Earlier this year we had the opportunity to present what we’re doing to the members of Fabric District Board. The board leads the Fabric District CIC, which exists to help shape the area of Liverpool that DoES Liverpool calls home.
Hardly any of the presentation is specific to that meeting, so we thought it would make sense to share it here. These are the slides and notes from when we prepared it, so don’t reflect what we said on the day word for word.
Hello, I’m Adrian McEwen, one of the directors of DoES Liverpool. Two of the other directors, Jackie Pease and John McKerrell, are also here. Thanks for letting us share what we’re up to.
DoES Liverpool started back in 2011, down on Hanover Street. We’re a makerspace, a co-working space, and an events space.
The makerspace side was pretty small at first; this photo shows all of our kit: one 3D printer and a soldering iron…
In 2018 we moved into the Tapestry, doubling our space (four times what it was in 2011)
We don’t have any external funding. It’s paid for by the members, to provide the space and kit that they want.
We’ve got a bit more stuff now…
And we’re not just a place for making physical things. Just as important is the…
…space for co-working and for small businesses to start and grow.
So we also have meeting rooms for meeting clients, or jumping on a video call.
There’s an events space that’s free to use for free, open, community events (and for hire at pretty reasonable rates outside that); including a projector and PA.
And we host all sorts of events
Such as the monthly Repair Café (third Sunday each month) where you can get help fixing all manner of things
Or the weekly Maker Night which provides free access to everything in the workshop.
A variety of tech (and non-tech) meetups, like the Liverpool Linux User Group
Some of which, like the Plastics Playgroup, are more hands-on.
We want all sorts of people to use DoES Liverpool. We know that a diverse community of more than just geeks and techies will bring greater benefit to all of us.
Rather than give you loads of numbers of people who’ve used the space, etc. I want to give some examples of the folk in the community…
Startups like Axon Vibe, who make an iPhone transit app.
Product designers like Jade Noon Designs.
Spin-outs like Aeternum, who’ve expanded downstairs in the Tapestry, making air quality sensors.
We’ve had people working remotely since we started, like Zarino who works for the charity My Society.
Artists, such as Laura Pullig.
And people of all ages, like Baylee here who came and 3D printed herself a new prosthetic hand.
As I said, we don’t just want to be a space for geeks and techies. Society isn’t just made up of geeks and techies, and we’d like to be just as diverse.
We haven’t had one since the pandemic started, as it’s been trickier to get us all into a room together, but we periodically hold our “Future-gazing” sessions, where we brainstorm ideas and thoughts about how we’d like the community to evolve and what sort of impact we’d like to make to the lives of community members; to the Fabric District and Liverpool and the rest of the World.
After the last session we drafted our set of DoES Liverpool Values. In typical DoES Liverpool style we got on with doing things first, and wrote the manifesto later.
Getting back to the future, we’ve been wondering about ways that Fabric District Board might be able to help our plans. We’re really happy here in the Tapestry — it’s been a fantastic move for us — but we’re also running out of space, and there isn’t (currently) any other room available in the Tapestry for us to expand into.
With more space we could do more of what we currently do, but it could unlock new facilities too — expanding our wood- and metal-workshops would be excellent; maybe there’d be room for screenprinting; or a kiln…
Are there any spaces available in the area? We might even be open to buying somewhere, or at the opposite end of the scale taking somewhere on a meanwhile use basis.