Be the change you want

Klaus Thestrup. Aarhus University, Denmark

I had the great pleasure of visiting George Marusteru, the co-founder of Hatch Atelier in Bucharest, Romania. During my visit I had many conversations with him on makerspaces, the educational system in Romania, the countrys recent history – and possible future.

It all took place while large demonstrations suddenly emerged in Romania. I watched on television how in the bitter cold of February around 300,000 Romanians protested peacefully against a government, who seemly wanted to allow corruption. It was the largest demonstrations for years in the country and I could not remember the last time so many people in Denmark had protested against anything.

So it became an important background for our discussions on makerspaces: content, purpose, participants.

What might the purpose of a makerspace be?

This video is not the result of our discussions but it is an opening in a form of a video diary to a discussion about what a makerspace can be used for. We talked about how the makerspace could be part of a country’s political and cultural processes. There seems to be a certain openness and freedom that goes far beyond the actual concrete tools in such a space. There seems to be possibility to use this openness to be and become citizens in globalized world.

What should one call it?

At least the term makerspace is so new in Romania, that Hatch Atelier did choose the word “Atelier” as part of their name, because it at that time was more familiar to people in Romania. That does not change the very idea of Hatch Atelier to be a space where one chooses to work, experiment and play together with others who are there.

A makerspace is a space, where you make…., but it is also a space, that you make in it self. It is a cultural space, that is not defined in advance, but becomes defined through the participants and what they do together. Culture is what you DO and a makerspace is what you make of it… so to speak.

A makerspace does not need to be political in the sense that it supports certain politics or a certain change – but it can be a place where a basic democracy is unfolded. From such an environment many kind of actions might come and become a needed inspiration.

Who is part of the process?

This blog is part of the EU-project MakEY – makerspaces in the early years. One can follow this project at the MakEYproject (makeyproject.eu). We could work with what could be framed as the new citizens in the world and through that develop and use the digital abilities these new citizens need. Not to be told what to think and do, but to decide for themselves and decide together with somebody else. Not to be left on their own in their different processes, but to be together with grown-ups, who also want democracy as a basic foundation of their life, work and education.

In a time of nationalism, desperation and fear, we might need makerspaces to be places of collaboration, communication and creativity…

Or… what do you think?

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