It doesn’t stop there. This idea of creation over consumption has turned into a global phenomenon, with makerspaces popping up all over the globe, from the USA and Germany to China and Singapore. Large corporations and institutions that don’t want to be left out, team up with or sponsor some of these makerspaces. Harvard recently donated a scanning electron microscope to Artisan’s Asylum, and MIT and Carnegie Mellon have their own makers. As of 2015, UP can also boast with its innovation incubator.
A makerspace is an environment in which individuals come together to share knowledge and ideas. Openness is fundamental to the movement as it fosters the collaborative trust that allows the concurrent and interdisciplinary development of ideas. As such, it is not the physical space that is the important factor, but the collaboration between individuals with various and distinct areas of knowledge that is fundamental to fostering this creative environment. Not only does it serve as a place to come together, it also houses fantastic technology to aid in the development and prototyping of ideas. With soldering benches, 3D printers and computers on which to design and render models, the makerspace on campus has an excellent inventory for students to make use of.
The coordinator of the Hatfield campus makerspace is Jaco Bezhuidenhout, a postgraduate student in computer science. He is also the person with whom you should go have a chat with should you want to learn how to use the electronics, specifically Arduino (an excellent introduction to electronics). Bezuidenhoudt says that he believes in the maker movement as a philosophy of self-sustainability, where focus moves from consumption to creation.
Future plans for the campus makerspace rests on the participation of students. The specialised equipment used for rapid prototyping is prohibitively expensive, and as such will only be considered if there is a real need for it. This should not dissuade potential innovators, however, because as the saying goes, “where there is a will there is a way.”
There are plans to offer courses in introductory electronics, bookbinding and leather work. If you are skilled in a field and interested in things that don’t yet exist, go and make yourself known. The need for skills stretches much further than designers or builders, as this is truly a multidisciplinary adventure where everyone is welcome. So go have a look and take your ideas with you, great change starts with little moments.
Photo: Jaco Stroebel