Dublin Maker Festival puts Irish innovation on display
Dublin Maker – a volunteer-run festival that aims to highlight Ireland’s hidden inventive brilliance – returns for the tenth time in Merrion Square Dublin this Saturday, 23 July.
Running from 10am to 6pm, the free-to-attend event hosts educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, scientists, students, authors and commercial exhibitors of all ages and backgrounds.
While its central mission – to entertain, inform and connect the makers of Ireland, while inspiring the next generation of Ireland’s makers and inventors – remains, the team has made a greater effort to highlight professional opportunities for hobbyists this year.
Turning a hobby into a business
“We want to show our makers how to turn their hobby into a small business,” says Roe. “So we teamed up with Dublin City Council’s Local Enterprise Office to help our makers find the right path for them.
“We’ll be showcasing makers at various stages of this journey; from people who turned their hobby into a business four years ago, to someone who is only taking the first steps now. By doing this, we hope to inspire those of our makers who are interested in taking things to the next level to take that leap.”
Return to live event
After Dublin Maker was run virtually in 2021, Roe and the team were keen to return to a live format this year. “Being in-person is crucial. Our makers did a stellar job last year, but we noticed there was something of a digital divide. Unfortunately, it was mainly the tech-savvy that were able to wander around our little virtual world to interact with the event. Dublin Maker tends to be multi-generational, we always get a lot of families and grandparents at the event, so making it more accessible was important to us.”
The in-person format gives attendees a unique opportunity to speak to makers who have created everything from wooden sculptures to 3D-printed cosplay props, or hand-crafted coffee pod jewellery.
“I love to see the eclectic mix of makers together in one place. On one stand you might see someone who is showcasing the craftsmanship of traditional Aran knitting, then next to them you might have someone who is making AI-controlled robots race. It’s certainly not something you see everyday!”
The mix of makers may be eclectic, but one thing they all have in common is passion: “The passion that the people who come out to showcase at our event have is just incredible to see. It’s a great way for members of the public to be exposed to different sources of creativity and innovation.
“I’d encourage everyone to come along and really interact with all the event has to offer. We have plenty of interactive elements that will really enhance your experience so chat to people at their stands, get involved with the knitting, play with the robots, try some new things.”
In a further bid to inspire visitors, Roe and the team want people to be able to see the full creative journey, not just the end result. “Lots of our makers will bring along the finished product and have 10 failed prototypes beside it on the table. Others will highlight all the research that went into their build. These projects don’t come out finished. We want people to see the journey behind every beautiful piece of art.”
Visitors have also been encouraged to bring any broken items they might have to the TOG Hackerspace Repair Café. “Maybe you have a broken blender sitting at home that you used to love making smoothies on, or a special piece of clothing that you ripped. Bring it along on Saturday and our team of volunteers will be happy to help you on your repair journey.”
Dublin Maker is supported by funding from Science Foundation Ireland, Dublin City Council and the ESB. More details can be found on www.dublinmaker.ie