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Highland Tech Hub asks if north needs its own 'makerspace'?

By Ben MacGregor

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The makerspace will provide a place where the public can work on their own projects, from sewing and woodwork to electronics and robotics.
The makerspace will provide a place where the public can work on their own projects, from sewing and woodwork to electronics and robotics.

A call has gone out for creative Highlanders, asking whether they want their own space to get inventive.

Social enterprise Highland Tech Hub has launched a survey to see how much interest there would be in a makerspace – also known as a hack club – for the Highlands.

Already well established in other cities in Scotland, these offer a space where people can work on projects, whether traditional crafts, electronics, or robotics.

Highland Tech Hub exists to encourage the uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the Highlands, and has already worked with schools and young people in the region.

The aim of the makerspace is to encourage an engagement with STEM in the wider community.

Highland Tech hub member Daryl Titcomb said the makerspace would be open to all ages and all skill levels to maximise opportunities for creativity and co-operation.

“We would encourage everyone to come along, regardless of skill level,” he said.

“The important thing is to get people along who want to build something for themselves.”

These can range from a ham radio station and lighting system to sewing and crafts projects.

“Really it’s anything you can think of,” Mr Titcomb added.

“They are maybe things that people would associate with home projects, but perhaps they don’t have the space for.”

As well as offering space, the makerspace will also provide support from other members.

“The support and encouragement aspect is very important,” Mr Titcomb added.

“Very often people find it easier to work on projects when there is someone else around them, maybe because they lack the confidence to do it themselves.”

Sustainability will also be important.

“We are trying to encourage people to re-use equipment and make something that they wouldn’t usually make. Most of the things that have been built in the Edinburgh tech hub have been salvaged from something else,” Mr Titcomb said.

Ideally the makerspace would be in a repurposed industrial unit, providing both the space and power capabilities the club requires. However, the Tech Hub members are awaiting the results of an online survey to see just what demand might be.

“Everyone we have spoken to have been very supportive and I would like to think most people would appreciate the benefits a space like this can bring,” Mr Titcomb said.

The survey can be accessed at www.facebook.com/CodeInverness/ or directly from https://highlandtechhub.net/makerspace

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