TECHNOLOGY

Dublin Maker Festival showcases Irish innovation

As Ireland’s makers prepare to showcase their unique builds this Saturday, TechCentral spoke to Jeffrey Roe from the Dublin Maker team about the event’s return

To live

Image: Dublin Maker

Dublin Maker – a volunteer-run festival that aims to highlight Ireland’s hidden inventive genius – returns for the tenth time in Merrion Square Dublin on Saturday 23rd July.

The free-to-entry event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and hosts educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, scientists, students, authors, and commercial exhibitors of all ages and backgrounds.

While its central mission remains – to entertain, inform and connect Ireland’s creators, while inspiring the next generation of Irish creators and inventors – the team has stepped up its efforts this year to promote professional opportunities for hobbyists.

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Turn a hobby into a business

“We want to show our creators how to turn their hobby into a small business,” says Roe. “So we partnered with Dublin City Council’s Local Enterprise Office to help our creators find the right path for them.

“We will present creators at different stages of this journey; from people who turned their hobby into their profession four years ago, to someone who is only now taking the first steps. By doing so, we hope to inspire those of our creators who are interested in taking things to the next level to take that leap.”

Return to Live Event

After Dublin Maker was performed virtually in 2021, Roe and the team were eager to return to a live format this year. “Being personal is crucial. Our creators did a great job last year, but we noticed there was something of a digital divide. Unfortunately, it was mainly the tech-savvy people who were able to roam our small virtual world to interact with the event. Dublin Maker tends to be multi-generational, we always get a lot of families and grandparents at the event, so it was important for us to make it more accessible.”

The personalized format gives participants a unique opportunity to speak with makers who have created everything from wooden sculptures to 3D-printed cosplay props or handmade coffee pod jewelry.

Eclectic mix

“I love seeing the eclectic mix of creators together in one place. On one stand, you might see someone showcasing the craftsmanship of traditional Aran knitwear, and on the other you might see someone racing AI-powered robots. It’s definitely not something you see every day!”

The mix of creators may be eclectic, but they all have one thing in common: passion: “The passion that the people who come to exhibit at our event have is just incredible to see. It’s a great way for members of the public to be exposed to different sources of creativity and innovation.

“I would like to encourage everyone to come by and really get in touch with all that the event has to offer. We have loads of interactive elements that will really enhance your experience, so talk to people at their booths, join the knitting, play with the robots and try some new things.”

Creative process

In a further effort to inspire visitors, Roe and the team want people to see the full creative journey, not just the end result. “Many of our makers will take the finished product and have 10 failed prototypes on the table next to it. Others will highlight all the research that went into their build. These projects are not finished. We want people to see the journey behind every beautiful work of art.”

Repair Cafe

Visitors are also encouraged to bring any broken items they have to the TOG Hackerspace Repair Café. “Perhaps you have a broken blender at home that you used to enjoy making smoothies on, or a special piece of clothing that you have torn. Bring it with you on Saturday and our team of volunteers will be happy to help you with your repair process.”

Dublin Maker is supported by funding from Science Foundation Ireland, Dublin City Council and the ESB. More details can be found at www.dublinmaker.ie

TechCentral Reporters

Read more: Dublin Maker Events VOTE



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