Makefest Memories 6 – Jen Fenner

Hello again and welcome back one and all. We’ve got more MakeFest Memories for you and this time they come from Jen Fenner, top organiser, educator, graphic designer and all round superstar at Def-Proc Engineering. So without further ado let’s get to it!

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I’m Jen Fenner one of the Lead Organisers for 2017 and 2018 alongside Mark Sabino. I’ve been involved since 2015 and have grown to really love this festival, I would like to share some thoughts and memories of the last 3 years and give as many people as I can a shout out for their help so far this year.

Mark and Jen stood in front of a MakeFest 2017 banner outside the event
Event organisers Mark & Jen outside Liverpool MakeFest 2017

I would like to introduce my top 5 Liverpool MakeFest Memories! (They don’t include Pizza!)

Top 5

1. Engagement

The most awesome thing I saw while on the ground floor was a group of teenage boys going around the Women In Tech stands in the library atrium. They engaged with everyone and were really interested and excited by what was on offer. They really enjoyed meeting and talking to Rachel Friere about her mi.mu gloves. It was really good to see the level of inspiration and amazement on their faces. There where other instances where young people had come as groups to visit and where looking around the Library to see what going on and what they could do. There were a lot of smiles and excitement from everyone.

Kids playing with some small robots
Kids playing Micro Pi Noon and having fun.

2. The Makers

One of the best things for me about organising 2017 was meeting so many interesting people who just had a real passion for what they do and what they make. Some things are completely mad like this light up dress from Funky Aardvark

Photo of dress with LEDs all over it lighting up
Light up dress from Funky Aardvark

Then there was Cassandra the biometric fortune telling machine which was stunning and brilliant.

Cassandra The Fortune Telling Machine

And the really fascinating work by Field Ready: Humanitarian Making. They use 3D printing to create medical supplies in remote areas that have become disasters zones such as Haiti. I really enjoyed talking to Laura and finding out about how the project developed and how it is sustained.

https://www.fieldready.org/pics-and-video

The Makers make the festival and without their passion and enthusiasm for the event it wouldn’t be the success it has been for the past 3 years.

3. Organising

I love organising and project managing, but in 2017 it was the first time I got to have a go at event planning. Mark Sabino and I had a brilliant time and although it was hard work we both love Liverpool MakeFest!

We are back at it again this year enjoying MakeFest Wednesdays in the Library (it’s when we make time for all the grand planning). We also had a lot of help last year and we’ve enlisted more willing volunteers again to help curate specialist exhibits or areas of the festival.

Chelsea Slater Co-founder and Director of Liverpool Girl Geeks and Innovate Her will be curating our Women In Tech showcase, this was a huge success in 2017 and with Women in Tech such a huge talking point I expect this year it will be even better. Scan And Make are curating an area to exhibit artists who use technology to create their work. This is a new element for this year so, I’m very excited to see the results.

We are also supported heavily by others such as Dan Lynch the voice of Liverpool MakeFest this year through social media and our wonderful blog, Zarino Zappia for this years branding, which is stunning! We have JR Preston who is our photographer for the day. We also have a range of others who have supported Liverpool MakeFest from the start like Carl Simons from Edge Hill University Geek Squad and The Steampunk Crew (too many to name here, but you know who you are), Jackie Pease of DoES Liverpool and of course the Founders Denise Jones, Caroline Keep and Mark Feltham. However, there are still a hundreds more who love and support this festival, it is an amazing feat of community and cooperation in action and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it.

Tish from the SteamPunks

4. How I Became Involved

I designed the first maker badge and that was my whole contribution in 2015 (I was on Maternity leave at the time!) Then it moved to creating the branding in 2016, then on to organising it with Mark Sabino in 2017 and I’m continuing that role for 2018. As each role is voluntary it has become a passion of mine to ensure that the festival continues for the maker community and the city as a whole.

I think the festival offers an alternative view on creativity, science and technology and how those subjects can be applied in exciting and interesting ways, ways that we could never imagine. It offers a platform for those in the city and beyond to take part in an event that can have a lasting impact on their own passions, inspiring them to learn more and develop their own ideas further, but also inspire the next generation to get involved in creating their own ideas.

Creativity is such a fundamental part of learning whether it be through problem solving or drawing a sketch of your first prototype, we all need to expand our definition of creativity to include science, maths and technology, not just pigeon-hole it to the arts or crafts. Making is a wonderful thing and Liverpool MakeFest has it all.

Laser cut maker badges presented to all makers and organisers
Maker badges from the first year.

5. Spending So Much Time In the Library

Central Library has become like my second home (for one day a week at least) and I just love it there. It’s a fantastic space and I free genuinely lucky that Liverpool has this public facility. Liverpool MakeFest being in the Library is brilliant and gets people to travel to the library who might not come otherwise. The hope is that they see how great Libraries are and want to keep using them. Libraries create a real sense of community in the city (any city for that matter) and the maker community are so open to sharing ideas and helping each other that the library does make the perfect venue for sharing and bringing people together.

Liverpool Central Library, one amazing building

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Thanks Jen, some great memories there and lots of nice pictures too! We’re looking forward to this year’s event which is coming up on June 30th.

Don’t forget that Young MakeFest 2018 is Friday March 23rd (that’s right THIS WEEK). It’s 11am to 3pm in Central Library so get along with all your budding Makers for a free day or workshops and exhibits! — More info here

Don’t forget you can contact us via email at – lpoolmakefest@gmail.com

Or use any of our social media links in the header above. As Bob Hoskins once said… it’s good to talk!

Until next time, keep Making and creating everyone.

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