As regular blog readers may know, occasionally MakerBridge does what we call “Fifth Monday” posts, in which the MakerBridge bloggers all write on the same topic. This week, we are trying something a little similar but a little different–we’ll be posting once a day all week, each discussing the same question: how do you define a makerspace?
I think that makerspaces get defined in a lot of different ways, and that people often choose one thing or another to focus on in order to determine what counts as a makerspace. For example, many people strongly associate makerspaces with 3D printing, while some think of it as a workshop-like environment full of tools.
In my personal view, the most important elements of a makerspace are people and sharing. If a person works on DIY projects alone in her garage, I would consider her a maker but I wouldn’t say the garage is a makerspace. If a space has a 3D printer and a laser cutter but people use the tools independently and don’t interact much, I wouldn’t consider that space a makerspace. Tools and projects and technology matter, but for me, a makerspace means people working together, sharing ideas, and teaching each other. It means people working together as a team to create. To me, collaboration and the learning that comes with it are huge parts of the maker movement, and are also what set the movement apart from the type of DIY projects and work that people were already doing before making took off the way it has. Of course, this is not to say no one collaborated before, but I think these type of interactions and this sharing of knowledge are central to the maker movement.
Agree or disagree? What do you think a makerspace is? Keep watching the blog this week for other opinions, and let us know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!
Image Credit: Milwaukee Makerspace Meeting by Pete Prodoehl on Flickr