UniMaker: Academic Makerspace Conference at the University of Sheffield

Conference information provided by Pete Mylon, @iForgerPete on Twitter

Building a Community of Makers

UNIMAKER is a conference for anyone working or studying in and around HE who loves making, creating, designing, inventing, building and exploring using a range of different tools and materials. Last year, this exciting forum attracted delegates from over 20 higher education (HE) institutions from across the UK with a diverse and dynamic programme. Why not take a look at our highlights here.

We are aware that many makers have been playing a key role in responding to the crisis, as well as coming up with innovative ways for students to engage with Making in the context of the current restrictions. We would like to capture these stories and be able to share them with one another, and continue to build this wonderful community. We hope to do this through a mixture of live online sessions and pre-prepared material. We are aware of how busy universities have been over this period and hope this will allow you some flexibility to engage with the content around your other commitments.

The live sessions will run September 7th and 8th 2020 as originally intended and are free to join in- save the dates!

There will be no formal review process for contributions, so feel free to share with us what you have been doing or thinking in as much or as little detail as you like and in whatever format seems most appropriate – papers, short reports/blogs, pictures, videos or something else… if it involves Making we want to hear about it! 

This invitation is open to anyone, from academic staff, students and alumni to technical and professional services staff, whether you are running an established makerspace or just starting out on your making journey.
Please send your contributions in or email us to talk about your ideas at unimaker@sheffield.ac.uk.
As we collect these contributions, we will then endeavour to create a programme for the live sessions and a platform to share asynchronous content. Areas we’d love to hear from you about include (but are not limited to):

The response of Makers to Covid-19
Maker initiatives for PPE, medical devices, social distancing solutions and coping with lockdown; How Making can assist with global economic recovery; The #pivotonline – how Making in HE is changing as a result of online working; How student-led and co-curricular activities have adapted

Starting and Running Makerspaces
Access and supervision models; Student leadership and ownership; Funding and industry engagement; Technology for enabling student autonomy; Training and Health & Safety

The Impact of Making
Making for mental health and wellbeing; STEM and community outreach; widening participation; Influencing University culture; Sustainability; Knowledge exchange and industry collaboration

Supporting and Developing Students and Staff
Employability and enterprise skills; Developing staff from supervisors to mentors; Entrepreneurship and supporting start-ups

Building a Community of Makers
Initiatives to sustain community and facilitate making during lockdown; Creating a welcoming and inclusive space; Sharing good practice; Regional engagement and collaboration; Working across disciplines

If you can let us know as soon as possible if you would like to contribute something (it doesn’t have to be fully formed yet!) it would be really helpful for structuring the event.

All the best,

The UNIMAKER 2020 Team

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