Maker Difference

Liverpool Libraries are running a new programme of Maker activities in libraries this year. Building on the success of Make Fest and Liverpool Code Club the Maker Difference project will bring more opportunities for young people to engage in making across the city.

There will be four new mini maker spaces, with 3d printing, vinyl cutting and electronics kit available in Central, Toxteth, Speke and Norris Green libraries. This new kit will be supported by workshops and new code clubs to help introduce new makers to the tech. This funding will also support Make Fest on 24th June and a smaller Young Makefest in March 2018. There will also be commissioned projects by WeHeartTech, DomesticScience, Jen Fenner and Re-Dock.

One of the things that’s sometimes hard to capture at DoESLiverpool (despite the #weeknotes script) and the wider maker community, are the stories behind every cool thing you see at events like Liverpool Makefest that helped pave the way for MakerDifference.

Conversations in the workshop and across desks between people are where it all begins and Maker Difference comes from this place; Liverpool Library Services then making the time and space to listen to these conversations. There’s a lot of subtle advocacy at work in DoES even though we famously don’t do anything, just provide a space for people to do things. But these people often care a lot about not just what they are working on but on the wider ecosystem around their field and that means Maker Difference can benefit from the advice and support of that community without worrying they are dropping a programme on people ‘from space’ that might not feel right as can often happen.

It’s worth remembering it’s not really about 3d printers or lasers or LoRaWAN it’s how people share their knowledge and ideas; in little bursts, informally but often; and then the interesting often silly little conversations they have; or small scale tests, and prototypes that then lead to the systems and events the wider public can see. And if you share your knowledge with people surrounded by impact sensors, LED displays, Moteinos, ESP8266 boards, Arduinos, vinyl cutters, hot presses, text adventures and  microbit robots, exciting things happen.

It’s the hidden social glue and advocacy of DoES Liverpool that many makerspaces and hackspaces have but we are lucky to mix uniquely with co-working and we hope by supporting projects like Maker Difference we can pass that on so that the events, clubs, commissions all get mixed up in the way they get mixed up at DoES.