Creativity Month, and the Need for Cross-Pollination

Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited
Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited

This past month, we’ve been involved in DCAL’s Creativity Month, in association with Creativity NI.

This allowed us to experiment with ways to bring the general maker and creative community together, through our Makers Meetup programme (which we’ll be continuing as a basic social event), the Bring and Buy sale (that was decimated by unprecedented weather), and our upcoming DIY Guitar Pedal Workshop (which still have spaces available if you order quickly! We have to close sales tomorrow!).

We’ve also been getting involved in other Creativity Month events; I went to Blick Studios Creative Camp. There was a fantastic array of speakers and activities (And Munchies!), and while I had to dart off soon after lunch (Due to our Club Mate arrival…), I was honoured to be speaking about our little lab.

As with most speaking events, the Q&A is often more interesting than the speaking; one of the thrusts of my discussion was the siloed nature of Northern Ireland’s Creative and Technical Industries; Web Developers talk to Web Designers, Typographers talk to Graphic Artists, and Electronics-heads talk to Radio-heads, but rarely do these silos of talent and experience actually get pierced and mixed.

I suppose if there was an ‘aim’ for Farset, from my perspective, it is to provide an even ground for these silos to interact on. Between our Gathering of Lightning member-driven speaker series to our varied range of hackathons, we are trying to make people mix, because that’s where the best ideas come from; the intersection of two (or more) experience spaces.

Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical
Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical

That’s why I would implore you to get involved in what we’re trying to do. This isn’t about software or electronics or computers or gaming or whatever. This isn’t about making money; we’re all running on passion (and Caffeine!). This isn’t about stealing people’s ideas or scooping up equity. This isn’t about chasing funding at the expense of your ethics.

At its core it’s about sharing knowledge, experience, and inspiration across the full range of STEAM* areas for not just the ‘next generation’ with our CoderDojo and Outreach programmes, but also the current and past generations of industry leaders in the creative and technical arts.

Creativity Month was a risk for us to take on; we’re not an art house, we are a collective of the “Creative-Technically Minded”, which doesn’t exactly make it easy to tick bureaucratic boxes and stay honest…

The act of creation and ideation is universal across art and science and engineering and business. Aspects from one area can complement and enhance others.

Only through mixing the melting pot of talent we have in this wee country do we have a hope of a prosperous, and happy, shared future. So please, get involved. Join the labs, Come to an Event or Workshop, or even just share this page to someone you think needs a bit of inspiration.

Thank you.

 

*Science, Technology, Engineering/Entrepreneurship, Art and Mathematics

Coder Dojo @ Weavers Court

UPDATE: This post is now very old and is possibly out of date, see here for the latest CoderDojo Updates


 

CoderDojo is a worldwide network of groups passionate about getting kids into STEM and Programming
CoderDojo is a worldwide network of groups passionate about getting kids into STEM and Programming

Eventbrite - Weavers Court CoderDojo

Farset Labs is playing host to the Weavers Court CoderDojo, kicking things off with a ‘soft launch’ next Thursday the 21st from 17:30-20:00. With mentors (and kids) hopefully coming from all over the park and from the community of Sandy Row, we think that this will be a great addition to our growing outreach activities.

We’ll be running the Dojo on the First and Third Thursday’s of the month (we know this makes for a strange end-of-May, but it’s the lesser of two evils…)

CoderDojo is a movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people.

At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. Dojos are set up, run by and taught at by volunteers. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience.

CoderDojo also puts a strong emphasis on open source and free software, and has a strong network of members and volunteers globally. CoderDojo has just one rule: “Above All: Be Cool“, bullying, lying, wasting people’s time and so on is uncool.

It also provides essential teaching and mentorship experience for budding software developers; after all, to teach is to learn twice! And you don’t have to be a hardcore code-hacker to mentor; anyone can help to guide these kids through the processes of problem solving, breaking down tasks, thinking in a stepwise fashion, or just picking out the killer-spelling-mistakes like variable names or missing semi-colons!

Eventbrite - Weavers Court CoderDojo

For more information about Coder Dojo, check out the CoderDojo global webpage.

Also check out our Dojo Page on Zen

 

FAQs

Is there an age limit to enter the event?

CoderDojo is aimed loosely at the under 18’s, but any child younger than 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

We’re 5 minutes walk from Europa Bus Centre, and Parking is available all across the Weavers Court Campus

What should I bring to the event?

We don’t have the resources available to provide everyone with a machine, so if you can help us out by bringing your own device, be it laptop/tablet/smartphone, that’d be great.

I can’t make it, what can I do to help?

If you can’t make it to our Dojo, consider some of the other Dojos in Northern Ireland, like at BMC in BelfastBallymena, or the brand new Dojo in Newry.

If you just want to support our event here at Farset Labs, please consider making a donation to the charity and mention in your donation that you wish it to go to fund refreshments, resources, materials, and equipment for the Dojo.

 

Outreach at Farset Labs

NdGT, tellin' it like it is.
NdGT, tellin’ it like it is.

This is going to sound old hat, but here at Farset, we’re all about cultivating an environment where the next generation of technologists can come into their own, but as the old saying goes, to teach is to learn twice.

That’s why we are always encouraging not only peer-teaching within the space and at Farset events, but also try and encourage our members to take part in STEM outreach to local schools.

As such, we’ve been internally working on a semi-regularly-updated wiki of the STEM events that need help in Northern Ireland, and hopefully, people will step up to the plate and give their time and energy to the next generation of technologists.

And before you say “That’s the teachers job”, just think back to your own teachers. Did they really know about the latest and greatest technologies going on?

I bet they didn’t (obviously replace those with temporally relevant technologies…).

As an aside, we’re trying to find someone to fund travel expenses for such outreach, because we definitely can’t! But if you’re free at any of the listed times, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or the listed contact points on the wiki and give back to the education system.

GO HERE AND PLEASE GIVE YOUR TIME