Situated squarely in the center of Spain is its capital and largest city, Madrid, home to roughly 3.2 million people and a rapidly growing Maker community. This upcoming weekend, Madrid will become the fifth (!!) city to host a Mini Maker Faire in Spain, with their inaugural event set to take place on Saturday, April 25, at Medialab-Prado. Let’s take a look at how the Maker scene has been coming together in this ancient and colorful country.
In 2013, on the east coast of Spain, Barcelona was the first Spanish city to host a Faire on June 29. Two weeks following, roughly 380 miles away on the west coast of Spain, Bilbao was the second Spanish city to host a Faire, on July 13 and 14. Both Faires are thriving and now in their third year.
Here’s a video glimpse of the 2014 Bilbao Mini Maker Faire:
In 2014, in the northwest of Spain, the city of León added its voice to the conversation by hosting the first León Mini Maker Faire, and the second annual will be held on September 12. In 2015, two more Spanish cities are hosting first-time Faires: Madrid and Santiago de Compostela (October 17). It’s always inspiring to see how each Faire is formed and grown, as they’re all a testament to the power of grassroots, community-powered efforts.
We chatted with Madrid Mini Maker Faire organizers César García and Sara Alvarellos (pictured below) to get their story.
What made them decide to organize a Faire? César recalls:
Sara and I began visiting makerspaces during our travels three years ago. Then we decided to launch a makerspace here in Madrid, called Makespace Madrid. Next, we started visiting other Maker Faires in Spain. We really enjoyed both Barcelona Faires, as well as Bilbao and León 2014. The blend of hi-tech and crafts makes them very special. We enjoyed discovering and connecting Makers across Spain to create astonishing projects. We participated as exhibitors at Maker Faire Rome in 2013, and the energy was amazing. We had a brief talk with Dale Dougherty and proposed to bring Maker Faire to Madrid.
The main impetuses for organizing the first-ever Maker Faire, which took place in San Mateo, California, in April of 2006, were to encourage networking among Makers who may not otherwise know each other, to give them a space to proudly show off what they make, and to share this enthusiasm and inspiration with the community at large. César notes that their motives were largely similar:
Even though there are lots of initiatives going on in Madrid, they are not very visible outside Maker circles, and communities are a bit dispersed. We wanted Maker Faire to serve as a catalyst, offering more visibility to Maker groups, getting them in touch with each other, and exposing the joy of tinkering to the general public.
What’s the current state of the Maker community in Madrid? César shares his perspective:
The Maker community in Spain is very new. There were other digital fabrication spaces like Fab Lab Barcelona or Sevilla, but these are more focused on academics and education. Two years ago, we made an open call to create Madrid’s first makerspace. The response was spectacular, and over a 70 people joined to launch it.
During the same year, three other spaces opened: FabLab Medialab-Prado, FabLab UPM, and FabLab Madrid CEU. All of these spaces are funded by parent institutions, namely Medialab-Prado, Polytechnic University of Madrid, and CEU San Pablo University. Makespace Madrid depends on its members to be sustainable and independent.
Originally we were going to open as FabLab Madrid, but decided not to do so. Instead, we created the Fablab Madrid Network, focusing on creating joint projects with other FabLabs in the city and around the world. So far, we’ve been working with Medialab-Prado and CEU to run workshops with Fab Lab Lima to replicate a traditional loom that can be reproduced using CNC machines!
What are the types of projects we can expect to see at the Madrid Mini Maker Faire? There will be 20 exhibitors and dozens of workshops and talks. Medialab-Prado, the venue for the event, will be giving tours of their FabLab facilities. Makespace Madrid will also be presenting their projects, highlighting several 3D printers custom-made during the last year.
Bleeps and Chips will be showing off their modular DIY synthesizers:
Architect María Camba will share her amazing piñatas, which are Mas Que Piñatas:
Diyouware will demonstrate their multitool PCB mini-factory called Twin Teeth:
Master origami artist Manuel Carrasco will be sharing his skills:
There will be a presentation during which a group of Clone Wars community members will talk about developing open-source 3D printers. They’re one of the largest 3D printing communities in the world and some of the most active RepRap.org contributors.
The Maker community in Madrid is looking forward to this weekend as much as we are. César says, “So far the response has been quite enthusiastic and we’ve been contacted by dozens of volunteers who would like to contribute to make this Faire a success. Everyone seems quite excited about having a Faire in their city!”