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NATION OF MAKERS The theme for NOMCON 2018 WAS Intentional Inclusion. celebrating the diverse community of makers across our country that represent a multitude of backgrounds, geographies, and perspectives.

The 2018 Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), held on June 9-10, is the inaugural annual national conference to bring together leaders from maker organizations representing the diverse sectors, people, regions, and foci that represent the U.S. maker movement. Hosted by the national nonprofit Nation of Makers, the conference aims to spark and increase connections across sectors, generate robust collaborations and partnerships, set a research agenda for the U.S. maker movement, and promote the growth of an inclusive maker community. A central goal of the event is the promotion of relationship-building across lines of regular conversation, generating an increased sense of connected community throughout the entire ecosystem of maker-supporting entities.

Leading up to NOMCON, organizers reached out to makers all over the country to 3d print parts for a giant crowd-sourced statue of Rosie the Riveter! It worked!! For size reference the small Rosie is over 2 feet tall! Big Rosie is made of 2,635 separate pieces from 700 different collaborators, on 6 continents. The only color guideline that was given was to choose a “skin tone.” #wetherosies #NOMCON

Rosie the Riveter was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II, and she became perhaps the most iconic image of working women. American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers during the war, as widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the industrial labor force. Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home.

The FUSE Makerspace in Albuquerque, NM is a community center with tools that allow members to design, prototype, and create manufactured works. FUSE partners with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), giving members access to affordable, high-quality classes as well as mentoring from other makers and community members.

This was the most organized and decked out makerspace I have ever been to. They have top of the line equipment for woodworking, metal fabrication, welding, rapid prototyping, 3d printing, screen printing, and jewelry making. They had individual classrooms for instruction, co-working, and offices for small businesses.

Adam Savage from Mythbusters (and Tested.com) is a founding board member of Nation of Makers and is a huge cheerleader for the maker movement. People may not know he is also an accomplished industrial designer and special effects designer/fabricator. Adam gave an inspiring and hilarious keynote documenting his failed attempt to replicate Stanley Kubrick's directors chair.
One of the most engaging sessions I attended was entitled "Making Like a Girl". The session was full of women from all over the country who run makerspaces with successful programming for girls. One attendee who is now 17, has been teaching people at their makerspace to use the laser cutter since she was 13. Lots of good tips and insights on how to encourage girls to get into making!

What ideas did they have?

  • "Makerrettes" i.e. cool names for girl makers
  • Social justice arts and crafts
  • Train and hire female instructors
  • "Babying" there was much debate whether or not to treat fems any different
  • Targeted classes with a purpose: Wine and Welding (make a metal wine rack) Hot Pockets (eat and sew pockets)
  • Want women in your space? Include women in your mission.
  • Have patrons/members sign a code of conduct
  • Coat racks for purses
  • Make tampons and pads available in bathrooms

Check out more photos from the event at https://photos.app.goo.gl/VUNGGJLn3LS7mgTx7

Did you know heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home? Kipp Bradford, a board member of Nation of Makers, entrepreneur and former MIT media lab scientist is trying to change that, he is beginning to disrupt the HVAC industry with DIY high efficiency cooling systems.

"I don't want 5th graders spending their time learning Java. I want them to be learning how to identify and solve problems and think dynamically." Kipp commenting on the current coding and programming craze.

https://www.kippkitts.com/

One of the keynotes and exhibitors were the founders of Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit organization that builds epic mechanical costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs — at no cost to families.

Read about the kids and their stories at https://www.magicwheelchair.org/. They have a gallery of some of the AMAZING costumes created. Really inspiring stuff!!

Katie Mabry van Dieren (left) of Strawberry Swing and Troost Market Collective, and Ryan Bell (middle) of Maker Studio and organizer of Maker Fair KC were also at NOMCON. We participated in a break out session with the authors of MAKER CITY to develop actionable projects for the maker movement specifically in our region.

The number one idea we came up is to 3d scan all makerspaces in the KC metro and add "portals" for people to be able to jump from makerspace to makerspace, making our metro the first in the country where people can explore the maker movement in virtual reality. We are beginning to work with the authors of Maker City and the Kansas City Star to potentially make this a reality!

Thank you!

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