On the Maker Movement



            I believe that humans are creatures created to invent. We have, after all, the distinction of being the only species on Earth that has continually innovated our society through technological progress. Inventions are so important to us that we use them to mark our history- we sometimes think (erroneously) that civilization truly began when someone had the imagination to create the wheel, after all. Because I see invention as essential to one’s humanity, then, it is a small wonder that I see the emergence of a “Maker Movement” as somewhat unsurprising.

You may have heard of the Maker Movement by reading the publication that represents it to the world, Make:, or by attending one of the many “Maker Faires” held annually all over the globe. If not, you have probably heard of the expression D.I.Y, which embodies the spirit of the subculture.

“Maker” culture, at its heart, espouses the notion that ordinary people can create amazing things. While Makers often focus on more computational or electronic projects, the philosophy of the subculture allows a Maker to be someone who makes nearly anything, as long as there is personal involvement and, essentially, a human face, in the project. Thus, the members of a small, close-knit shed-building business might be considered Makers, while a worker in a factory creating computer parts would probably not be considered a Maker.

The modern Maker Movement began in 2005 when the first issue of Make: was published. The philosophy of the group, since then, has been codified by Make: and its parent organization, Maker Media, which also organizes and licenses Maker Faires and runs the Maker Shed online store. The Movement has steadily grown internationally since its founding, and has spurred the creation of numerous organizations dedicated to its cause.

There are many organizations and events in central North Carolina affiliated with the Maker Movement. The Forge is Greensboro’s Makerspace (a sort of club space with tools, classes, and items for sale to help people create their own projects), while neighboring Burlington, through the Alamance Maker’s Guild, hosts its own Burlington Mini Maker Faire (which will be held this year on April 23rd).

For more information on Make:, see makezine.com. For more information on Maker Faires, see makerfaire.com. For more information on The Forge makerspace, see forgegreensboro.org. For more information on the Burlington Mini Maker Faire, see burlingtonminimakerfaire.com.

Article written by Joshua Fitzgerald.

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