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What is a Makerspace?

In basic terms, a "makerspace" is a space where people who have similar interests can work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge. Spark Makerspace is a perfect example of this definition as we provide various work stations for collaborators in all fields from 3D Printing to printmaking, to come together in a shared space.

However, Spark is part of a greater movement. The Maker Movement, which combines DIY and education principles, has been kicking up a storm in the education world in the past years. In The Maker Movement Manifesto by Mark Hatch, he explains the basic principles which makerspaces must live by. Stated in simple terms, these principles include to make, share, give, learn, play, participate, support, and change. Hatch states in the first chapter of the manifesto that "Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls." That being said, a makerspace is more than just a space to create, but rather a mindset. Thus, Spark works to foster a welcoming community with an environment which spurs creative thought.

Makerspaces can take on all shapes and sizes; some exist in schools, libraries, or community centers and provide various technical equipment for makers to utilize. Some makerspaces are called a Fablab, Techshop, or hackerspace. However, at the core each and every makerspace is a place for collaboration and creation. That being said, Spark is not the only makerspace out there!

In fact, the biggest makerspace in Connecticut, MakerspaceCT, opened in Hartford on April 13, 2019. Similar to Spark, MakerspaceCT's mission is to "positively impact lives by enabling access, innovation, and educatio," according to their website. In addition, NESIT Makerspace is another CT non-profit organization which promotes a collaborative environment for people to come together and build things.

Connecticut is not the only home to makerspaces in the United States or other countries around the world. California has the most makerspaces. However, some of the most interesting makerspaces are actually located on the east coast; take for example, Spark Makerspace right here in New London!

-Elizabeth Berry

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