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“Makers” unite for inaugural, creative experience

November 6, 2019 | By Brandy Gottlieb, with contributions by Thomas Asmuth  | casshcommunications@uwf.edu

UWF art students prepare their inflatable architecture exhibit for the Pensacola Mini Maker Faire.

Thomas Asmuth, UWF associate professor of art, has worked to inspire his students to  create innovatively and collaborate artistically across disciplines. Asmuth is a transdisciplinary artist whose practices are influenced by the intersections of art and science, identity and robotics. Asmuth began his interdisciplinary practices, as a participant with the first Maker Faire in 2006, during his graduate studies at a Silicon Valley institution. 

On November 16, Asmuth’s initial encounter with the Maker Faire will come full circle with the launch of the inaugural Pensacola Mini Maker Faire. 

Asmuth and Dr. Joe Piacenza, UWF assistant professor of mechanical engineering, along with a strategic planning team and more than 90 ‘makers,’ will bring the Pensacola Mini Maker Faire to life.  The experience is described as a  “gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do,” or, the “Greatest Show and Tell on Earth.” 

Who is a “Maker” ?

When describing this broad term for creatives, Asmuth attributes the idea of “a maker” to Dale Dougherty, Maker Movement founder, who argues “we are all makers,” in his 2011 TED Talk, “We are Makers.”  

Asmuth believes that interdisciplinary methods allow individuals to deeply investigate the creative process. The use of these methods encourage holistic understanding and help alleviate blind spots in knowledge and application. The process values conversations, collaborations and communities and encourages agency, so individuals can actively participate.

Art students are gearing up for their role in the event. Jolie Sebastian is majoring in graphic arts at UWF. She is collaborating with a team of art students to design and print 3-D terrain models, through which a rover will travel. Sebasitan says that, of her many group projects, she feels this project has most closely resembled a professional collaboration. 

Other UWF art students will also be exhibiting inflatable architecture at the event. 

Scott Satterwhite, along with Terry Johnson, is co-founder of the 309 Punk Museum Project.


"I believe it's very important to see this work as interdisciplinary. For some reason, people often don't connect the humanities with science and technology, despite the ways in which both historically have always been wed. After all, think of Da Vinci. My personal approach with the humanities - philosophy, history and literature - is that it's all connected. It's the same with the technology.” - Scott Satterwhite, 309 Punk Project


The 309 Punk Museum Project is committed to preserving the cultural history of Pensacola’s punk culture. Saterwhite’s project will be one of the “Makers” and will demonstrate the production of screen-printed shirts and zines.

Satterwhite, who is also a UWF instructor of English, speaks of innovators in DIY circles when he says, “We create because we have a passion for what we do. This has been a hallmark of the DIY punk community. What we hope to do is inspire others to realize that they have, in their hands and in their minds, the power to create." 

Jim Sparks is the program manager for UWF’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which is one of the Pensacola Mini Maker Faire’s partners . 

He argues that, in business, an interdisciplinary approach unites visionaries, managers and artisans, allowing them to exchange ideas and inspire continued product iterations. Sparks says he hopes the experience will inspire youth to become future innovators and build a strong community of support for makers. He also hopes it will unify the efforts of makers and the business community while showcasing Pensacola as an innovative hub. 

The Maker Faire Movement

In 2005, Make Magazine planned a weekend festival to celebrate creativity and ingenuity.  The event called Maker Faire (1) was a “show and tell event for the emerging community of people engaging in technology, craft, and general empowerment through warranty voiding (2).  As new digital tools and methods make it harder to exert ownership (more akin to buying a license or subscription), it has become increasingly important to participate in the technology. 

Maker Faire originated in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area as a project of the editors of Make: Magazine.  It has since grown into a significant worldwide network of both flagship and independently-produced events. 

Asmuth says the nearly 170 Mini Maker Faires have allowed hundreds of thousands of Makers to exhibit, share and pitch startups, and more, each year. 

 Read more on Maker Faire history and the Maker Movement.

This year, 2019, marks the inaugural Mini Maker Faire in Pensacola. 

What to Expect

Attendees can expect to see a variety of Makers, from those who make things in their garage to those who want to demonstrate a craft. In attendance will also be local associations that support the creative community, as well as major companies that want to share their innovation and technology. Guests will also be invited to participate in hands-on “making” activities.

Details

The event is Saturday, November 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is  free and open to all ages. 

The Pensacola Mini Maker Faire is presented by the UWF Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. There are also 15 community and UWF partners, which include  UWF College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; UWF Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Lab; and the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship. The festival site is hosted by the UWF Historic Trust  and will include both indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as activities and demonstrations. 

Tickets are free with registration.

Get involved by signing up to be a maker, volunteer, sponsor or just donate to the fun!


Thomas Asmuth, UWF Associate Professor of Art 

Thomas Asmuth, associate professor, teaches digital and experimental media.

Asmuth is a transdisciplinary artist whose practices are influenced by the intersections of art and science, identity and robotics.

Asmuth studied physics in college, but exposure to the arts initiated a journey where science and art coexist. In his work, he uses a mixed-methodologies approach to affect innovation or gain new insights. He received a bachelor’s of arts degree from San Francisco Art Institute and a master’s degree in digital media from CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San Jose State University. Read more about Asmuth and his work at uwf.edu/art


Sources

“About Maker Faire.” Maker Faire, https://makerfaire.com/makerfairehistory/. Accessed 23 Oct. 2019.
McCracken, Harry, and Harry McCracken. “Maker Faire Founder Dale Dougherty On The Past, Present, And Online Future Of The Maker Movement.” Fast Company, 29 Apr. 2015, https://www.fastcompany.com/3045505/maker-faire-founder-dale-dougherty-on-the-past-present-and-online-future-of-the-maker-moveme.