Make:cast – The Last Place For a Makerspace

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Make:cast – The Last Place For a Makerspace

The George Mark Children’s House


The last place you might expect to find a makerspace is at The George Mark Children’s House, a pediatric palliative care facility in San Leandro, California. It is a place that cares for families who are going through the difficult end-of-life process for their child. I talk with Dr. Joan Fisher, the medical director, and Dr. Gokul Krishnan, a pioneer in the practice of maker therapy who just received a NSF grant to design and build a makerspace at the George Mark Children’s House.

Entrance for George Mark Children’s House

Dr. Joan Fisher is the medical director of the George Mark Children’s House, a pediatric palliative care home in San Leandro, California.
In this episode. I talk with Dr. Fisher and Dr. Gokul Krishnan who has pioneered maker therapy as a practice. Dr. Fisher met Gokul at Stanford, and she invited him to create a maker space that could be used by families and patients during their stay at the George Mark House.

In the fall of 2019, I visited the George Mark House. While Gokul was in the planning stages for the Makerspace. And he was getting some advice from Dr. Fisher and still seeking grant funding. Now, one year later in 2020, the National Science Foundation had awarded a grant of over $800,000 for Gokul and a team to design and build the makerspace at the George Mark Children’s House as well as at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, another Bay area hospital.

The George Mark House might be the last place you’d expect to find a maker-space. But I can’t think of a better place for one.

Link: Announcement of NSF Grant.


Dr. Joan Fisher, Medical Director of George Mark Children’s House; Kyle Amsler, Child Specialist;  Gokul Krishnan, pioneer of Maker Therapy.


Memory Tiles at George Mark Children’s House
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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty


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