The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Feb 01, 2016

Maker mindset empowers us to create more value with less resources

Posted by Ric Herrero

Above: Miami Mini Maker Faire 2013 by Michael D. Bolden on Flickr.

Ric Herrero is co-founder of MIAMade, organizer of the Miami Mini Maker Faire. A previous supporter of MIAMade, Knight Foundation is expanding its support with $250,000 in new funding.

The resourcefulness, creativity and emphasis on learning that has come to define the maker movement are being increasingly applied to tackle social, economic and environmental challenges facing communities around the world.

Makers take a hands-on approach to deliver social and economic value using fewer natural resources and doing so in increasingly affordable ways. Whether harnessing modern-day tools such as open source collaboration, digital fabrication, financial tech, and microcontrollers or combining them with traditional craftsmanship and tried-and-true design and engineering practices, these do-it-yourself innovators see technology as a means to an end—and that end is to create a more inclusive and sustainable world.

MIAMade seeks to drive deeper engagement by South Floridians into the maker movement and related fields by providing a platform to learn and co-create in socially impactful and sustainable ways. Our programming for 2016 takes a normative approach to reaching individuals of all ages and interests through a series of interconnected events and educational programs.

Thanks to the support of Knight Foundation, it all begins with the third Miami Mini Maker Faire, which expands into a two-day festival and concert on Feb. 20-21 at the National YoungArts Foundation campus. The 2016 Faire will take the first step in positioning the Miami Mini Maker Faire as a showcase for makers and do-it-yourself innovators from around the Americas, by inviting exhibitors from Cuba and other parts of Latin America to share their creations with local audiences. It will also feature a free concert by two music makers who embody the maker spirit, Cuban singer and multi-instrumentalist X Alfonso and Miami’s own Afrobeta. Alfonso is the founder of the Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, a mixed arts and performance space that is a world-class model of collective ingenuity. Several of the artisans currently exhibiting in it are scheduled to share their creations at our Maker Faire.

Miami Mini Maker Faire 2013. Photo by Michael D. Bolden on Flickr.

The Maker Faire is just one element of our work. This summer, Wynwood Maker Camp will return for its third straight year of jam-packed sessions that introduce local elementary, junior and high school students to hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), sustainable design and creative problem-solving. In the fall, we will host our second annual Miami Make Week design and prototype competition and celebration of local makerspaces. We will cap it all off with a summit consisting of a series of talks, workshops exhibits, and networking events that will connect our community to trailblazing makers and entrepreneurs from around the globe who are rethinking our systems and institutions and innovating sustainable ways to work, learn, produce and consume. Throughout the year, we will also hold smaller monthly Maker Workshops to introduce the work and practices of regional and international makers to students, local entrepreneurs and corporate audiences.

To accomplish these initiatives, MIAMade will scale up its operations this year to study how DIY innovators around the globe are advancing sustainable development goals—and share their work and insights with the South Florida community and across the Americas. By engaging a wide variety of current and aspiring makers, MIAMade will cultivate a community of people who innovate for the greater good and sustain it through our inclusive year-round programming and complementary Web presence.

For more information about the Miami Mini Maker Faire, visit  Follow Ric Herrero on Twitter @ric23. Follow MIAMade @MIA_Made.

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