FabLab Coventry

FabLab Coventry is a social enterprise promoting a rebirth of design in the city via partnership between the city, local universities, civic organisations, and citizens.

Project Option: Fab Lab (Digital Fabrication Laboratory): – Coventry City Centre Priority Theme: Getting people into good jobs Objective – To create a city centre resource, which builds on the City’s industrial heritage by using advanced manufacturing to give Coventry people, with a focus on young people, the power to turn ideas into reality and to energise them to learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts and maths through an accessible, fun, learning environment in the City Centre. Key aims: • To provide a permanent Fab Lab facility within the city centre for use by the community: young people, schools, colleges, universities, businesses and other groups. • To encourage young people to work together on projects, gaining technical training along the way • To encourage young people to look closer at Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths as a real and achievable option for a career. • To work with businesses to help support the Fab Lab and run regular interactive fun sessions • To work with businesses to branch out into new fields, quickly and cheaply • To advertise apprenticeships in the Fab Lab through business liaison with the Council’s job shop. Delivery: • Set up a project steering group to deliver the Fab Lab in the city centre. • Hold a creative roundtable session with interested parties to discuss how they can engage with and support the Fab Lab. To include: Universities, Businesses, Education, The Chamber, CWLEP and Coventry City Council Place Directorate representation. • Develop a business plan for setting up Cov Fab Lab as a social enterprise. • Develop bids and funding opportunities to attract investment into the Cov Fab Lab • Look for appropriate space within the city centre to host a Fab Lab. • To appoint a full time manager • To co-ordinate a volunteer bank to run sessions at the Fab Lab. Success factors: • A Fab Lab be created in the city centre, co-ordinated and run by the Lead organisations. • The Fab Lab is used by a range of organisations and is owned as a city resource. • That NEETS; looked after and vulnerable children access the facilities and are encouraged to take up available opportunities. • Measuring the number of individuals, groups and organisations participating in the Fab Lab. • Fab Lab is acknowledged and promoted as a valuable resource for the city. Lead Organisations: • Coventry University • University of Warwick • Coventry City Council Job Shop • Positive Youth Foundation *(NB Imagineer productions are also working in this space and should be included) Why should we have a Fab Lab in Coventry? • To support Coventry’s application for City of Culture: There is evidence of a strong connection between Fab Labs and Cities of Culture (e.g. Limerick Fab Lab in Limerick City of culture 2014, Londonderry Fab Lab provided with £350,000 to support 2010 city of culture proposal); • To address the low levels of attainment in STEM in the city using Arts as a catalyst for engagement; • To address that succinctly put by the Coventry Partnership “to raise aspirations and narrow the gap”, by Growing the City and Tackling Poverty. Coventry has high levels of deprivation and low levels of skills, which do not support local business needs. • To raise aspirations of Coventry Children through Fab lab after school clubs for children to do their homework alongside University students who will be undertaking their Fab lab projects from 3.30 - 6.30pm every day. This would promote a really positive, meaningful experience giving kids somewhere to go that they can do their homework in the company of highly educated and kind role models. Their school work will improve and so will their aspirations because of the conversations they will have with informed and well connected people. Why Should the Coventry Universities invest in Cov Fab Lab? • The Fab Lab network opens up opportunities for REF-able outputs and pathways to impact. Research in fab labs includes for example, social relations, citizen science, education, small and middle-sized businesses and health care. The common denominator in the research is digital fabrication; • Many local people feel that Coventry University in particular is taking over their city centre and that it is not for them. A Cov Fab Lab in the city centre would promote and support the opening up of the City’s University education, research and facilities to local people; • The Fab Lab will enrich the student experience by supporting placements and UG & PG projects in partnership with local organisations, people and businesses. Cov Fab Lab Champions (Committed to realising the Cov Fab Lab through bid writing, developing associated research outputs, volunteering, supporting Fab Lab Student placement projects etc.). Coventry University • Professor Mike Hardy, Director (CTPSR) • Sinead Ouillon, Programme Leader the City University Initiative (CTPSR) • Dr E. Miles, FIMMM, Network Coordinator of the UNESCO UNITWIN in Humanitarian Engineering, Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Engineering, (E & C) • Adam Rugg, IT & Media Services Manager (CSAD) • Dr Geoff Wilcocks, Director of Arts and Culture (CSAD) • Keith Jeffrey’s, Coventry University Social Enterprise University of Warwick • Ken Sloan, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer • Martin Price, Collaborative Outreach Network Manager • Dr Nick Barker, Chemistry, Schools Outreach Programme • Dr Claire Rocks, Computer Science, Teaching Fellow (Outreach) • Dr Matthew Leake, Computer Science , Assistant Professor Public and Voluntary sector • Rashid Bhayat, Director, Positive Youth Foundation (positiveyouthfoundation.org) • Colin Knight, Head of Transport and Planning, Coventry City Council • Jenni Venn, Deputy Director Coventry City Council Resources secured to date • Investment in equipment and materials by CTPSR worth £40,000 • Further investment from CTPSR of £10,000 • Revenue funding from charity reserves – Positive Youth foundation, amount to be confirmed • Contribution towards a city centre shop – Coventry City Council, Nigel Clews, to be confirmed • Contribution from University of Warwick to be confirmed

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