[HEADLINE CHALLENGE] Circular Maker Spaces

RSA Great Recovery present their challenge

Circular Maker Spaces

Key challenger: RSA Great Recovery
Challenge reviewers & Insight Future Make Spaces, RCA , Fab Lab London,
Themes: Circular guidelines, sustainable design, engagement, places

Problem Statement/Ideal Situation

How can we support the worldwide local maker movement and places to build sustainable practices and ‘circular thinking’ into its approaches, projects and spaces?

Around the world there has been a growth in practical Fab Labs, maker spaces and local design and manufacturing capabilities. This is encouraging for the circular economy community, as it raises understanding and awareness around how things are made and where they come from and fosters greater consideration of the impact of resource use. There is opportunity to further enhance this with aligning the way and place of working, alongside building in greater consideration of the future effects of this area; including 3D printing, wearable tech, IoT.

Images courtesy The Great Recovery at Fab Lab London

Envisioned outcomes

We would like to encourage open guidelines, inspiration and resources that support the integration of the circular economy into maker places, fab labs and similar spaces, both now and in the future.
For example:-

❖ circular mapping or design tools
❖ wayfinding or templates for the space
❖ sample prototype designs


Limited resources/ money
Individuality/ flexibility/ personalisation
Applicable to different types/ countries


● Opportunities in alignment of values and ethos
● Consideration of possible unintended consequences of local maker movement
● Still enabling exploration and experimentation


Who should the results, approach, solution be aimed at/ for?
Primary: Fablabs, makerspaces, hackspaces (both those managing and those making use of the facility – students, entrepreneurs, families, professionals, over 50s)
Secondary: University or school workshops, crafts festivals

Partners/ Key Stakeholders

Who may be good to lead, link up, engage with to use, communicate, fund?
● Fab Lab network (incl business contacts)
● Makerspace network (eg Maklabs, Hack spaces, Machine Rooms etc)
● Royal College of Arts
● Universities?
● Pearson?
● Possible related press - online forums and magazines?


A wiki stream to add relevant research, data, links and contacts too in advance
More links added 15.04.2016 @TechnicalNature

Relevant Research/Data - Understanding

Research and data making the case, outlining the need, benefits, enablers and barriers for creating positive focused (sustainability versed, circular thinking ) makes spaces / fab labs - also looking at their role and influence, education, what comes out, gets made…

Other Makespace / Fab Lab Guidance Links

Online guidance, manuals and how to’s related to setting up a fab lab/ makespace - alongside some building in specific sustainability, circular focus

Circular Economy - startup, designer, maker tools and resources

When looking at the users, the products their making and the support and education around building in circular design considerations in the front-end - form the more casual, hobby users to the professional, startup with aspirations to scale to manufacturer, larger distribution

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Great idea! We are having our OSCE Days Cape Town at Maker Station:


and the two brothers who create it have and continue to employ completely circular concepts to operating the space. Most of the tools, etc in it are their own or recycled from past projects. They are building all their systems like heating, hot water, communal kitchen, local energy using circular principles.

It’s a very good case study in how to build a maker space in a circular manner.


Great @Gien - It will be nice for the team that forms here to try and share, learn from each-other during the days (and onwards)! Also good links with @Xavier_C in Rennes.

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Yeah ! Pouvons-nous avoir un appel sur Skype bientôt? @LeBiome ?
@TechnicalNature @Gien

Hey Xavier,

I’m open to skype call or hangout but mon francais is tres mal! Parlez-vous Anglais?

I don’t speak French well but I am translating using Google.

I’m available before 3:30pm today for a short skype phone call or else two other options:

  1. June 12 morning
  2. June 13 or 14 in afternoon during our local challenges

Je ne parle pas bien le français, mais je traduis en utilisant Google.

Je suis disponible avant 15h30 aujourd’hui pour un appel téléphonique à court skype ou encore deux autres options:

  1. Juin 12 matin
  2. Juin 13 ou 14 dans l’après-midi au cours de nos défis locaux

@Gien Oh Sorry ! I confused speed with haste :wink: of course, there’s no probz for a call using Skype or hangout without french speaking.
With @LeBiome and I , we’ll check our possiblities for a short call on June 13 or 14 afternoon or a few days after in case of overbooking by OSCE days.

Cool. I think I will be just doing collaborative hangout sessions all day afternoon so just email me or send me hangout link. I’ve got hangout sessions set over the air broadcasts so we can stream live to internet while we are working.

Hi from Helsinki,
I’m giving a short talk tomorrow on this - what research/ers think the environmental issues are in distributed production, the environmental benefits and some concerns that the research lit hasn’t addressed too much yet. What Fab Labs see as the socio-environmental benefits of their activities but where maybe things aren’t as sustainable / circular as they could be. So what connections (potentials) we can draw between distributed production and the circular economy, on one hand, and what role the Maker Movement can play in this (and how makerspaces can be more conscious of their cycles) on the other.

I’ll leave the SWOT diagram (second-last slide) in the space on a wall somewhere and point participants to it - after my talk we can chat more about it if people are inclined and write down a few ideas.
The slides are on my slideshare now: http://www.slideshare.net/ckohtala/makers-circularity-kohtala13062015

We are in a new venue (new for us) tomorrow so we’re not sure yet technically how we’re going to be connected to the other cities re: streaming and viewing - but we’ll be in full action tomorrow. :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing this – super good.

II-OSCE-hoopingchamps-2-1.pdf (2.4 MB) I-OSCE-hoopingchamps-1.pdf (4.0 MB)

The #hoopingchamps_ team:
• Michael @eco_humanism
• Jason @jason_jrae
• Grit @grithar

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Really happy to have my head in that last slide @Grit :smile:

What was the piece of kit that Jason used for the web mock up?

Süper @sharmarval

Balsamiq, that is – https://balsamiq.com/ rapid wireframing, sketchy style, on ‘free trial’ :wink: // emphasized textless complex, less pricy than eg Axure, for web & app prototyping without coding

Green Fablab - a green Fab network building