Liverpool’s FACT: Build Your Own Exhibit — 3D Printing With e-Nable, Hack Nights & More


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factLogoIn the journey to creation, the roads between crafts and 3D printing technology and many others often meet, offering up inspirational new techniques, processes–and rewards. It’s also a meeting of the traditional and the ultra-modern which today not only often work side by side in different aspects, but are also integrated and complementary.

FACT highlighted just that in Liverpool the other night at the opening of Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing, a show encased within the expansive FACT exhibit, and running from June 4 through August 31.

Build Your Own functions as a showcase for displaying a range of artistic and innovative practices from arts and crafts to creative technology. The goal is to ‘celebrate a new spirt of generosity through making from local street to global maker networks.’ Those who were on hand were able to get a look at and actually use creative and technological tools not usually accessible by the general public.

Attendees were able to inspect 3D printed prosthetics, as well as see how they are engineered in a display offered up by DoES Liverpool, founded by creative technologists Ross Dalziel, Patrick Fenner and Adrian McEwen.

For the display, the team set up a demonstration area for the Enabling the Future project by the e-NABLE community, which is one we report on often as they are busy coordinating everything from refining 3D printed prostheses that they work so hard to make accessible for kids to making super-hero prostheses, complete with shows.

UntitledAttendees were also busy learning about a new project by Rachel Rayns called Neurotic Machines, which allowed them to learn about and use a Raspberry Pi greenhouse, which is a futuristic system featuring robots that help us care and nurture plant life. Rayns used the project as a vehicle for demonstrating a prime example of how the Internet of Things can work for us, and produce the perfect garden.

Other works at the exhibit featured Homework, a concrete casting factory set up in a Liverpool backyard by Will Shannon and architecture collective and Turner Prize 2015 nominees Assemble, as well as Acts of Care: The Lost Letters of Liverpool by Linda Brothwell who carefully replaced missing letters in historical building signs in Liverpool using a new handcrafted alphabet which combined English and Polish Wycinanki designs.

Also set up within the overall FACT exhibit is FactLAB where those interested are able to act as technology pioneers themselves. Garnering interest regarding art, technology, and more, the team has set up exhibits and displays that show off not only the technology of 3D printing, but also filmmaking, computer coding, and more. Sponsored along with the Liverpool School of Art and Design at LJMU, the lab is meant to encourage those who visit to explore their creative side while speaking with artists and technicians onsite.

In a positive pilot program that supports both learning as well as creating, FACTLab is meant to be ongoing for three months as visitors enjoy meeting different artists, as well as attending informal workshops and events.


“There is an exciting world-wide movement where art institutions move from just showing art to act as hubs for affect, engagement, research and innovation with the public, artists, researchers and creative sectors,” said Dr Mark Wright, who holds a joint post with FACT and the Liverpool School of Art and Design in order to develop and deliver this workshop space.

“FACT and LJMU are recognised leaders in this field and FACTLab is our way of exploring this space. Although many other centres exist, we are unique in combining a permanent embedded senior researcher, world class artists, extensive community engagement and now, with FACTLab, in-house public-facing artist developers.”

One of the most exciting aspects of FACTLab is Hack Nights which will occur on Tuesday/Thursday evenings, and is a fantastic arena for everyone interested to learn about electronics, programming and creative technology.

“By having a public, practice-based, creative space, FACT can further act as a catalyst for creative communities and empower visitors who want to get more involved with processes of making, in addition to looking and reflecting. We see it as our duty to drive agendas of the creative and critical use of technology–it is no longer just about digital creations, but how technology affects almost everything we do and think,” said FACT’s Director Professor Mike Stubbs.

The vast FACT exhibit is a progressive and informative display set up at different points across the city as this dedicated team sets up not only displays and exhibits but also the FACTLab workshops and hackathons, as well as even sponsoring a summer school for kids. Curated by cultural program director Lauren Parker and creative communications company Thirteen ways, the team is able to put together a clear demonstration to show how traditional and futuristic processes can meld and offer great benefit to the world in many different areas, from aerospace and automotive to jewelry and art.

Have you seen the FACT exhibit? Is this something that interests you as it explores and highlights the ways traditional processes and new technology can be used together? Discuss in the FACT offers Build Your Own exhibit forum over at


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