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What is a makerspace?

In this video, Dr Alison Buxton provides an overview of makerspaces, outlining their key characteristics.

Hello, welcome to Makerspaces for Creative Learning. I’m Alison, and I’m the programme manager for the MakerFutures project here at the University of Sheffield. Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is a makerspace? Well, as the name suggests, the makerspace is simply a space for making. And making in this context can take many forms. It can include arts and crafts, textile work, electronics, coding, woodwork, and so on. Anything, in fact, that involves taking some resources, whatever they are, and creating something from them. Makerspaces might contain resources to allow for all of these activities, or they might be focused on just a small selection of them.
It’s not all about using engineering tools and resources, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, although we will be introducing you to makerspaces that contain these types of machines. Makerspaces can be open access spaces, like a shared workshop, that enable anyone to go in and use the facilities, normally paying something for the resources used. These are often located in town centres and are frequently run by volunteers who are passionate about making and about open access to resources. Some makerspaces are rooms or dedicated spaces set up as permanent areas inside schools, libraries, museums, and other spaces, and these can be used at specific times or might be open for users to just drop in.
Other makerspaces take the form of pop-up spaces in which resources and tools can be provided for a limited amount of time and can be set up anywhere. Makerspaces are not just about offering a physical space packed with the latest tools and technology. They also encourage us to find out how things work. To mend, to reuse, to hack, rather than simply to throw things away and to buy something new again. They inspire us to think like makers and to develop maker habits of mind like creativity, collaboration, and problem solving. As part of my work, I help schools, libraries, and museums to develop their own maker spaces.
I visit these venues with our Maker Move, our mobile makerspace van, and demonstrate the different kinds of technology, equipment, and activities you might find in a makerspace but also to demonstrate the levels of engagement with making, particularly with children. I train educators in how to run makerspaces and support schools by writing maker activities and projects for the classroom. And I hope to pass on this knowledge to you as you start on your own makerspaces journey. Throughout the course, we’ll look at maker activities, different kinds of spaces, and meet the dedicated people who run them. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

In this first video, we meet lead educator Dr Alison Buxton, who introduces the concept of a makerspace and explains how they work.

Makerspaces are diverse in nature, and the video provides a brief description of various types of makerspaces that you may encounter.

Because of the varied nature of makerspaces it is not possible to be exhaustive in describing them, but the video will introduce you to some of their key features.

If you are familiar with a type of makerspace that is not outlined in the video, please share the details in the ‘comments’ section below.

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Makerspaces for Creative Learning

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