The European Maker Week is an initiative aiming to draw European citizens to the “maker world”, the Fab Labs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces and the hardware startups environment. Promoted by the European Commission and implemented by Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition in collaboration with Startup Europe, it will take place from 30 May to 5 June 2016 in 28 countries.
Call for the organisation of activities during the European Maker Week
An open call for the organisation of events or activities during that week has been launched (deadline for submissions: 20 April 2016). Fablabs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces, schools, university labs, research centres or other institutions interested in the “maker world” are invited to submit their ideas for:
• Workshops and informative courses
• Conferences and talks about innovative maker projects
• Project exhibitions and shows
• Meetings with the business world to stimulate synergies between makers, craftsmen and industry
• Meetings with local Institutions to promote public policies within: the digital technologies field, the
shared manufacturing space and the Hardware Startups.
We interviewed Massimiliano Colella, Director General of Asset Camera, the business unit of Rome Chamber of Commerce dedicated to Innovation and organizer of Maker Faire Rome, to get a better sense of this initiative, its main goals and its vision on the “maker movement” in Europe.
Which are your main goals for the European Maker Week?
The European Maker Week is not only an events agenda but also an opportunity to get to know what the EU has in store for makers and startups. The aim of European Maker Week is twofold:
• create awareness about the importance of the maker culture to foster an education of creativity and innovation all across Europe
• build bridges between local authorities and media and the main players of their own local makers ecosystems.
What should be the next steps for the “maker movement” at European level?
Maker culture has significantly spread over Europe in the last few years, thanks to the increasing number of innovative projects, workshops and stories made by people who build their own vision of the future through ingenuity and creativity. Europe is the continent with the highest number of Fab Labs and Makerspaces, and was the birthplace of revolutionary projects like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, MICROBIT and RepRap. Across Europe, the business world is increasingly investing in makers’ projects. In fact, the largest Maker Faire outside USA is Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition which this year will be held at the Exhibition Centre of ROME from 14 to 16 October in a wider venue than the previous one so to contain more than 100K visitors and 600 exhibitors. The nest level for “maker movement” should be recognized by EU and local institutions. Before that, it is very important that the “maker movement” strengthen itself so to be perceived as a whole. It must find the right way – trough Fab Labs / Hackerspaces and Makerspaces – to establish deeper roots at local basis and within their local communities and institutions. The “maker movement” has a lot to do with spreading the culture of Digital Manufacturing and Industry 4.0, which are the keys to make the European economy flourish again.
What can “makers” do to help their local communities and institutions?
Across the country, communities are working towards a common vision: to ensure that Fab Labs, Hackerspaces and Makerspaces become places where everyone’s ideas may thrive or anyone who needs may get support, services and opportunities. They could also work together with schools to ensure children succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or a different kind of educational approach. Whether inspired by events happening in each local community or catalyzed by an opportunity provided through a foundation or government supported initiative, Fab Labs and Makerspaces are already working to change the future for children and families by doing their “making”. In supporting these small efforts of local makers to transform little needs of everyday life in larger service centres, they can be an engine for change and offer a fresh and new vision to local communities and institutions
How do you see the “maker movement” changing our everyday life in 20 years?
The “maker movement” today is no longer a nascent, unorganized collection of people working separately on projects. Rather, it’s an ever-widening global circle of creators, eager to share and swap and support one another as we face the challenges of the day in a way that allows us to Do It Together. What innovations will makers prompt in 20 years? What science breakthroughs, health hacks, innovative products, and new ways of addressing old concerns will emerge? None of us can exactly say. The “maker movement” can only be there, as a community supporting one another, doing it together and perhaps doing it together with the EU Commission.