Birmingham City University
The objective of the Urban Manufacturing Project is to ensure that collaborative makerspaces thrive. We achieve this through identifying best practice, testing policy approaches and supporting our cities/regions in creating receptive conditions. Our hope is that we will demonstrate the impact that cooperative facilities can have on innovation and establish a European network of advocates.
WHAT ARE COLLABORATIVE MAKERSPACES?
Collaborative makerspaces take many forms, but common to all is the idea of producing physical objects through cooperation. This sharing can occur during ideas generation or fabrication and is most profound when different sectors come together.
The benefits of working in this way are numerous and include: new and improved products; an enhanced sense of community; increased mutual knowledge; quicker and more comprehensive solutions; and the tapping of latent potential. This leads to more effective and far-reaching innovation. Examples of collaborative makerspaces include Fab Labs, Open Innovation Centres, Living Labs and Cross-Sector Incubators.
Collaborative makerspaces are typically located within urban environments, so understanding the ecosystem – for example the interdependencies between education, policy makers and manufacturers – is of fundamental importance. Through nourishing these connected elements, cooperative facilities can flourish.
Through our partnership, we are analysing the effect of policies across seven related themes:
STEAM Communities Ecosystems Funding to support makerspaces Results of investment in makerspaces Routes to market Enterprise
We develop our understanding through a process of knowledge sharing.