First meetup: inspiration abounds!

Cape Cod Makers’ public debut last night was, by all accounts, an inspiring success. I’d like to thank everyone who came out – we had a head count of about 50 people, and judging by the amount of enthusiasm and energy in the room, it seemed like hundreds.

A packed house at Tommy Doyle's

Mary speaking to a packed house at Tommy Doyle’s

Attendees hailed from all corners of the creative and collaborative spectrum, including representatives from the Barnstable and Mashpee school districts, Cape Cod Community College, the Cape Cod Technology Council, the local Chamber of Commerce, and several news outlets, as well as a host of individuals with an equally broad range of skills and interests.

I would especially like to thank Chris Connors for joining us. His wealth of experience with makerspaces around the country – observing them, participating in them, and talking about them – was especially effective in communicating the ideas and visions that all spaces share, and the advice of such a well-traveled makerspacer has already been invaluable to us.

In case you missed it, the big ideas of the meetup (at least as far as I gathered public opinion) were as follows:

  • The makers’ movement has the potential to become a revolution, as more people acquire better, cheaper, and more efficient ways to turn their ideas into reality.
  • Nationwide emphasis on STEM – or STEAM, with the incorporation of arts with the sciences and technology – education has increased recently, and with it people’s awareness of the value of hands-on learning. A well-run, well-equipped makerspace is an asset to any educational institution.
  • People on Cape Cod can benefit from everything a makerspace offers, from collaboration between existing craftspeople who currently work in creative isolation, to personal enrichment through classes and workshops, to offering productive activities for local kids who might otherwise see their potential underappreciated, to using new-found skills and connections to help each other and those less fortunate.
  • Pretty much everybody wants to learn how to weld (me included).
Fabrication, CNC, CAD, holograms

People’s ideas for what they want to do at their makerspace

These are just some of the ideas that I heard during people’s introductions and then while mingling afterward. I can’t tell you how many times I saw people nodding along with somebody else’s statements, or even breaking into spontaneous applause after a particularly cheer-worthy assertion. We know there’s a long road ahead of us, full of logistics, legality, publicity, insurance, fundraising, organizing, just plain figuring out who we are and what we want, and no doubt a healthy helping of unforseen hiccups, but if what we get out of it does justice to the big dreams of this first meeting, it’ll be worth it a thousand times over.

Jewelry, dog stuff, ceramics, 3D printing

More big ideas

The most important thing I took away from all this is that everybody came out with a lot of optimism and excitement and an avalanche of ideas. In order to make sure we keep that momentum going, we’d like everybody to be able to keep in touch and have set up a few ways for that to happen.

For those interested in what a wise user once called “multiplayer Notepad,” we’ve set up an IRC channel, #ccmakers on freenode.

For more involved discussion, we’re working on getting a forum set up – check back in the next few days for a link!

As always, we welcome any and all input (well, within reason, but I know y’all are reasonable) in comments and emails.

Digital photography, lens grinding, chemistry, cake decorating

Even bigger ideas – add yours in the comments!

Posted in Makerspace, Meetups

Leave a Reply