Last summer, after our Maker Faire in the Bay Area, I had a couple of speaking engagements in the Detroit area. One was at a Go Tech meeting in Ann Arbor, at the A2 MechShop. I had many people asking about a Maker Faire in Detroit and insisting that it would mean a lot to a region that was going through hard times. On the same trip, I met with curators at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn and they too were interested in seeing a Maker Faire happen. Walking through the museum, I saw not just the creations of American makers, but the workshops of people like Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers, not to mention Henry Ford. I couldn’t help but think what inspiration today’s makers would find in the 100-year old legacy of the Model T, along with so many other important examples of how technology has changed our lives.
I’m happy to announce today that we have partnered with The Henry Ford Museum to create a Maker Faire in 2010 in the Detroit area. The dates will be July 31-August 1, 2010.
I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to showcase the technical and creative talent of the region, which was once the most productive city in America. Detroit needs to retool and rethink its opportunities, and quite frankly, I find this an exciting opportunity to be part of. If the manufacturing skills and design prowess of Detroit can be married to the tools for communication and expression that the Internet provides, something big will come of it. Already today, you can see the seeds growing. There’s the emergence of hackerspaces like I3 Detroit and All Hands Active, co-working spaces like A2 MechShop and the Tech Brewery, and a thriving craft scene around Handmade Detroit. Add to that initiatives such as the tech incubator known as TechTown at Wayne State University and the excellent higher education system in Michigan.
We have come up with a tagline for Maker Faire Detroit — From Motor City to Maker City. (Thanks, Diana). We hope as part of this process of organizing Maker Faire to create a Maker City that is a year-round guide to the amazing resources and talents to be found in this region. In short, stay tuned for more.
To keep track of developments for Maker Faire Detroit, check out makerfaire.com. You can send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our mailing list and to receive notices about our Call for Makers and other event details. Please let me know if you have suggestions and ideas for Maker Faire Detroit (dale at oreilly dot com). We’ll need lots of help and support but I’m sure that makers across the Midwest will participate and we’ll be able to create an amazing event.
Whether you live in Detroit or not, Detroit’s problems are our problems and Detroit’s opportunities are ours as well.
Update: The Call for Makers is now open for the 1st Annual Maker Faire Detroit 2010! We are now accepting entries for Maker Faire Detroit, July 31st and August 1st, 2010 at the Henry Ford.