UNIMAKER - The first UK Academic Makerspace forum at The University of Sheffield

UNIMAKER is the first UK Academic Makerspace forum at The University of Sheffield

In 2015, the University of Sheffield opened a new engineering building, called The Diamond. This fantastic building contains state-of-the-art manufacturing teaching facilities. Whilst this provided excellent practical experiences as part of the curriculum, there was a clear demand from students for space and equipment to make personal projects and parts for co-curricular activities, as well as to work on university projects outside class time.

In their search for a solution, staff at the Faculty of Engineering started to look beyond the UK for examples of best practice. In the spring of 2017, Pete Mylon, a University Teacher in Manufacturing, was funded by University of Sheffield Enterprise and the Faculty of Engineering to visit a number of institutions in the US, including MIT, Olin College, and most notably, the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech. This student-led makerspace was set up by Professor Craig Forest in 2009, and has grown rapidly, with students attracted by the 24-7 accessibility of equipment, a culture that encourages creativity and fun, and the community of makers that has developed as a result.

As Pete returned to the UK, full of enthusiasm that if such a model could work in Atlanta, it could work in Sheffield, he needed to find a group of like-minded students to work with. Thankfully he did just that and a little while later iForge was formed.

The iForge’s vision is:

  • To be the epicentre of student creation and a leader in education innovation at the University of Sheffield
  • To positively impact the wider Sheffield City Region by raising the ambitions of local children and their families
  • To work with the University and industry to create more industry-ready graduates who stand out in the workplace and become leaders in innovation and enterprise
  • To be the foremost university makerspace in the UK, leading innovation in Higher Education makerspaces and prompting the creation of similar spaces in other Universities across the UK and beyond

On the 12th and 13th of September 2019 the first UK Academic Makerspace forum will be taking part at The University of Sheffield where iForge was founded. We are excited to be taking part in UNIMAKER a unique event designed to showcase academic makerspaces and promote this growing community.

The event will be attended by iForge  reps old and new. Attendees will be exploring what it’s like setting up and running student led makerspaces. Employability opportunities that these amazing spaces can offer and lastly the vision for the future.  It will be great to hear from two global leaders in the makerspace movement. Craig Forest from Georgia Institute of Technology and Zoe McLaughlin from the UCL Institute of Making. Craig and Zoe will share their experiences and lessons learnt along the way.

The team at CNC Robotics Ltd are really looking forward to attending this event and being part of the growing makerspace community.

Further information

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