The LI4E Makerspace Project is a not-for-profit collaborative effort headed up by Learning is for Everyone to bring together individuals, organizations, businesses and agencies interested in changing culture through the creation of accessible, sustainable and enduring public creative spaces throughout Tampa Bay, Florida. Our ultimate goal is provide places where everyone can learn, innovate, manufacture and create in personally fulfilling and economically productive ways. We do this by:
- Working to identify potential public spaces
- Coordinating with interested city and county facilities like libraries to inform, inspire and remove barriers to makerspace creation,
- Hosting an annual Makerspace Unconference and
- Hosting “Pop Up” Makerspace projects and events like the Red Bull Creation and The Deconstruction to raise awareness and visibility, and to introduce to the general public the fun and productive energy possible when people are given tools and opportunities to be creative.
- Providing information and networking resources via website, social media and real time meetings and get togethers.
At our 2012 Mini Maker Faire Makerspace Unconference, we were joined by folks experienced in the matter, from Familab in Orlando, and Fab Lab in Sarasota, MOSIs Idea Zone and local collaborators from Makerspace Tampa Bay , Learning is for Everyone, and the University Area Community Development Corporation, and since then have created an LI4E Makerspace Project community.
We held a 2nd Makerspace Unconference at our 2013 Mini Maker Faire, to share lessons learned and progress so far – and there has, in fact, been progress!
LI4E Makerspace Project in Review
The LI4E Tampa Bay Makerspace project was named one of the top ten 10,100, 1000 projects by Creative Loafing last year, made it into the semi-finals with our Red Bull Creation project during the summer of 2012 . In the fall, Learning is for Everyone began working with the Pasco County Library System (a partner for the 2013 Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire!) , in consultation with James Carlson of SchoolFactory.org, to bring Makerspaces to area libraries. It was a busy first year, and we’ve only just begun!
At the start of 2013, we formed a collaborative team with The Urban Conga, an interactive art installation group, to compete in The Deconstruction – and we won the top judges award! Like our Red Bull Creation entry, it was a fun project with a serious aim – to help people see and experience firsthand the power of the creative process.
And in April 2013, a generous South Tampa homeowner offered the use of a small home she owns for the purposes of creating “a collaborative, stimulating, encouraging place for people to come together to learn how to think more clearly, more expansively, and more productively.” Specifically, the goal is to develop a place where
• Skills could be learned and honed and advanced,
• Ideas could be incubated and tested
• An agrarian-self-supporting venture could be developed
• The home could potentially become a catalyst for other people to refine sustainable businesses
We’re very excited to have this collaborative opportunity to learn how to repurpose a property for public creative use, and look forward to sharing the journey with others interested in creating similar spaces in their communities.
What’s a Makerspace, anyway?
(Read this far and still wondering?)
Makerspaces are the ultimate creative space. Like a library but with far more than books, makerspaces provide community residents with the tools, training and resources to become active and empowered creators of their futures instead of passive consumers – of food, clothing, tools, toys, furniture, books, magazines, games, gadgets and more. The list is endless because the possibilities are endless.
Why do we need them, in Tampa Bay or anywhere?
Makerspaces are good for individuals, and good for neighborhoods, providing community enhancing ways to repurpose unused or abandoned space, meaningful ways to teach employable and entrepreneurial skills, and lucrative ways to benefit from collaborative opportunities between area businesses and organizations who can reap the rewards of well-placed mentoring ranging from a better skilled workforce to locally developed products.
Additionally, makerspaces become community gathering places, putting capacity building and resource development into the hands of area residents who need it most, empowering ordinary people to become extraordinary Makers of their future and Tampa Bay’s.
We’ll be holding more conversations about public community spaces to think, build, create, invent, collaborate. If you want to be part of the conversation, join us at the LI4E Makerspace Project page, and let’s make it happen together! And check out some great resources for learning about and developing makerspaces on our library page!
And if you’re in Tampa Bay and have a resource to share, please add it to our Tampa Bay Makers Consortium Directory!