Biking Across Europe to Document the Maker Movement

Biking Across Europe to Document the Maker Movement

Editor’s note: Madison Worthy and Miriam Engle are biking across Europe, visiting different Makerspaces, and filming Self-Made, a documentary about their adventure and the Makers they meet. You can find the other parts to this series at the end of this article.

Miriam Engle and Madison Worthy in Copenhagen with refurbished bicycles.
Miriam Engle and Madison Worthy in Copenhagen with refurbished bicycles.

3,000 kilometers, six countries, two women on bikes, and one bright yellow Pelican case containing camera gear. We are Madison Worthy and Miriam Engle, and we’re biking from Copenhagen to Barcelona during the summer of 2015 to film a documentary about the European Maker Movement. Our documentary is titled Self-­Made, the story of creative communities.

Over the course of the next three and a half months, we will bike across Europe, making major stops in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and many more along the way. We started working on this project last fall, immersing ourselves in the local Maker community of our home state of Colorado. In January we relocated to Europe to continue our research. While Madison focused on Scandinavia, attending World Arduino Day in Malmø, Miriam investigated Italy’s booming movement and worked north through Austria and Germany. We met up in Berlin two weeks ago.

The learning curve for both of us has been steep, as exhilarating as a roller coaster plunge. This time last year we had never heard of the Maker Movement, had no idea of the subtle effect this international body of intelligent minds was having on creation. Now, we live to be amazed.

World Arduino Day 2015, Malmø, Sweden: An Arduino hardware glove controls the Crazyflie quadcopter.
World Arduino Day 2015, Malmø, Sweden: An Arduino hardware glove controls the Crazyflie quadcopter.

We have organized stops along our route at many Fab Labs, but our tour is far from set in stone. Local interest will determine quite a lot. Do you work and play at a maker-­ or hackerspace along our bike route from Copenhagen to Barcelona? Do you know of a cool community refurbishment agenda? Do you have an open source project that could change daily life as we know it? We want to collaborate!

This crazy diverse community consists of artists, engineers, designers, tinkerers, and inventors who are transforming the way we interact with our objects and the space we exist in. There’s limitless creativity blossoming due to this movement. Ordinary people are experimenting with extraordinary projects. It’s thrilling, it’s radical, it’s positive.

The principle pylons of Self­-Made spell the acronym STEW: Sustainability, Technology, Education, and Women. We want to discover how the Maker Movement is encouraging more urban and industrial sustainability practices, the implications of the exponential growth curve of technology, how Fab Labs are encouraging people to master twenty­-first century skills, and the role the growing demographic of women will have on highly technical fields.

Kids build their own speakers and one-­string guitars at Fab Lab Nordvest in “hacker school,” a classroom elective at schools in Copenhagen.
Kids build their own speakers and one-­string guitars at Fab Lab Nordvest in “hacker school,” a classroom elective at schools in Copenhagen.

We live in a drastically changing world, and we want to capture this moment, this summer of 2015, on film. Self­-Made rings prophetic. We want you to be a part of it. Share your story with us.

Here’s some simple math, brought to you by Miriam, the word nerd:

Madness + Adulthood = Madulthood.

This is an anthem to describe the epoch we live in, the joyous insanity of life in the twenty­-first century.

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Miriam Engle

Miriam Engle is a professional nomad and the writer for our filmmaking adventure. Since graduating from The College of William & Mary in 2011, she has lived and worked across five continents.

View more articles by Miriam Engle

Madison Worthy is the director behind Self-Made, the story of creative communities. She graduated from New York University in 2011 and is now on ​a mission to merge her artistic and scientific sensibilities.

View more articles by Madison Worthy