Now offering in-space advertising

Farset Labs has accomplished a lot in the past 5 years, stimulated by the goodwill of the STEAM community, and underpinned by the direct financial support of the membership.

However, like many others in the community and voluntary sector, we face continually rising overheads despite efficiently delivering our charitable aims. As such, we’re exploring a new revenue stream: in-space advertising.

Next month, we will be putting up four A3 poster panels in the co-working space and workshop on a three-month trial basis, available on rolling monthly hire by outside organisations and companies.

These poster locations will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis at the discretion of the Farset Labs management team, and posters must be provided by the advertiser.

These are currently priced as follows:

  • Community/charitable/non-profit groups advertising events, programmes & opportunities: £150pm
  • Direct advertisement of goods, services & jobs: £300pm
  • Indirect promotion of recruitment services & non-specific roles: £600pm

If you’d be interested in participating in this trial, contact us on info@farsetlabs.org.uk.

At the end of this three month period, the results and impact will be assessed openly in the community along with trial participants, and any modifications deemed necessary will be made before restarting the programme. Trial participants will have early-access into the continued programme.

This new revenue stream will give Farset Labs a more stable platform from which we can cover our increasing operational costs and focus on reinvesting in our services and facilities. We want to achieve this without having to put any more financial pressure on the members of our community who need access to these resources the most.

Farset Labs has been a fully membership-funded community space, delivering volunteer-driven outreach, education, and facilitation to the STEAM community; from programming & engineering courses at local primary and secondary schools, to taking part in national and global collaborative events such as Global Game Jam and BBC’s Make It Digital campaigns.

Beyond this, we have been a melting pot for meetups and user-groups, with our free use of our event space on Wednesday evenings for qualifying non-profit groups and individuals, where organisers can test the viability of their event ideas, developing communities that can (and usually do) rapidly grow to join the major meetup circuit beyond Farset Labs.

Given the nature of the community fostered under our roof, Farset Labs has also hosted and spun-through a number of successful member-run startups, giving entrepreneurs the freedom to explore, collaborate, and experiment without losing equity or requiring significant upfront costs (Desk rental starts at £100 per month, but hot desking is included at all membership levels).

All of this while operating on what can only be described as a “lean” budget. With no staff, no salaries, and no institutional funding, we have kept our significant outgoings limited to rent, power, heating (most of the time), cleaning and refuse collection, and insurance/accounting/legal fees.

If you, your company or your organisation wish to support the work of Farset Labs, or are interested in engaging with this unique community, get in touch via email to info@farsetlabs.org.uk, or tweet us at @FarsetLabs.

Launching @MakerAssemblyNI: 16th March

EDIT: Schedule released below
We’ve been quietly toiling away in the background to bring the movers, shakers and taste makers of the UK Maker Community  (and beyond!) to Belfast for a one day mini-conference, set up to tear down some misconceptions about the community and to address some of the unique challenges faced in our region.

Maker Assembly NI is a one-day gathering hosted in the labs to critically discuss maker culture: its meaning, politics, history and future.

Speakers

Currently confirmed speakers / workshop leaders are:

But the speakers don’t make the conference; the attendees do, and while we’re not publishing our invited attendee list, it’s pretty awesome if we do say so ourselves!

Schedule

The conference will explore a series of topics around making, with a focus on critical discussion about the current state of the maker culture.

 

10:00 Registration and coffee

10:30 Welcome address

10:45 Session 1: Making & Peace Building

Kicking off Maker Assembly NI is a session about the politics and nuances of community-facing digital fabrication projects. It will look at how maker cultures are emerging at the grassroots and how local organisations are contributing to the peace-building project currently underway in Northern Ireland. It hopes to reveal how the idea of ‘critical making’ can be adjusted to suit the specificities of different contexts.

Speakers:

Adam Wallace & Eamon Durey, Fab Labs NI, John Peto, Nerve Centre

12:00 Session 2: Speculative Making: New Contexts and Futures

As the idea of digital making beds down—and practices become more visible and accessible—what new trajectories are emerging and how are speculative futures being framed? This session hopes to reveal the supports we might need to maintain a critical forecast of making and maker culture.

Speakers:

Nora O’Murchu, University of Limerick, Kat Braybrooke, University of Sussex

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Session 3: Governance, Sustainability & Maker Networks

How are maker networks nurtured and sustained? And how ‘critical’ are the governance

strategies of the physical spaces and networked platforms that mediate maker networks?

This session hopes to somewhat unravel the entanglements of people, places, and things, to better understand how maker culture is being facilitated.

Speakers:

Javier Burón, Fab Lab Limerick & University of Limerick, Hannah Stewart, Royal College of Art, Future Makerspaces Project

15:30 Session 4: Critics of the world, create!

Final session to be a making exercise, inspired by the Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska’s (2012) Creative Media Manifesto and Garnet Hertz’s Critical Making zine series.

17:00 Closing remarks and Networking

18:00 Bus to the Pub – BREWBOT http://www.brewbotbelfast.com/

Supporters

Running as part of Creativity Month, DCALNI have kindly funded a limited number of subsidised tickets and travel bursaries for some speakers & attendees. This fund has also been topped up by those kind folks at BBC Northern Ireland.

If you would like to contribute to these bursaries (or enquire about making use of) contact info@makerassemblyni.org.

Follow us on @MakerAssemblyNI for up to the minute news and info!

Farset Labs 3rd Birthday Anniversary Celebration – 13th April

Can you believe it has been 3 years since we opened our doors?

We’re going to have a bit of a party, and Farset Labs invite you to come and celebrate with us on Monday 13th April – as a thank you for helping us on our way, and to look forward to many more years of nurturing local creative and technology endeavours.

Please do invite friends and well-wishers.

As well as being a general “Open/Social Evening”, we will of course have cake, snacks and drinks, plus a selection of our best boardgames and multiplayer video-games, plenty of opportunities to experiment with some of our projects and tools, and the all important “traditional” (not yet, but it will be) Farset birthday raffle, with some great prizes available, kindly donated to us by local and more distant organisations.

Some great raffle prizes have already been contributed by such generous benefactors as Intel BelfastBrightwaterBufferBelfast Roller DerbyMiss McKeown’s extraordinary teas, rehabstudio, and our own excellent Farset brewers will be offering some of their latest.

We’re looking forward to seeing your wonderful face!

You are also welcome to BYOB.

(Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.)

Getting kids excited about Computer Science in Northern Ireland

The following is a combined position paper and call-to-action for a project that many of us have been working on behind the scenes for a long time now, especially Andrew Mulholland who’s taken over the operation of the Raspberry Jam programme.

Andrew and I collaborated on this document to put forward our plans for a school outreach programme built on the experience we’ve gained from running the Jam programme in Belfast for the past two years, including a collaboration between Farset Labs, Digital Circle and W5 that brought teachers together from across the province to share best practice for ICT education, as well as receiving our ‘wisdom’ from running CoderDojo and Jam-like programmes. This programme was assessed DCAL and was very well received but due to personnel changes in some relevant organisations, has not been directly carried on as a full pilot programme.

We hope to change that, and thanks in part to Andrew’s recent successes at the TalkTalk Digital Hero awards, as well as working over the summer with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’ve secured match funding up to £4,000 to support the proposed programme.

But we need your help to drum up the rest of our estimated £8,000 programme costs, and hopefully this document will help. Have a read at our thoughts, and Andrew and I are more than happy to answer any questions, concerns or ideas about the proposed programme.

EDIT:

We’re happy to announce that The CultureTech Festival have pledged £1,000 towards this programme, as well as inviting us to participate in three events in the North West.

Raspi_Colour_Rculture-tech-avatar-rgb

Mmmmmm, Free Pi

Hello_World_Foundation Raspi_Colour_R

So far we’ve run this crazy ship on the tireless input of a bunch of visionary volunteers. I am in a constant state of wonder and gratitude for this continued effort. Nobody asks for thanks in return but it’s always nice when the good karma pays off a little.

The Hello World Foundation is kindly sending us some free Raspberry Pis! With these, we can do more not only to introduce kids to the power of coding, but also to become more familiar with the inner workings of computers and electronics, rather than seeing computers as impregnable black boxes.

The Foundation exists to create the world’s leading network of affiliated coding clubs for young people. It’s a new organisation, formed on the heels of CoderDojo by the same organisation’s founder, Ireland’s own James Whelton. On behalf of the Farset Labs CoderDojo, thanks to you all.