Week 9 Activity: Program Review. Makerspaces.

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    • #2116
      Deborah Fuller

      Dressing with Conscience at Chermside Public Library

      When I first looked for makerspace programs to review, I was struck with how they all seemed to be aimed at children. As a child-free adult keen to explore my creative side, I was left wondering what the options were. I was about to book on a digital literacy program, when a Tweet arrived from Kate Davis about a selection of dressmaking/upcycling clothes workshops run by Brisbane Council Libraries (BCCL). However booking on them was initially a problem, the first library I rang the phone continually diverted to an answer machine, with no message facility and the other library was constantly engaged. I would probably have given up if I had not needed to participate in a program, despite being keen to do it. Eventually I managed to speak to somebody and booked a place. I feel an option to book online would have been appropriate in this instance, as I know from my experience when I am busy at work, the phone often is a low priority. I also felt that the marketing was poor, I follow BCCL on social media and didn’t see anything about the program and I also struggled to find details on the website. Bagley states that promotion of makerspace events is essential. The event appeared to be well planned with hot drinks and biscuits supplied. The venue was fully accessible and open to all , with plenty of room for mobility aids. It was a completely free event to the participants, was run as a partnership between Brisbane City Council and BrisStyle. and was held in a specially set up meeting room, as recommended by Bagley . A librarian welcomed us to the event, but the event was run by woman who had challenged herself to a year of upcycling clothes. There was a short lecture with audience participation encouraged. The bulk of the event was spent looking at the clothes she had upcycled, which certainly on my part had me mentally running through my wardrobe to see what I could upcycle. Whilst not a traditional hands-on makerspace program, in that nothing was made during the event, I felt that it adhered to the essence of makerspace by encouraging creativity and inspiring participants to take classes, explore their creative side and make something for minimal cost. It also strongly encouraged the participants to become creators rather than consumers which is critical for environmental sustainability . We were also provided with details of practical classes where upcycling techniques could be learnt and practiced in the Brisbane area, including ongoing clubs which is in line with the sociable side of makerspace . Makerspaces are often seen as teaching high-tech skills, such as learning to use 3D printers, but they don’t necessarily need to be, and this event was definitely low-tech. Overall I felt that the program was well-planned and executed. It was extremely enjoyable and I felt inspired to become more creative after I attended it. Listening to the other women there (they were all women), I don’t think I was alone in this. Although no actual creating was done in the class, the inspiration was definitely there to get our creative juices flowing I also feel more inspired to take part in more of the many programs offered by BCCL, although I have not yet seen one teaching 3D printer skills.


    • #2121

      Hi Debbie, this sounds like fun!

      Are you going to follow up with the other classes suggested? What do yo think could have been done to add a creative or active element to the time you spent? I’ve been so fortunate to spend time with some really creative sewers in my time and they have all been very generous in sharing how they make things. Still I guess this lady was there to provide inspiration and it seems as though she succeeded in doing just that. It would be great to follow up with some hands-on activity. I love the idea of makerspaces as community meeting places that foster craetivity and it seems to me that libraries can readily add to their role as community hubs by adding these spaces. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sewing – my boys were surprised the other day as I was doing these readings that I started talking about picking up my needle and threads again. They can’t remember me sewing – that was a kick in the tail I needed! I’d also like to meet others who enjoy this craft so it’s off to the library for me as well.

      Glad you enjoyed your experience.

    • #2140
      Shannon Franzway

      I kicked off my impression of making and makerspaces this week as very much linked to technology – but by the time I got to the end of the readings I found myself discovering the low-tech side offering so much creative benefit!  And as you mention, this program ties in perfectly with this idea.  I admire those with the skills of sewing, something which is much less common these days when it is often cheaper to buy pre-made than making yourself.  The infographic on the week 9 page is a great reminder that making/creating locally offers great benefit going directly back to the community.  A trend like this that continues to maintain momentum has the potential to impact the local and national economies.  This week, I am inspired!

    • #2171
      Kirsty Roberts

      Very interesting post, Debbie!

      I’m quite passionate about upcycling and fashion sustainability (I majored in fashion during my bachelor’s degree and sustainability was my favourite unit) so it was great to read that you’d felt so inspired by the session. There’s certainly a lot of emphasis on the technology side of the maker movement nowadays – and obviously with good reason – but it’s nice to know that there’s a plethora of options for those of us out there a little more craft-inclined.

    • #2217
      Stacey Larner

      Were you disappointed there was no hands-on component? I was, reading your review hehe. I think had I gone to something that advertised itself as an upcycling workshop I would want to make! Also it seems concerning there was poor marketing around the event (I agree with you, online bookings are a must in this day and age. I HATE calling people). I’m glad you were inspired though and please share some links to the other classes if you can?

    • #2220
      Deborah Fuller

      Thanks for your feedback. I was a little disappointed there was no hands-on crafting involved, as I felt

      inspired to give it a go after seeing what toe organiser had made. I will be making a skirt or dress from all my old work shirts which I am unable to wear anywhere else and can’t even donate to the thrift shop,  so when you see me next year in a blue patterned garment, you’ll know I’ve succeeded. I am already a keen sewer, and have the basic skills, just lacking the inspiration at times, so this certainly helped. I’m not sure Robynne, if I’ll be following up on any of the classes, but I’ll investigate further when semester finishes.  Stacey here are some links to the other classes:




      As someone who tries to live sustainably but loves clothes I think is a really good movement.

    • #2342
      Chris Sonneveld

      Hi Debbie

      Thanks for an enjoyable post and sharing your Makerspace experience. I’m have no doubt that many BCC Library programs have been discontinued because it was assumed that no one was interested in them. I understand why businesses use automated systems but providing an online alternative as you’ve said would definitely help to increase numbers and allow those people who do not like talking to strangers on the phone feel more comfortable.

      I would prefer a hands-on component when participating in a program but I also appreciate that a lot of time and effort has gone into providing a program to the public. It’s great that BCC Libraries are introducing people to Makerspaces as I can see them being one of the more popular programs and services as it’s something new and different for all age groups.

    • #2382
      Deborah Fuller

      Thanks for your comments Chris. I was disappointed that there was no practical component, but it wasn’t advertised as such so I can’t complain. however I did enjoy it as it catered to my tastes in a way the other makerspaces on offer didn’t. I’m hoping that the interest in this particular one will inspire BCC to run similar events, as there must have been at least 50 people there.

    • #2859
      Steven Walker

      I really enjoyed readin your post, especially when you mention, this program ties in perfectly with this idea.  I admire those with the skills of sewing, something which is much less common these days when it is often cheaper to buy pre-made than making yourself.  The infographic on the week 9 page is a great reminder that making/creating locally offers great benefit going directly back to the community.

    • #2863
      Deborah Fuller

      Thanks for your comments Steven, it is very true that it is often cheaper to buy clothes than make them, particularly with all the cheap online outlets springing up. Why spend time and effort plus the cost of material making a dress when they are available online for $20? The real cost of these mass produced cheap clothes on our environment and the workers that make them is often overlooked. I think it would be great to see a return to locally produced and homemade things but I can’t see it happening with the current demand for cheap and disposable.

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