A group of Huddersfield artists, crafts people and creative businesses have combined forces to make sure the town’s tradition of highly skilled crafts, industry and innovation flourishes in the 21st century.
Together, they have launched a “maker space” – the first of its kind in the town centre. Based in The Media Centre, the new initiative provides a shared workspace where individuals with a wide range of practical skills – including textiles, digital technology, traditional crafts, engineering, fine art and electronics – can work side by side, share their knowledge and collaborate to produce new ideas for products, start-up companies and artworks.
With shared equipment such as a 3D printer, Arduino mini-computers, sewing machines and a laser cutter, The Making Space also enables members to build and test prototypes of their ideas and put small projects into production.
Amy Hirst, a Huddersfield artist and one of the founder members of The Making Space, said: “Huddersfield is a town built on making, and it has an amazing range of skilled people from all sorts of backgrounds that can contribute to its future.
“For example, people might think that textiles is a traditional industry, but actually it’s always been high tech. The invention of computers was based on the punch cards used in weaving, and these days textile designers in Huddersfield are working with scientists to explore nano-scale new materials. The Making Space will encourage these kinds of collaborations so that new innovations can happen.”
The new initiative has already won the support of Coun Julie Stewart-Turner, whose ward covers the town centre. Julie said: “It is always a pleasure to see what wonderful things people can make happen when they work positively together.
“I’m excited to see what will come from this new venture. It provides a great opportunity for many people to be inspired and to develop their ideas. I wish them lots of success.”
The Making Space welcomes people with all skill levels, from beginners to experts. Three of the founder members of The Making Space are graduates of the University of Huddersfield’s renowned textile department, for example, and the resources the space offers will be a stepping stone to support students who want to live and work in the town.
Brent Woods, CEO of the Media Centre, the not-for-profit organisation that will house and support the new initiative, said: “The maker movement is part of the new wave of technology innovation, bridging the gap between digital and physical worlds and putting new, low cost design and manufacturing tools into the hands of creative people.
‘’It’s our mission to support the economy and the culture of the town, so it’s great to be working with The Making Space and be the first to bring that to Huddersfield town centre.”
To ensure The Making Space is an inclusive, low cost and accessible venture, it will be run as a co-operative. In return for a £10 monthly membership, members get 24 hour access to the workspace, shared equipment and an equal vote in running the organisation. Any spare money will be reinvested into the members’ activities and the purchase of new equipment.