From Feb 19th, I will be taking some time out from my PhD to undertake a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship. For the next eight months, I will be on secondment with the MakeEY project as a representative of The University of Sheffield. More detailed information about ‘Makerspaces in the early years’ is now available on the project’s website.
In recent years, a ‘maker’ movement has been growing across the globe, which promotes and celebrates a DIY culture in which individuals make, hack and tinker with a range of materials and devices. ‘Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity’ (MakeEY) is a 30-month project funded by the EU H2020 programme that seeks to ensure the very youngest members of our society are involved in this movement.
Research projects are being undertaken in seven EU countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Romania and the UK) and the USA. Staff working in makerspaces will collaborate with academics to identify the benefits and challenges associated with running makerspace workshops in a range of formal and informal education settings. The team are also working in partnership with academics in Australia, Canada, Colombia, South Africa and the USA, creating a global network of scholars working together the further our understanding of the role of makerspaces in developing young children’s digital literacy and creativity.
My secondments will enable me to experience a wide range of Makerspaces across the globe, starting in Berlin (Germany) this month and moving on to Reykjavík (Iceland), Aarhus (Denmark), St Catherines (Canada) and finally, Melbourne (Australia).
My first secondment at FabLab Berlin, is already underway. FabLab are an open digital fabrication studio where members of the public can learn how to use 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, design software and electronics to make (almost) anything they want. My blog will provide a space for me to chart my progress across this exciting range of secondments, sharing learning from the trip over the next few months.