Dressing with conscience: a makerspace

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 (Bagley, 2014b, p.36), 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 (Bagley, 2o14a, p.18).

The event appeared to be well planned with hot drinks and biscuits supplied. The venue was fully accessible and open to all (Bagley, 2014a, p.20), 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 (Bagley, 2014a, p.11).

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 (Bagley, 2o14a, p.10), 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 (Bagley, 2014b, 38). 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 (Bagley, 2014a, p.17), 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.

Reference List

Bagley, Caitlin A. (2014a). About makerspaces: Concerns and considerations. In  Makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects. Chicago, IL, USA: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/qut/reader.action?docID=10859823&ppg=39&tm=1442138398141

Bagley, Caitlin A. (2014b).Brooklyn Public Library profile. In Makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects. CsChicago, IL, USA: American Library Association. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/qut/reader.action?docID=10859823&ppg=39&tm=1442138398141


(Created for student blog: Semester 2, 2015)


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