and don’t feel that they can’t contribute or, even worse, stop coming.

In an organisation that relies on volunteers and people learning from each other, we need to have a strong community. It’s what’s behind all our success, including our recent “New Economy” prize at the Inclusive Economy Liverpool Awards.

Thanks to everyone who’s been involved in putting these policies together, and to everyone who makes our community what it is.

Jackie, John and Adrian

"Visit to Vila Nova de Famalicão in Portugal"

I’ve just got back from a short trip to the “Textile City” of Vila Nova de Famalicão in Portugal – as it might be of interest to other members of the DoES Liverpool community, I’ve written this short blog about the visit. If there’s anything you want to know more about, get in touch – I’ve got contact details for all the companies too.

I believe the first links between Liverpool and VNF came about when representatives from VNF including Komlan Gnamasti, Isaque Pinto and Augusto Lima attended the Liverpool International Business Festival in Jue this year, and that as a result Deputy Mayor Gary Millar was asked to bring a group of people out to Portugal to find out about the textile industry there, and to celebrate international day. I went as a representative of DoES Liverpool.

The other people who went were:

  • Chris Russell from Virrata Ltd, a company that help increase efficiency of manufacturing processes
  • Chris Warren from the Fashion Hub
  • Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs representing LJMU and Baltic Creative (I was particularly interested to talk to her about a project involving 3D printed shoes she’s been involved in
  • Janice Egerton from Hope University
  • Suzy Jennions representing Try and Lily and the Fabric District
  • Mihaela Giuiu and James Darne, both fashion MA students at LJMU

We were also joined by representatives of the British Chamber of Commerce in Portugal.

Wednesday 24 October

I arrived in the evening along with Gary Millar and Chris Warren. We met up with the others in the centre of Porto and went on a quick sightseeing trip. It definitely deserves a longer trip sometime.

Clockwise from bottom left: tower of the Clérigos Church, a Porto street, and views of a street and the river Douro from the church

We then visited a shop called ‘meia.dúzia’ which sells a large range of different flavoured jams, honeys, and olive pastes in tubes – the owner was apparently inspired by the tubes used for oil paints, and the business is a successful graduate of the VNF incubator program. We tasted a selection of jams, along with cheeses and cold meats.

Clockwise from bottom: Selection of jams in tubes, group photo, olive pastes on bread

After that we went to a lovely restaurant en route to our accomodation in VNF.

Thursday 25 October

After breakfast, the coach took us to the town hall square to have our picture taken with the mayor,  followed by a visit to the offices of the incubator program for a presentation about the textile industry in VNF. It was very interesting to find out about how the textile industry was an integral part of the community and the major local employer, and also worked to involve students while they were still at school, and on pre-university placements.

Top: members of the Liverpool group with the mayor and VNF representatives, Bottom: watching presentation

Then it was off to visit the incubator businesses, which are housed in a building belonging to the Riopele textile company. Businesses can stay in the incubator for up to 2 years before moving on to stage 2 accommodation. I can’t remember what the rent was, but everyone was surprised at how low it was. There were several software companies, along with textile-related businesses including one producing streetwear  and another that acted as an agent arranging different types of sportswear manufacturing.

From bottom left: Gary Millar with t shirt (spun, woven, sewn and printed in VNF), Kortex software banner (use of OSB typical of incubators!), talking with developers, incubator signage

Following our visit to the incubator, a private/public partnership, we moved on to visit a more traditional part of the Riopele textile company, a factory employing more than 1000 people, of a type that has become rare in the UK.

Riopele was formed in 1927 and is still run by a member of the founding family. It’s a vertical producer so does everything from spinning, weaving, dyeing and applying finishes to producing finished clothes. 96% of its output goes directly to export, with the remaining 4% going to other Portuguese producers who then export their output! We were able to see the production and quality control process, before moving on to a presentation, visit to the design studio, and working lunch in the board room.

From bottom left: Dyeing machines, also dyeing machines, QR discussion, general introduction

From bottom left: part of a laser-controlled colour mixer, chief designer with fabric swatches, more fabric swathes, lunch

Group photo outside the Riopele factory before leaving

Following lunch, we moved on to  AAC Textiles, a production and development studio for high end brands. As well as interesting fabrics, finishes and embroideries, members of the group found elements of the interior design inspiring.

From left: AAC sign, inspiring quote in polystyrene, and table

Left: Embroidery examples, Right: Large flower skull hanging in stairwell

After AAC, we got back on the coach and moved on to the textile and nanotech research centres of citeve and CeNTI. These are housed in the same large building complex. After a presentation on their facilities (we’ll be getting a copy of the slides later if anyone needs more information on what they do), we were shown round both facilities.

citeve and CeNTI logos

Citeve run annual fashion design competitions on the themes of recycling and tech (maybe something DoES Liverpool could get involved in!).

Entries to a previous year’s competition involving recycling materials

Entries to iTechStyle awards

Following the presentations we visited the labs, and facilities that could be used by students – in many cases the equipment mirrored that which we’d seen earlier in the factory.

Clockwise from bottom left: long corridor (lots of labs on either side), view through window of lab, room with fire testing dummy, cork coated cotton fibre

Equipment available for use by students

We were able to see some of CeNTI’s work with screenprinted conductive and electroluminescent materials. These produced flexible and unobtrusive circuits that could be used in car textiles, for example. CeNTI works with companies, including startups, to produce small volumes of product, for proof of concept etc.

Flexible and screenprinted circuits produced by CeNTI

The two Fashion MA students who were with us were very interested in getting placements in CeNTI, AAC or Riopele and it looks like they might be able to.

Once we’d finished at CeNTI, we went back to the town hall for International Day celebrations: in addition to the Liverpool contigent, there were representatives from the town in Galicia, Spain where Inditex (owners of Zara) are based, and a large group of French students.

People who had moved to VNF from other places talked about their experiences, as well as those who had moved away but still had good memories.

Komlan, who arranged our trip, is from Togo, and put on a traditional shirt. He’s married to a Portuguese woman and has a Languages company in VNF. Sandy from East Kilbride, also moved to be with his wife. He was involved in the Manchester music scene before moving to VNF and performed several songs.

Komlan and Sandy

There were more speeches; from the Spanish mayor (in Spanish), from Gary Millar, and from the mayor of VNF, then all the members of the partnership got up to take a bow. Then there was one more group photo opportunity for us (I don’t think I’ve actually included all of them here!) and Gary presented the mayor of VNF with some music produced at Parr Street Studios, before we left for another great restaurant meal.

Last group photo of the trip

Gary making a presentation to the mayor of VNF

Evening meal

Friday 26 October

On Friday morning we left early to get the flight back to Manchester (several people made the sensible choice to fly back to Liverpool later and had time to do some more sightseeing in Porto).

Definitely a worthwhile trip, and with several possible areas of interest for DoES Liverpool. I will try to follow up the flexible, printable electronics at CeNTI.

Although there was a lot of textiles-related equipment available to students, there didn’t seem to be anything like a maker space with a wider range of equipment and available to more people (at least we weren’t shown anything like that).

As several members of the Liverpool group pointed out, it would be difficult to implant something like DoES Liverpool, which has grown organically over quite a long time, in a new location, but maybe we do have experience that could help others.

A group from VNF are likely to be visiting Liverpool in February, so maybe we can come up with some interesting ideas for collaborations before then.


"Call to Action! – Volunteers wanted"

Hopefully everybody knows by now that we’re moving to The Tapestry later this month. As you can imagine, there’s a lot still to do before we get there, so if you’re part of the DoES community, can paint, drive, or carry stuff and are available any weekdays or weekends during March or April then please get in touch (via email, Twitter, Instagram or in person).

We’ll then add your details to this hi-tech list so we can contact you about how you can help:

We also have a ‘Somebody Should’ issue tracker on GitHub, where you can sign up for at specific issues (and raise issues yourself for anything that you think needs looking at). If you haven’t signed up yet, then there’s some instructions here.

See you all soon then …



"October at DoES"

It’s shaping up to be a busy month at DoES this October. After the success of our rocket building workshop on Thursday 12th, we’ve got lots more open events coming up.

Saturday 14th October, 1200-1800 – Liverpool Open Studios event

DoES is participating in the Liverpool Open Studios event all day on Saturday. This showcases homegrown artistic and creative talent in Liverpool by opening up 19 art and design studios across the city. See Twitter for more details (#lost17).

The Open Studio tour also coincides with the DoES monthly maker day event, where anyone can come along and find out about our workshop, tools, and how to use them.

Saturday is also Social Saturday, a national day of celebration and support for social enterprises, so that’s an extra reason to come and visit us! Find out more about our social enterprise structure here.

Wednesday 25th October, 1900 onwards – Internet of Things Meetup

Regular monthly event about the Internet of Things, with guest speakers, pizza and beer. Look out for more details on Meetup and Twitter.

Saturday 28th October, 1000-1700 – Make : Shift : Do

Make: Shift: Do is a ‘nationwide programme of craft innovation workshops’, taking place up and down the country to help get the public involved in craft and maker spaces.

We’re opening DoES between 10am and 5pm on the day and there will be lots of activities for people to get involved in. See the Crafts Council site for more information.

We’ll also be holding a free workshop event “Sublime Heartbeats” where you can build a simple pulse reader using an ESP32 board, and then use dye sublimation to print images onto mugs and bags. You can also book this through the Crafts Council site.

And don’t forget our regular Maker night every Thursday, and Wearable Tech on Monday evenings.


"Looking back on Liverpool Makefest 2017"


DoES Liverpool had a great time at Liverpool Makefest on Saturday. We showed off what we do and make, made new friends and got back in contact with some old ones. Thanks to everyone who helped out as exhibitors, volunteers, and behind the scenes. Also to the Makefest organisers, especially Mark and Jen who worked so hard to make the event a success.

For those who couldn’t be there, here’s a selection of DoES-related photos, mainly from Twitter and Instagram …

The Electric Liverbird (on the 2nd floor):

Made Invaders:

The DoES stand:

Repurposed Tosca screen with large DoES Liverpool logo and work by Hexceramic and SilentBelle:

See you at Makefest.

A post shared by DoES Liverpool (@doesliverpool) on

We’re right at the top left in this photo:


A post shared by Liverpool MakeFest (@lpoolmakefest) on

Paul Geering’s unique Nixie clock:


… and as you can’t see it in the previous photos, here’s a picture of Andy Goodwin’s ROV:

Autonomous rover prototype testing.

A post shared by Andy Goodwin (@franticuk) on

From the Fomocam:


Some official pictures with official watermarks(see more at


DoES maker day regulars visiting Laura Pullig’s stall:

After party:


Looking forward to next year.

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