Brighton Mini Maker Faire Speakers Announced

Maker Faire is a brilliant opportunity to meet creative, resourceful and skilled people. This year we decided to run a series of talks by makers who will tell us about their creative process. How do they deal with problems? Where do they get their ideas from? How do they think through making? Whether you’re a veteran maker yourself, or just curious about how other people think you’re bound to be inspired.

Sharing their experiences and approaches with you will be:

Maxine - Makie made real on 5th June 2012

Maxine - Makie made real on 5th June 2012

Alice Taylor founded Makielab in March 2011 after 3 years commissioning games, apps and web TV shows for Channel 4. Alice loves games, has all the consoles, loves toys, nearly has all the toys.ALL THE TOYS. She has a four-year-old daughter who demands Space Pirate Boy Dolls (which is partially how MakieLab came about…).

Matt Webb is CEO at BERG, and co-founded the studio in 2005. BERG designs products for the near future. Mag+, the magazine concept with Bonnier AB, went on to become the first digital magazine platform on the iPad. Little Printer, the delightful Web-connected printer, creates miniature personalised newspapers, and is the first of BERG’s family of smart products for the home. In 2012, Fast Company included BERG in its annual list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Matt is co-author of the book Mind Hacks (O’Reilly, 2004), a popular collection of explorations into the workings of the brain, and is a regular speaker on the inspirational role of design and technology in culture. He lives in London.

Leila Johnston recently completed a technology residency for the Happenstance Project at Sheffield’s Site Gallery. Before this, she worked full-time as a writer/inventor for a creative studio in London. She’s also a published author, comedy writer, journalist, speaker, event host, newspaper and magazine editor, and podcaster. She is the new Managing Editor of The Literary Platform and in her spare time is co-writing a mythological interspecies prison romance musical: “Minotaur!”

Code Club is a nation-wide network of after-school coding clubs form children aged 9-11. It has launched in April 2012 and has over 130 clubs starting in September this year. Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik be talking about how Code Club got started, the problems, fixes and flukes along the way and where they’re headed in the future.

Tom Armitage is a technologist, designer and writer; he makes things out of code, words, and the network. He will be talking about making things you don’t know how to make: “It turns out, of most of the things I’ve made, I didn’t know how to make when I started them, and I never thought I should be able to make them. When I finished them, neither of those statements were true.”

Students from Cavendish School will be talking about designing, developing and testing complex games. They have managed the projects themselves, receiving teaching on speciality software (delivered in some cases by peers) and project documentation. They will be joined by their teacher Donna Comerford.

Students from Dorothy Stringer school will talk about their adventures in coding and about taking part in hackdays, together with their teacher Genevieve Smith-Nunes.

Join us for an afternoon of great insights, followed by a short Q&A chaired by Matt Locke.

Speaking sessions will start at 3pm. Arrive in plenty of time to get a seat, as places are available on a first-come-first-served basis.


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After Dark: The Brighton Mini Maker Faire After Party

We just can’t get enough maker-action around here. After the Brighton Mini Maker Faire finished up last year, the makers and team headed down to the pub to unwind after a hectic day of crafting and tinkering, to have a chat with fellow makers and enjoy a barn-storming evening of live performances at Play! The Brighton Mini Maker Faire After Party

Thomas Truax at last year's after party

Following last year’s sell-out show, this year the after party for the Brighton Mini Maker Faire is back with more maker-musicians, electro-tinged DJs, digital sound artists and all manner of interactive installations, electronic gizmos and shiny, noisy, whizzy and whirring things at The Brighton Mini Maker Faire: After Dark.

And this year, the party’s going to be much bigger, so that you the public can attend, too. It’s happening in the Brighton Dome Foyer Bar (the same venue as the Maker Faire itself), and will feature performances from a host of fabulous maker-musicians.

Kicking off with a performance by Ben Newland and his Nomadic Sound System – a family of portable speakers designed to explore new ways for sound to interact with people and space, our other special guests include: Matt Josling, who’ll be performing some vintage techno on his Monophonic Midi Machine; London Music Hackspace, who’re keeping details of their anarchic show closely under wraps; Henry Holmes, whose Dreamscape 1994 show blends analogue ambience with digital visuals influenced by DOS graphics and the early years of CGI; and 55th Flotilla, bringing their trademark nautical techno… plus a new performance involving musical pillows.

If that isn’t enough, we’ve also got a bunch of interactive exhibits for you to get your hands on. You can try out a game of 1D Pong (not sure how Pong can be played in one dimension? Come along and find out!), and we’ve even managed to get our grubby paws on some super-special advance Makey Makey kits, which turn any conductible device into a computer controller. We’re still thinking up some awesome things we can do with them, but rest assured it will probably involve bananas.

Plus, David Cranmer, aka Nervous Squirrel, will be bringing along some of his fabulous animal-themed musical contraptions, and we’ll be screening short films by digital video artists throughout the night. Phew!

We’ve got plenty more performers and installations to add to the bill in the run-up to the Brighton Mini Maker Faire – keep an eye on the Party! page for more announcements as they come in.

Oh, and did I mention entry is free for all Brighton Mini Maker Faire exhibitors and volunteers?

See you there!

Venue and tickets info

Saturday 8th September 2012
8pm – Midnight
Brighton Dome Foyer Bar
Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UG
Tickets (£4 advance) Available from:

NOTE: This event is free to Maker Faire exhibitors and volunteers. Your Maker Faire lanyrd will grant you free entry to the after party.

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Learning through Making – The Education Angle at this Year’s Brighton Maker Faire

Last year’s Brighton Mini Maker Faire saw over 5,000 people coming though the doors of the Brighton Dome, and it’s clear that most of those visitors learned a lot from the event.  That set us thinking. With this concentration of amazing craft and technology creativity, a Maker Faire like this is clearly a brilliant educational resource, so this year we’re working really hard to let all our visitors, young and old, get the most from the learning oportunities on offer.


You may have already seen that the Science Museum is running workshops at the event, giving hands on science experiences to ‘kids of all ages’ as the saying goes.  But we are also working on hands-on software development workshops, with support from some of the most innovative teachers from schools in the Sussex area, and you’ll soon be able to sign up to learn how to begin to develop software.

We’ll be opening up more of the workshops for advance booking over the next two weeks.

Hands-on Software

Around the show floor there are hands-on demonstrations of computer programming, web development and robotics from the great people at Code Club, Brighton Raspberry Pi, and Mozilla Web Makers.  As a fun way to engage with the art and science of computer programming, we hope the Maker Faire will spark the creative passion of a fair few young coders for the first time (and maybe rekindle a few older code monkeys’ passions).

These sessions will be open to all comers on a first come first served basis.

Hands-on Hardware

No Maker Faire is complete without the opportunity to try your hand at soldering for the first time.  This year Build Brighton will once again be warming up the soldering irons, and flexing the flux for a marathon session of teaching visitors the wonders of soldering.  This safe and fascinating experience will open up the work of electronics tweaking and mending and making to anyone who can make it along to this perennially popular activity.

Dads and kids join in the soldering workshop at the Orlando Maker Faire

Dads and kids join in the soldering workshop at the Orlando Maker Faire

Educational Interpreters

For the first time at a Maker Faire, we are putting out a call for ‘Interpreters’- educators and science communicators who can support the Makers at the show and help the visitors really get to grips with the potentially complex and in depth principles that make Makes work.  We have noted that some Makers have a fantastic ability to engage with anyone that comes to take a look at their work, but that this is a skill that can take years to develop, and that some people find easier than others.  To help ‘boot strap’ the engagement for all our visitors the Faire will have a liberal sprinkling of educators, teachers and like who will be briefed on the Makes and will be focussed on making sure everyone really get their heads around the technologies, science and crafts at the Faire.

If you’d like to be one of our Interpreters, go to our ‘Volunteers’ page to sign up for this fascinating role (or indeed to volunteer as a general helper) – and like all our volunteer helpers you’ll get free access to the fabulous Maker Faire after party.

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One Month to Go Until Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012

I couldn’t let the date pass without sharing a little squeal of excitement as we mark the ‘one month to go’ point for this year’s Brighton Mini Maker Faire. As I write this, arrangements are busily being made for the Maker Faire on 8th September. There is decor to be made, floor plans to draw up, workshops to organise and posters to be printed, to name but a few items from our collective To Do list!

As there is only a month to go, we do need your help in spreading the word. So please pass on the details to your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, Lanyrd and any other way you can think of.

We also need physical helpers at the actual event, so if you can pitch in with set up, maker support, or as part of our educational programme, head over to the Volunteer page to sign up.

If you’re still unsure what a Maker Faire is, take a look at this short film from the recent Manchester Mini Maker Faire, which shows you the type of thing to expect.

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Get Hands-On: Workshops at Brighton Mini Maker Faire

We love getting hands-on at Maker Faire. Whether it’s with a soldering iron or knitting needle, scissors and glue or conductive paint, it’s great to play with technology and make something you can take home with you.

This year, we have even more opportunities to you to get making, from drop-in sessions where you can make something simple in 5 minutes, to full workshops where you can learn a new skill from the experts and make a cool project to take home.

We’re especially pleased to announce two exciting additions to the bill.

The Science Museum is bringing its roadshow down from London to take over part of the Dome Bar for the day. There’ll be two different workshops for kids aged 7-11 and 14-16. Brighton Mini Maker Faire is your only opportunity to take part in one of their workshops in Brighton. You can see them in action here.  Prepare to be surprised and amazed!

And Technology Will Save Us (the ‘haberdashery for technology and education’) is also coming down from the capital. Famous for running electronics workshops the world over, from Rough Trade in Brick Lane, to Milan and Budapest, this is a once only opportunity to take one of the TWSU workshops for free (just paying for the kit that you make).

These workshops are all free, but places are limited, so please sign up here.

We’ve also got a huge range of drop-in workshops so you can just turn up on the day and try your hand at making mosaics, etching copper jewellery, making silk flowers, felting and of course soldering. Make sure you arrive early to enjoy them all!

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Announcing the Lineup for Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012

Drumroll please… After an intense few weeks of reviewing applications and contacting makers, the time has finally come for us to reveal our lineup for Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012 (Sat 8th September 2012).

If you came along last year you will know that we managed to cram an awful lot of awesome makery into a fairly compact space. This time we will be taking over the entire Corn Exchange as well as the Dome Foyer again, and we have an even more impressive selection of mind-blowing makers to delight you with their creations.

We’re happy to say that thanks to our generous sponsors and Arts Council funding, we are able to keep it a free event. Maker Faires are very much a family friendly day out, and there are going to be loads of hands-on activities for all ages. As well as interactive stalls that people can visit and get involved with, there will be organised workshops, talks and activities throughout the day. With our focus on collaboration, we hope to see everyone pitching in to some epic makes on a grand scale. More on that later.

You can explore the full list of makers here on the 2012 Maker page, or read on for some highlights…



Technology & electronics is a big part of Maker Faire culture, and this year’s Brighton Maker Faire tech seems to have a rather playful theme running through it, with makes like Giant Operation (the classic childhood game, with a life size robot mannequin), Mini Robot Wars (tiny battling robots that visitors can have a go at controlling) and Scalexercise (a Scalextric set controlled by the power of exercise).

In the Engineering zone you’ll be able to help create a Heath Robinson style Incredible Machine, witness a 3-D Print-off that will recreate a statue of Alan Turing and try your hand at assembling and flying Quadcopters.

Those of a musical persuasion will be sure to enjoy the world’s only spoon based synthesiser, SpoonDuino, a robotic arm that plays the glockenspiel and the interactive Nomadic Sound System.

There’ll also be plenty of interactive arts & crafts, including a Pop-up Card Workshop, Etch-a-Sketch on Copper and the chance to design and make your own Needlefelted Superheroes!


Kids making mosaics

Last year we loved watching some of our younger visitors learning to code on the museum of computing’s BBC Micros, and are chuffed to have some amazing local educators and the Brighton Pi Group coming along this time to run kids’ coding workshops. Also part of our educational programme are workshops from the Science Museum, including hot air balloon making. You can book onto these in advance here on the workshops page.

We are of course biased, but this year’s Brighton Mini Maker Faire is really not to be missed. Make sure you get the date in your diary and sign up to the Facebook event at: or via Lanyrd at:

We’d love it if you’d share this post with your friends via Twitter, too, using @MakerFaireBTN and the #bmmf hashtag.

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Call to Makers Applications Closed – So Much Awesome!

Our ‘Call to Makers’ application process has now closed, and we’re extremely happy to say that we’ve received an amazing array of proposals from all kinds of makers. We’re really impressed at the sheer range of skills and ideas that have been put forward, and are excited about the prospect of going through them all in more detail and getting to know our 2012 makers.

We’re now in the process of working out just how we can best showcase everything in our beautiful venue of the Brighton Dome and Corn Exchange. Once we get a better handle on just how much space the current applications will need, and what we’ll have we have remaining, we may open up a second round of applications soon.

If you have an amazing idea for a project and missed our deadline, please feel free to get in touch with us via [email protected]. We’re also still interested in hearing from theatrical types who would like to help liven up the event with some homemade costumery and live performance – like these crazy characters from San Mateo Maker Faire:

Photo by DoNotLick on Flickr

Photo by Orin Zebest on Flickr

Thanks a million to all that applied, we’ll be in touch soon to discuss details.

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Maker Faires of the World Unite!

With less than a week to go until we close the call for makers and start sifting through all the amazing applications that have come through, we thought it was worth taking afew minutes to take a look at what our global brethren have been up to.

Brighton Maker Faire is one of many events globally to inspire makers to get together and show off what they can do.

So when you come to Brighton you are one of tens of thousands globally this year alone!

So, what’s been happening?

Well, over in Illinois you could go along and play music on the Tubulum which helped the event be a massive hit back in April.

To see more why not have a look at

How about clowns with mousetrap (a cool combination!) over at Maker Faire Seoul?

Of course if your Korean is decent then feel free to take a look at what they got up to over at


Do you make in a land Down Under?

Looks like they had a great time in Melbourne and there is plenty more over at

And let’s not forget those who are closer to home. Derby had its first Mini Maker Faire this year and it sounds like an amazing success.

See what they got up to over at

And this is from the daddy of them all, the Bay Area Maker Faire that started the entire movement. Have a look at some recent highlights (and giant robot dinosaurs):

Join Brighton Mini Maker Faire as a Maker

If all this Maker Faire action has inspired you and you’re now itching to get your makes out in front of the world, there is still time to register to be one of our Makers at Brighton Mini Maker Faire on 8th September 2012 (Register at: up to the 20th June).

We look forward to seeing the rest of you in September! Sign up to the Facebook event to stay tuned for event updates:


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Guest Post from Emily Wright, 2011 Maker

Quite a few people have said to me that they thought Maker Faire was all about technological inventions and digital geekery, but if you were at Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2011, you would have seen that we also had a massive amount of traditional crafts, including sewing, knitting, crocheting, felting, mosaics, woodworking and more. This year, with a much bigger space, we hope to be able to add to that list, and are currently on the hunt for makers of all types from across Sussex and beyond. If you’re interested in applying and are wondering what’s involved, here’s a guest post from one of our needlecrafters, Emily Wright, whose Kanzashi workshop went down a storm with adults and kids of all ages.


Emily Wright said:

“I did the Mini Maker Faire last year, teaching a kanzashi making workshop. If you don’t know what kanzashi are, you can see the ones that I make and sell in my online shop here:

The event was incredible fun…I have never manned such a busy stall, talked to so many people or got so much positive feedback about what I was doing. At one point the craft area was so full of people that I couldn’t get all the way around my table to help people sitting on the other side! This year the organisers have massively expanded the space it will be held in so that it will use, not only the Dome Foyer (as before,) but the Corn Exchange as well…

For me the event was a huge success – I still get people coming up to me now saying they know what kanzashi are as a friend of a friend was raving about making them at BMMF, I made several sales of my own kanzashi and taught…ooooh I’m going to say hundreds of people how to make them themselves! I met some fantastic people during the day and was really impressed with the quality of what they made! Lots of people who came to the event blogged about me and my kanzashi afterwards, and I still regularly get hits from the BMMF website where I have a profile…” Read the whole post over on Emily’s blog


Do you have an interactive craft, or something cool you’ve made that other people might like to see, that you could bring to Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012? Tell us all about it here on the maker application page: You’ve got until 20th June to apply!

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Guest Post from Malcolm Napier, 2011 Maker

Brighton Mini Maker Faire is about all kinds of makes and makers. Last week we heard from Jay Kendall about her experience of running a felting workshop at the 2011 event; now here’s a guest post from someone whose creations are very different. Malcolm Napier brought along his 3d RepRap printer in 2011, and shares some thoughts here about how the day went for him. If you’re a maker too and are inspired by Malcolm’s experiences, you can sign up for this year’s event here. Applications close on 20th June.

What made you want to do Brighton Maker Faire?

We signed up as exhibitors at BMMF because we wanted to show people how cool ultra low cost additive manufacturing (the posh name for our RepRap 3d printer) really is. At that time we were a father and daughter maker team. It was only our third public demonstration and we were wondering where 3d printing might take us.

How did it go?

We must have got something right, because we were so busy that we didn’t get a chance to look at any other exhibits. Indeed we relied on the BMMF support staff bringing us water as we didn’t have time to leave the stand. We had to co-opt some friends as extra demonstrators.

What the best thing was about the day?

There were loads of great things about last year’s BMMF:

1) Hooking up with Daniel and Cameron from Moving Brands and their Hand:Made project. We printed out some of the things that people designed using Hand:Drawn for them to take away. We were so busy that we hardly had time to speak to Daniel and Cameron – even though we were on adjacent stands. When we finally get round to meeting up with them for a catch up, we ended up working with them to do some 3d printing of chocolate. See and for what transpired (all because of BMMF).

2) Having so many people so interested in what we were up to. Not having a break from 08:15 to 17:00 because it seemed that everyone in the building wanted to know about our 3d printers

3) The kids on the street outside when we were heading off. When we packed up I went off to get the car and Hannah stood outside the Dome with our printers on the pavement. A family walked past and one of the youngsters said “Daddy. Look! There’s a 3d printer. They are really cool. You can make all sorts of stuff with them.” Result!

4) Making new friends  – Glen Searle, Mike Pountney, Simon and the guys from Moving Brands to name but a few – and meeting old ones – particularly MiketheBee (who came to say hello and ended up manning the stand with us because we were so busy) and Ryan (who became sufficiently inspired to found the Reading Hackpsace)

Why should other makers apply for Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012?

All makers should think seriously about going to BMMF this year. It is the best opportunity in the South East to meet up loads of like-minded people, the vast majority of whom will be very interested in what you are making.

You can find out more about Malcolm’s making at:

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