VALA2014 – Mia Ridge – Open University (UK) – Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations

Libraries have always been creative spaces – we are already makerspaces and have been for a long time. How does this relationship connect to the maker movement and how can we meet those needs.

She is interested in developing a deeper experience with our cultural heritage for people. She has a broad view of making – family trees, fixing, tailoring or creating something new are all making. It can be for relaxation, fun, for learning and more.

Maker culture is about an attitude, it’s about getting in and doing it. It enables you to feel an active connection with your surrounds and use the things in it in new ways. Everyone grew up making. Lego is a brilliant form of making, but can kids configure things in new ways as easily? Hacking is not necessarily about bad stuff. Both hacking and making are about community.

Makerspaces are about learning together. It has equipment and programs which is shared and it can be a teaching and learning space. Examples of making include: photography, music, baking – but not all experiences are creative (eg. Packet mix).

Forester – what is making? Augmented reality is a big thing especially in kids books, but it is a broadcast technology not a creative act.

People are recreating and re-experiencing the past through old knitting patterns on Trove. Crowd sourcing is a form of making. eg. Transcribing, tagging, labelling on projects like Troves newspapers and Old Weather. People engage with the content and explore beyond the bounds of the project.

3D printing – rapid prototyping gives the power of creation into everyone’s hands. Melbourne Museum have been printing artefacts to engage people in natural history. Metropolitan Museum of Art have related it it their mission. They are giving users the pieces to create something else as well as whole art works. Tying back to the creative practices that have always existed there.

Learning by copying is old school which is how it has always been. Learning through engagement. The tech is still not perfect, so takes a bit of creativity to get it right.

Sugru – getting the world repairing and making again. Moldable material to fix problems, like make a camera child proof, personalised molding to a users hand etc. Makey makey is a Kickstarter project uses projects like Arduino. Make anything a touch pad. eg banana piano, alpha spaghetti keyboard.

Visualisations are creativity, presenting data in visual form. Many tools available online to do this in a variety of ways. Great for mash-ups as well. Loads of programming activities for kids including Scratch.

There is a load of tacit knowledge in craft. All are accessible in making. You get to understand the tacit knowledge when you make it yourself.

Hard fun is the idea of setting yourself challenge and you might actually fail. Mia attended a think tank where they had to create something useful and usable in a workshop where they had no idea what they were going to make, but only had one week to do it.

All she has done has been about problem solving. Museums have lots of objects that lack descriptions. People are seeking fun experiences. She created a game narrative about the museum experience to engage people and make it fun. The value of making, fun and learning, thinking through learning and doper engagement with science and heritage. Four keys to fun – for game design – easy is novelty, hard is challenge, people is friendship and serious is meaning. Makerspace will have all but should be mostly hard fun.

Model of depending engagement is attending, then participating, deciding and producing. Kids need space for making and they don’t have the opportunities to make like they used to. They need spaces to be self motivated and to take small risks.

Makerspaces can also be intellectual. It can be a physical space, pop ups, creating spaces through events. They don’t have to be about software and it’s not just about the project but about conversations.

Opening up your data is another way of facilitating creation. But this can be difficult, you can’t place restrictions, because people like to help but it still has to be fun.

Why should you make? Most people have a hobby which is making. Think about how that connects you to the maker movement? Before making a space In your library: test your traps, know your welcome, be more than Clayton’s inclusiveness (make sure they have real input and feel welcome), see how others are using spaces, understand fiero (success), because it’s fun. It takes time to get spaces right and learn with your communities, to understand the potential of new tech. Curate online and see how other people are using your content online in social media of all types. Hold internal hack days and it can be about pen and paper. Try visualising your data. Hold an editathon eg. Improve Wikipedia entries.

Most importantly reflect, learn, share. Tell what worked and what didn’t. Keep calm and start making.