Community & Culture

An important aspect of creating a successful makerspace is to cultivate a “making” culture of students who care about the space. The students who ultimately run the space become a community of people focused on the same goal. The critical elements of culture are it’s community, policies, messaging, accessibility,  and programming.

Community:

Espouse and demonstrate trust in students. Empower students to teach and share as well as learn. Provide opportunities for students to care for and maintain space and equipment resources. Faculty partner to navigate political and institutional challenges.

Policies:

Access, training, housekeeping, stewardship policies should promote: transparency, individual and collective responsibility, supportive interactions, positive assumptions about human nature and personal motivations.

Messaging:

Messaging can be both implicit and explicit. Avoid long lists of rules, excessive signage, admonitions. Favor checklists and guides to help develop competence, promote mastery experiences. Make learning visible and explicit with well-labeled tools and supplies

Accessibility:

Develop access policies in partnership with students. Bias toward accommodating student schedules (i.e. not necessarily 9am-5pm). Decouple space access from machine training. Provide spectrum of equipment accessibility to enable immediate (and deeper long term) engagement


Source: Making Makerspaces