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Thursday, 21st May 2015

Open Dataset of UK Makerspaces: A User's Guide

Source: NESTA: National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

From the Introduction:

The UK has witnessed an explosion of makerspaces, fablabs, hackerspaces and community workshops, growing from a handful to nearly 100 in the last decade. Recognised as sites of civic and social innovation, creativity and learning, makerspaces are increasingly held up as potential game changers for design, entrepreneurship, fabrication, manufacturing, and technological innovation. Pundits ask whether they can lead the transition to more sustainable forms of production and consumption, or provide solutions for economic recovery....

Amidst this rising interest in makerspaces, it can be difficult to understand the many different forms they take; to get a sense of the scale at which they are operating and the size of the movement in general. Research into makerspaces and maker communities has been undertaken by academic centres and there are a number of lists and maps of UK makerspaces. However, there is a clear opportunity to map makerspaces across the UK in more detail; gaining a deeper understanding of what’s happening across the country.

In response to this opportunity, Nesta has taken the initial step of creating an open dataset of UK makerspaces. The following paper highlights the key finding and trends from within this dataset. It also sets out other opportunities to make use of the dataset, and proposes a set of categories and comparative features for making sense of the variety of makerspaces in the UK.

+ Direct link to Guide (PDF; 1.3 MB)

+ UK makerspaces: the data

+ Press Release



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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