On my journey of makerspace exploration in London, I found a place called Machines Room. From where I was in the city, it was a 50-minute commute. Outside of the tube ride, it took an extra 15 minutes as I was lost trying to find it. The power of google maps is not strong with me and makerspaces. Machines Room is a small makerspace within one literal room in London, and I will do my best to describe the atmosphere.
Firstly, the walk to the location itself was colorful. There was a ton of graffiti near a small body of water on my way to the space. It is fitting for the area to be near artistic inspiration. People who operate in makerspaces are creative beings, and so the area they are nearby should also be creative. Machines Room is a small makerspace that literally is within a room. It has a laser cutter, some 3D printers, and other items one would find in a makerspace. Before it was in this room location, it was in a larger factory.
In terms of London makerspaces, this one has lost momentum over time. There was apparently someone funding the space for a while, but they pulled out this support recently over the years. When rent was too high to bare for members; they then moved on this space from their larger warehouse location. The tale of dwindling does not necessarily end here though.
As of the week I visited, the space informed me that they will be closing down soon. There is a lot of uncertainty among the organizers and members within that space. I learned a lot of insight from people there on the climate of Brexit and how it directly is affecting their organization as makers.
The next move for them is to be rebranded within the bubble of Fab City. Fab City is a global collective focused on developing locally produced and globally connected cities. The goal would be to have all these cities making and creating in self-sufficient manners. The timeline would be focused on cities producing everything they consume by 2054.
I find it interesting the plan of action that the Machines Room is taking. It seems to go directly against the political approach that is entrenched within Britain through Brexit. Machines Room is strategically aligning with a global organization to better London’s future. The problem of access and sustainable local production will continue ideally through the collaborations made with Fab City.
Something I notice is the power of social mobility within the digital realm. What I mean is this: digital media, technology, and communication are a catalyst for social change. Although things such as Brexit are having a direct influence on day to day life for makers, the usage and connection of people through the internet is so powerful that it seems to quench the fire of Brexit. I find it truly fascinating how this is occurring.
If I could stay in London a bit more, I would definitely be checking out the Fab City London opening event later in the month. I see the future of makers and creation slowly happening in London. It is bypassing the standard ways of thinking within political systems.
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