New workshop space to support ‘maker’ businesses and revive and share traditional skills
Maker space and workshop Make Liverpool has joined the burgeoning number of creative and cultural businesses moving into the city’s north docks. Describing itself as ‘a place to play, make and fix; bring an idea and take away your invention,’ the new space is open to members, residents and the public, and hosts a range of events and courses. It opens its doors this week with a series of events, with a workshop opening in September this year.
Make Liverpool continues to add to its facilities, working with partners including FabLab, Girl Geeks, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Community College’s fashion department, to provide a workshop and maker space that combines everything from woodwork and welding to 3-D printers, laser cutting and CNC milling. It also houses a photographic dark room and a textile and fashion space with industrial sewing machines, alongside ceramics and an up-cycling area.
Make. is the culmination of three years of research, planning and preparation from the team behind the Baltic Triangle’s Ninety Squared CIC. Directors Alex Kelly, Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly run creative space in Baltic’s Elevator Studios, creating a hub for small businesses and makers to grow and develop projects and ideas.
Director Kirsten Little says: ‘There are pockets of equipment and resources across the city, but they’re spread out, often hard to access and over-subscribed. We wanted to create something with a variety of equipment that is easy to access, so that we can support self-sufficient employment – everyone from mums who might want to sell the crafts they make on Etsy, to students staying in the city and starting businesses, or people who’ve traditionally worked in industry in the city, and want somewhere to continue to use those skills.’
Occupying 18,000 square feet of warehouse space on Regent Street, Make. is at the heart of the north docks, central to the city’s traditional engine room, where things have been made and fixed for hundreds of years. Carving out a reputation as the new destination for creatives and culture vultures, this area is also home to the Kazimier’s Invisible Wind Factory, the Lantern Company, Sound City festival and Titanic Hotel.
Co-director Alex Kelly says: ‘This space goes even further than Ninety Squared, the incubator we run in the Baltic Triangle. There’s a huge spectrum of people in the city who do different things, and need space to experiment. Make is somewhere where they can do what they want to do, whether it’s a hobby or a business, share skills and learn how to be commercial. It’s a space that will span backgrounds and age-groups.’
Liam Kelly, Make’s third director, adds: ‘In the future, 40% of all workers will be freelance. We see this as an asset for North Liverpool and the city in general. It will help us, as a city, export our products. It helps people get involved in the local economy and add their skills to it. Liverpool has always been a vibrant, creative city – Make Liverpool is a space to work, create and experiment.’
Make. is a place to share skills, make, fix and create; to learn and to teach; to try and tweak. It’s a place that combines high tech ideas with traditional crafts; experienced hands with new skills. It’s a place for workers, makers, students and tutors and a space for artist’s talks and creative events, small parties, launches, meetings and exhibitions.
Make Liverpool is supported by the Beautiful Ideas Company’s LaunchPad programme, which invests in social innovation projects in North Liverpool. For more information on LaunchPad, see http://thebeautifulideas.co/projects/#about.