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FAB 8 NZ – The global Fablab summit comes to NZ

Hey folks, in a recent post we made a brief mention of the Fab 8 conference and eluded to the fact that it could very well be the biggest “maker” event in the calendar this year. But rather than take our word for it, why not let the event organiser Chris Jackson speak for himself. Below are some questions we put to Chris:

What is your background?

I am an industrial designer and lecturer, originally from the UK, now based in Wellington. I set up Northwards Design Studio in 2002 and have since collaborated and partnered with leading names in the design industry including Marset, Dark, Habitat, 100% Design, TwentyTwentyOne and Foster + Partners.

As a Lecturer in Industrial Design I am based at Massey University, Wellington. Here my research here is focused on Post-Industrial Design principles and processes including Open Design, DIY Design and Digital Fabrication.

You can see my work at www.northwards-design.co.uk

What is Fab8?

Fab 8 is the Eighth Annual International fab lab forum and symposium on digital fabrication. This year we are hosting the forum in NZ at the College of Creative Arts at Massey University, Wellington. During the conference we will also be opening the first MIT affiliated fablab in Australasia, so it’s really big for us, and great for New Zealand.

Why is it being hosted in NZ this year?

I personally wanted to start a fab lab here at massey, and have been working toward this for a couple of years. I also thought it a good time to try and host something like this in terms of the maker movement taking off here. Last year I went out to Fab 7 in Lima and pitched for the conference against a Japanese delegation and won the pitch.

Who usually attends?

Fabbers and makers from over 30 countries come together to share best practice, engage in workshops and plan for the future. Also people who are interested in started a fab lab in their local community and makers interested in labs. There is also an amazing one day symposium open to the public.

What events can the public attend?

We are running a two day fab camp over the weekend which has some limited public spaces. The one day symposium at Michael Fowler Centre in wellington is open to the public, who I strongly encourage to come. There will be presentations from organisations including NASA, UNHCR, DARPA alongside our very own WETA and Ponoko. It will be an amazing day. If you are interested in starting a lab, or looking for inspiration come for the week!

How does this event relate to/affect makers? 

I don’t see any difference between a maker in a makerspace or a maker in a fab lab, it’s all part of a larger global picture. It’s hands down the biggest event for makers and fabbers in New Zealand, and something like this won’t happen for at least a decade. I can’t stress enough how important this to attend the event – at least the 1-day symposium. This puts NZ on the map in terms of the global fab lab network, and a strong turn out is needed to communicate to other attendess, government and education how important the maker movement
is in New Zealand, especially for the future.

What would an ideal NZ post Fab8 look like?

The seeds of an Australasian and South Pacific fab lab network are being sown, so it will be capitalising on that. Our aim is that Fab 8, and the new fab lab at Massey, will catalyse new labs and making spaces in schools, universities, libraries and community centres all across New Zealand and the Pacfic region. It really is a great opportunity to build more momentum on top what is already ocurring.

What can we do to help?

Promote Fab 8 – but more importantly come and support by attending the symposium or full conference. it’s a great opportunity to engage with amazing people and projects, and see presenters who are internationally respected in this space.