Digital Maker Spaces

As promised so long ago, here is a more in depth look into one of the sessions I attended at Infocamp Seattle.

This session was given by Ario Jafarzadeh (who can be found on Twitter @ario). The session was broken into three parts – intellectual precedecors to this ideas, ventures like what he had in mind (most of them are no longer operating), and then an open forum on how to make it happen in Seattle (where, sponsorship, revenue etc).

The idea of a digital maker space has many intellectual relatives- maker spaces like Maker Haus in the Fremont area in Seattle that focus on physical creation and coworking spaces like Office Nomads here which has people sharing a work space but not working cooperatively.

What Ario wants to do in Seattle is create a space that combines these ideas. A place that offers classes (at low price or free), workspace, and performance space all in one for the digital maker. So this would not just be “normal” programing, but also digital video editing and digital music creation. A place to learn, work on, and show off all aspects of digital creativity from apps to multimedia music productions.

He also covered many projects that he had based his own idea on. A big influencer was the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) in the Bay Area. I encourage you to check out the GAFFTA website. It’s a pretty cool organization.

The open forum was a way for the Infocamp community to give feedback, suggestions, and commentary on the idea. We discussed different areas within the city for the space, what type of space (did it need to have a store front or could it be tucked away to save on rent?), sponsorships and funding. We discussed different organizations that could partner on the project like the University of Washington, Microsoft, smaller tech companies, and even the reaching out to the Seattle or King County Public Libraries.

We discussed different long term funding methods outside of corporate partnerships as well. Should a place like this have monthly dues or fees? Could crowd funding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo help with start up costs and then just work with annual or bi-annual fundraising drive (think PBS or more local the C 89.5 radio station)? Should this be a non-profit or for profit?

Would like such a place in Seattle? Do you think it is doable?

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One response to “Digital Maker Spaces

  1. Ironically, I do know one other person who wants to build a digital maker space and there is a place doing this sort of thing in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood called Metrix Create Space (http://metrixcreatespace.com/). think that maker spaces are fairly viable commercially, but I am also interested in where libraries can and do intersect with maker spaces. Have you heard about what is going on at the Fayetteville library? (http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-future-of-public-libraries-maker-spaces)

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