Eighty-five miles north of the equator in Southeast Asia lies the island country of Singapore, home to five and a half million people, a handful of Makerspaces, and a growing Maker community. In 2012, Science Centre Singapore hosted the first Singapore Mini Maker Faire, which featured 20 maker exhibits and attracted 1,000 attendees.
As co-organizers of the annual Singapore Science Festival, which traditionally features science projects rooted in academia, Science Centre Singapore wanted to showcase the local community’s STEAM projects made in home labs and Makerspaces. This year, in collaboration with A*STAR and iDA Singapore, they’ve grown their Faire from a Mini to a featured event. Maker Faire Singapore, taking place July 11 and 12 at Science Centre Singapore, will feature 250 Maker exhibits, and 10,000 visitors are expected.
Maker Faire organizer and Science Centre Singapore’s senior manager of education services and outreach Dr. Kiruthika Ramanathan reflects on the growth:
This is something truly remarkable, that the community has grown more than ten times in the last four years. The Maker Faire was a spark that set off an avalanche in Singapore. While hackerspaces and interest groups were operating in silos, the first Faire in 2012 brought the community together. For the first time, people were aware of others like them. Over the last three years, this has spawned a large number of Maker initiatives across the country, including regular meetups, Makerthons, the opening of three Makerspaces just last year, and many schools subscribing to the movement. More partners and sponsors have also come onboard for Makers Faire 2015 to help us reach out to a wider audience.
Growing the event to a full-scale, featured Faire this year just seemed to make sense. As Dr. Ramanathan notes:
This is Singapore’s 50th year of independence. Given how fast the Maker community has been growing, this seemed like a milestone year to upgrade. To mark the growth of this festival, we are organizing focused forums for the first time in Maker Faire Singapore’s history. The forums explore the role of making in business, education, and social change and aim to impress upon the different ways in which the Maker Movement empowers Makers.
This year, the organizers have collaborated with 15 local families to launch the book Busy Hands, Happy Hearts – Stories of Families who Make and Tinker Together. We’re also bringing in the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures [started by Michael Faraday in 1825] as part of the Singapore Science Festival 2015. This year’s theme is “Sparks Will Fly: How to Hack Your Home” by Professor Danielle George, which has a lot to do with the Maker Movement.
Among the 250 Maker exhibits for this year’s Maker Faire Singapore, there’s sure to be something for everyone. In particular, they’ve planned a solid lineup of workshops and exhibits geared at young Makers and educators. Here are just a few:
Build your own micro-bot and design your own LED fashion! For children 4–10 years old and their parents/grandparents. Participants will imagine and create fun micro-bots and jewelry integrating pipe cleaners, LED lights, and motors. Register today!
Learning Through Hydraulics
Water-powered machines have been in use since early civilization. The Greeks and Romans used hydraulics for aqueducts, mills, and even in mining. In this workshop, participants will pick and build one simple hydraulic machine of their choice and learn how to design, build (cutting, riveting, drilling), and control their machine. Safety glasses will be provided. Register here.
Paper Quilling Jewelry Workshop
Paper quilling is the art of coiling strips of paper to create works of art. This workshop will cover the basics of this intricate craft and all participants will create and take home a beautiful and intricate pendant, pair of earrings, and/or accessory. Register here.
Have you seen what kids (and adults) invent with the Strawbees 3D prototyping tool? The folks at Strawbees have seen two-meter-high marble runs, cardboard airplanes, dragons, umbrellas, three-meter-high Optimus Primes, pinball games, boomerangs, frogs, birds, airplanes, flying kites, bridges, and four-meter-high towers. Find more info.
Making in Education Forum
A series of forums aims to bring the Maker mindset into the mainstream in Singapore. A stellar list of speakers will be discussing the wonderful work they’re doing in the fields of education, business, and social change. Maker Media’s founder Dale Dougherty will be there! Check out the full schedule.
For more information and to check out the full list of Makers, workshops, and speakers, head to the Maker Faire Singapore site. And for a glimpse at the faces and projects of years past, enjoy this slideshow. Best of luck, Singapore!