Maker Town Hall Microgrants

Kicking off the 2017 National Week of Making, Nation of Makers was pleased to award eleven communities across the United States microgrants to support the hosting of Maker Town Halls:

  • Anchorage, AK (Anchorage Makerspace)
  • Colorado Springs, CO (Colorado Maker Hub)
  • Cadiz, KY (Wildcat Makerspace)townhallArtboard-11.png
  • Hazleton, PA (Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress)
  • Houston, TX (TXRX Labs)
  • Knoxville, TN (Knoxville Entrepreneur Center)
  • Lynchburg, VA (Vector Space)
  • Newport, RI (FabLab Newport)
  • Piscataway, NJ (NJ Makers Day)
  • Standing Rock, Lakota Nation (Tradlab)
  • Tucson, AZ (Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance)

What is a Maker Town Hall?

A Maker Town Hall is an opportunity to convene key stakeholders in your community to discuss the role of the Maker Movement as it relates to areas such as education, entrepreneurship, workforce development, manufacturing, community revitalization and community-based problem solving. Getting different stakeholders together to talk about the Maker Movement can be a way to develop new collaborations, partnerships and initiatives that can help grow the ecosystem that is supporting the Maker community in your city.

Previous Maker Town Halls and similar events have taken place in cities such as Burlington, NC, Wenatchee, WA, San Diego, CA, and Orlando, FL.

How do I get started with creating my own Maker Town Hall?

Maker City Project has put together a guide that can help you plan a successful Maker Town Hall. This resource is freely available here.

What are the goals of a Maker Town Hall?

A Maker Town Hall is designed to bring together different members of your community to talk about the ways to broaden access to the Maker Movement and grow support for the local Maker community. A Maker Town Hall can touch upon a variety of topics (education, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, community-based problem solving etc.) or you can choose to focus on a particular topic area that you feel is important to your community. You can customize the goals of the event to fit the specific needs of your city.

What are the expected outcomes of a Maker Town Hall?

While the goal of the event is to start a dialogue, the expected outcomes of a Maker Town Hall stretch well beyond the day of the event. While your community will determine the exact outcome of your Maker Town Hall, our hope is that the Town Hall will spur the development of partnerships and programs that work within the maker community to have lasting impacts on your local towns and cities. Some examples of outcomes may be:

  • Increased support for local maker events by local government
  • A manufacturing alliance between local makers and manufacturing organizations
  • Academic partnerships between K-12 teachers and local makers
  • A health making partnership between a local elder facility and a community makerspace
  • A Chamber of Commerce featuring local makers, hackers, artists, and artisans in its tourism materials

Who should we invite to participate in our Maker Town Hall?

Here are some ideas of the stakeholder groups that you could invite to your event.

  • Maker/hacker/bio/art spaces and organizations within your local town or city (established and burgeoning)
  • Local government (Mayor or other civic leader)
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • K-12 Education (Board of Education, Superintendents, Administrators, Principals, Teachers from schools within your local town or city)
  • Informal Education venues (recreation and community centers, local 4H, Boys and Girls Club, Girls and Boys Scouts, etc.)
  • Higher Education (Community Colleges, Colleges and Universities (including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) within your local town or city
  • Industry (major industry leadership)
  • Manufacturing Associations
  • Healthcare Institutions
  • Anyone who is part of your local maker ecosystem!

Who can host a Maker Town Hall?

This can vary. In some cases, makerspaces, or other maker-focused organizations lead the way in hosting the event. In other cases, it has been a team made up of representatives from different kinds of organizations.

What is the size of a Maker Town Hall?

The events can vary in size. In previous years they have ranged from 25-50 people, although your Maker Town Halls may be larger, depending on the type of event you’d like to plan.