Even if we do say so ourselves, our events at The Public over the summer have been rather a success!
The main metric here being how often we’ve been asked when we’ll be doing them again. In the case of the Maker Nights, some of our regulars decided that they didn’t want to wait and that they were going to keep the sessions running until the venue closes next month. (See John’s post asking for people to get involved with trying to make stuff happen after that.)
Until our conference-ish event Bees in a Tin due in the Spring, Many & Varied don’t have any more public events scheduled as part of this pilot programme. We know there are a lot of you out there wanting to keep the momentum going though, so we’ve built a forum to provide an online space for conversations to keep happening in.
You can find the forum at http://forum.manyandvaried.org.uk/
We’ve been trialling it over the last couple of months, but we’re sure there are further improvements that can be made once more people begin to use it and it starts to settle into whatever shape it will take. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
As well as the usual areas for talking about your projects and sharing stuff, there’s a calendar for events and workshops that you can add to, so hopefully you can find things to keep you occupied until M&V return with another programme of events!
The announcements section doubles as our mailing list, so if you want to receive emails regarding Important Things, then all you need to do is register for the forum and anything posted here will automatically be sent to your email address too.
So, handing it over to you now: sign up and get talking!
After the official maker nights completed their run, several attendees decided to continue meeting at The Public and have successfully negotiated further meeting dates until the venue doors finally close.
Home automation in development – here we have simple temperature and humidity logging.
The next meetings are Tuesday 15th October 2013, and Tuesday 29th October 2013. Please come along and visit.
The sessions are self-led and will vary according to who gets involved, so as usual the only requirement is that you’re someone who’d like to get involved! Skills are for sharing – those attending can probably guide you with learning a new skill, or suggesting how to get started on your own project.
Drop-in for whatever time works for you; you don’t have to be there for the whole of the session. Doors open 5pm – 9:30pm, it’s free, and we’re usually up on the 3rd floor in the Long Room (ask at reception if you can’t find us).
A part of the discussion will be whether the group can continue after the venue closes, and where we could meet in the future. If you are interested in keeping something like this going in Sandwell then please come along.
This page give extra information for the BANANAS! event a The Public in August 2013.
Things we used:
MaKey MaKey board
This is the little gadget that we used for the Banana Synth and the game controllers, it helps you make all sorts of different things into touchpad controllers.
Here is their website: http://www.makeymakey.com/
Here are links to some of the games we played with our MaKey MaKey controllers:
Training your Monkey
Here is a Monkey Language sheet for you to download and print.
The inspiration for this activity came from Dr Techniko.
Things you can try at home:
How to tattoo a banana
Step-by-step instructions for how to make cool designs on a banana.
5-minute ice cream
A fabulous way of making your own ice cream!
If you have more than 5 minutes and want to make some banana-based food, how about trying one of these BBC recipes?
This weekend we’re running a load of crazyfun activities themed around bananas and technology.
There’s lots to get ready: from giant fruit and projected video games through to mask templates and novelty synthesisers. But the plus side is that we have to test them all and come up with all the cool ideas (well the first layer, anyway – we’re sure you’ll add plenty more inventiveness on top of what we start off with!).
Here are some photos from our initial planning meeting:
It wasn’t long before other people in the office were coming over to see what was going on. Turns out Dave-from-Marketing’s got some latent musical talent, too!
We’ll be using MaKey MaKey for a couple of the activities and we’re anticipating them being, shall we say, quite energetic, so I’ve also started making an extension/fortification board to a) make things a bit more robust b) make it easier to access as many different inputs as possible and c) provide a way of connecting a variety of different leads.
MaKey MaKey robustified
Today I’ll be making some of the things that will get attached to it. The question is, what will people then attach to the other ends of the cables?! Come along on Saturday or Sunday to find out.
A quiet night last night – I think we were all feeling the effects of the muggy weather!
A mix of returners and new faces, but all aware that there are only 2 Maker Nights remaining as part of this series at The Public, talk turned again to what made the sessions valuable and what should happen after Many & Varied depart.
We covered a lot of other subjects too including: LibraryBoxes, being able to see Saturn (or not), Iridium flares, harmonographs and giving the rugby-types at school electric shocks.
A nice phrase that came up a few times was “being a bit crap”: the importance of having a space in which you can make the mistakes you learn from; a place where you don’t have to be perfect.
Pi-Lite shield for the Raspberry Pi
A Furby shell awaiting a new face.
For the next session (6th of August) there is talk of Big Red Buttons.
There’s also a general call out for people who may have experience of working with touchscreens – do you know how to programme them? We also have someone who’s interested in using either ethernet or wi-fi connected Arduino for home automation – if you have any experience with either of these and can feed into his thinking that would be great.
For the third Maker Night at The Public we had a nice mix of returners and new faces.
I remember looking up from the middle of a stint at trying to figure out some code and being very impressed at the range of activities going on around the table: drawing, mask-making, traffic control (a nice Arduino model of some traffic lights with a pedestrian crossing), illustration, morse code and aspirations for tai-chi tracking kinect sensors!
We’re starting to get some nice link-ups between people’s projects too: with inspiration and know-how flowing in different directions. Another recurring theme is how Maker Nights are proving to be a really nice ring-fenced space that people are using to get on with the creative activities that they normally don’t get around to.
We’re halfway through our run of Maker Nights as part of our stint at The Public. The next one is on Tuesday the 23rd of July, drop-in and join us any time between 5 and 9:30pm.
Just gathering a few bits of feedback from the day…
It all went swimmingly. Or at least as swimmingly as things can go without anything getting wet. Which was in itself an achievement, given the amount of indoor cycling.
I can now correctly identify the absence of birds from a field; various people now appreciate whole new linguistic dimensions to beer-spilling; my Macgyver-spec swiss army knife no longer bears the blunt (see what I did there) of two decades of impromptu wire stripping, while Macgyver himself saved the world from sulphuric acid and terible 80s shoes. I smoothed dead vegetables without the aid of abrasives; got improvisational with XLR cables; wished I’d brought an oscilloscope; introduced various people to the Dark Side; successfully picked some locks (one of which was a fiddly bastard); ate the correct number of poppadoms; received a hands-on practical demonstration of harmonic oscillation from a two-year-old; got oil on my head; somehow managed to acquire a Rasperry Pi and at no point fell out of a hammock.
Really, what’s not to like?
 Too many
Lots of interesting stuff going on, and a great space to invade for the day.
[...]we went to the Big Skills Share Jamboree, on Saturday, and it was great fun. Morgan was kept busy playing with the other two kids who were there, plus beanbags and squishy balls and giant lego, so Mom & Dad got to do some interesting things. Was nice to not just be teaching locks all day! I did an hour session and taught 7(?) women how to open a basic lock, and one lady opened all the way up to a 6 pin lock in short order!
9/10 – Would definitely recommend. Could have been easier to find the place, and the car parking, but that’s not Nikki’s fault – who puts up the road signs from the dual carriageway, then doesn’t put one up at either of the last 2 roundabouts?!
I really enjoyed it as well! I was too engrossed in my circuit bending to get involved with other stuff, but even then I had lots of fun and help from some great people!
and possibly my favourite from someone who missed out:
Holy shit thats amazing! …there’s loads of stuff I need to know in there, shame I’m busy all day tomorrow. Never even knew stuff like this existed