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Make Works 2022 - A year in review

Photo by Museum of Making. Make Works Derby and Derbyshire

Welcome to 2023

What a year! 2022 was a roller coaster ride, and we are excited to see what 2023 will have in store for Make Works! For the last 365 days the Make Works collective, represented by each region's champion and HQ has rolled up their sleeves to find new opportunities for collaboration, find funding sources, explore research methodologies and continuously make listings from brilliant and talented craftspeople around the globe. The highlights from each region you can find below!

To wrap up 2022 we would like to thank all the creatives, makers, manufacturers and craftspeople we have been working with. We acknowledge the challenging times we are living in, and we appreciate each person we engage with. These interactions serve as further inspiration to keep on doing what we are doing. Seeing the interest from different points of view in Make Works, give us hope that we can move towards a local production and consumption paradigm in the future. 

The Make Works regions have met online to share knowledge, experiences, and challenges. While each of the regional representatives works in their own localized context, there are several commonalities that can be tackled as a collective. And we will continue these meetings in 2023, hoping that we can improve Make Works as a collective. 

Let’s cut to the 2022 recap: Below you can find a brief summary by some of our region champions about the fruitful collaborations and highlights they have experienced.

Photo by Fab Lab Barcelona

Exiting collaborations from our Make Works regions

Over the past year, the Make Works region representatives have not only met online to chat about our regions' latest developments. We have also taken the opportunity to meet each other again in physical spaces and collaborate in activities. Here are some of our highlights from this year:

Make Works UAE and Make Works Scotland
Make Works Scotland attended two international design weeks in 2022, continuing our engagement in design, manufacturing, material development and skill preservation conversations internationally, feeding into conversations with our Scottish community.

Work shown at Dutch Design Week, whether concept or product launch, prompts thoughts and engagement. The annual design week is an iterative space in itself that nourishes through regular engagement via its themes, talks, curation and exhibits. Material development - specifically bioplastics, waste, mycelium and soil - were prevalent, notably the Re:Sourcing Clay exhibition of works following residencies by three design studios at the ceramic manufacturer Royal Tichelaar on the occasion of their 450th anniversary. Iris de Kievith’s Dutch Skies tiles drew attention to the urgent matter of our air quality, in their glazing of the manufacturers most traditional Makkumer tiles with glaze made from air pollution particulates gathered from various world cities.

Further highlights were:
  • Studio Floris Meijer’s Farm Fundamentals, a series of everyday objects inspired by now obsolete tools manifesting the effect of giving up livestock farming on farmers’ personal lives. Growing up on a diary farm, Floris’ Hekwerkbank bench is created with the borrowed language and processes of forming and welding steel tubes into the universally familiar farm gates.
  • Dutch Invertuals’ Expedition Aequalis exhibition of design’s exploration of the building blocks for an eco-centric future proposed the ‘Ten Principles for Transitioning Towards an Eco-Centric Future’, with the ‘Commons’ principle pertinent for Make Works:

‘In Western societies we are socio-economically programmed to value individual ownership and personal material wealth. Nature flourishes through sharing, mutuality and commons. By designing for common goals we can switch from the pursuit of happiness to meaning. Happiness is very self-gratifying and self-centred. Meaning is formed from deep relationships and the power of contributing rather than receiving. Can we design to create desirable solutions based on ecological and social inclusivity?’

Shaza Khalil. Photo by Make Works UAE

And these themes resonated at Dubai Design Week. Material development featured prominently in products, particularly those launched on the Tanween by Tashkeel stand at Downtown Design Editions. The annual Tanween Design Programme, supporting the professional development of innovative emerging designers in the UAE, is run by Tashkeel, who produce Make Works UAE; more from them below! In two works launched in 2022, designers’ developed by-products of local industries, that would otherwise be waste, to realise materials and in turn products: 

  • Sara Abu Farha’s and Khaled Shalkha’s Datecrete Console 0.1 is constructed of Datecrete, a material they realised via a low-cost process of converting raw date seeds into a cementitious material with the potential to serve as a local alternative to Portland cement. 
  • Reema Al Mheiri’s Tibrah floor lamp shades made of fish scales and biodegradable binder combines marine culture and design innovation to present a regenerative material as priceless and precious, drawing on the complex relationship between the Emirati community and the sea.

Reema Al Mheiri. Photo by Make Works UAE

Tanween alumni, continuing development of their independent design practices were present elsewhere during design week. Hamza Al-Omari and Talin Hazbar’s recent works were displayed in the UAE Designer Exhibition 2022, curated by Cyril Zammit on the theme of ‘Design with Impact’. Speaking with Hamza about his midkhan ‘Nadd’, the challenges of finding local manufacturers to realise production of quality which resonates culturally and draws on the skills of local craftspeople is a constant factor to navigate. More reason for Make Works and a connected network globally! 

Make Works Scotland look forward to more international conversations, with our existing and we hope new Make Works network members in 2023.

Make Works Catalonia & Paris
Make Works Catalonia and Paris have become part of the EU-funded research project CENTRINNO in 2021 (More about this can be found in this blog post). Through this collaboration, each region was able to get in touch with manufacturers, artisans and craftspeople and establish their regions. CENTRINNO is offering an interesting approach to resource mapping, using the tool KUMU in combination with an extended survey that dives into questions in regard to circularity and skills. More about this can be found in the CENTRINNO Cartography which is being developed by Metabolic, a research institute in Amsterdam. Make Works Paris is closely intertwined with the development of the Fab City Hub Paris, a space for innovation and transformation. In 2022 they have invited 10 of their local food system actors to identify synergies and circular collaboration.

Both regions have also engaged with a methodology called Emotion Networking, developed by the Reinwardt Academy and Imagine IC. This methodology invites local stakeholders, such as manufacturers to participate in a reflective exercise. “Emotion networking is an exercise that provides insights into complicated interplays between emotions, interests, and different sorts of knowledge, and between items of heritage and people. The aim is for participants to notice changes in these relationships and to become (more) aware of the complex dynamics surrounding heritage.” (Reinwardt Academy). 

These new methodologies nurture Make Works as its whole and bring critical reflections to our collective on how we would like to approach and collaborate with creative people in the future. It becomes evermore evident that we would like to highlight circular-making practices and flows on Make Works.

Poblenou Open Day at IAAC. Photo by Fab Lab Barcelona.

Updates from of our Regions

In other news: besides fruitful collaborations, there are also exciting developments in our Make Works regions which we would like to share: 

Make Works UAE
Hosted by Tashkeel in Dubai, Make Works UAE is embarking on a new chapter of growth and development thanks to a five-year collaboration with Dubai Culture, the Emirate’s government authority. By the new year, a full-time coordinator will be in post to research and build profiles of manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers. The list of willing collaborators is growing, evidenced by the contributions of existing Make Works UAE registered businesses to five new furniture and lighting pieces inspired, designed and made in the UAE, which were debuted by Tashkeel at Dubai Design Week 2022 to great acclaim. 

2023 heralds the UAE Year of Sustainability with the country hosting COP28 later in the year. Make Works UAE has a key role to play in advocating the principles of the Circular Economy and looks forward to recruiting new businesses to its platform in line with ongoing ‘Made in UAE’ and ‘Make it in the Emirates’ public campaigns.

Karam Hoar. Make Works UAE. Photo by Tashkeel

Make Works Derby and Derbyshire
It has been an exciting year for The Museum of Making as we were a Museum of the year 2022 Finalist and won the Best Medium Museum, Kids in Museums Award. Alongside these, we are continuing to grow our maker-focused programme with our artist and maker membership scheme (started in July 2021, and now has an amazing 123 members!), Assemble: Derby’s Festival of Making (which hosted 50 local makers), and 2 Maker Residencies

The Museum of Making has become a central hub to grow these programmes. Make Works Derby is integral to growing our maker community, and this year it has been extended with 7 more listings created in co-production with volunteer students from University of Derby and Derby College. These listings are also on display in the Museum of Making to showcase the breadth of local industry in Derby/shire and are accessible to everyone who comes through our doors!

Phil's Forge at Derby Museum exhibition. Photo by Make Works Derby and Derby Shire

Make Works Derby/shire developed the skills of 7 young people, who gave 150 volunteer hours across the programme and, after being inspired through Make Works, are now volunteering in other areas of the museum, including developing a membership film for Instagram reels, supporting our VEA team, and joining our workshop volunteer team. Through our SROI (social return of investment) evaluation, volunteers told us that Make Works helped them to feel like they ‘belong to the Derby community’, with them feeling ‘much more confident in their technical abilities’ and ‘able to speak up’ and ask for help when they need it. They noted an excellent improvement in levels of confidence and employability.

Volunteers filmbing. Photo by Make Works Derby and Derby Shire

Make Works Iceland
Make Works Iceland has been a key player to organise the The Seafood festival is one of many emerging initiatives that engage the cultural heritage of Iceland. Restaurants, fish factories, food designers and producers have  come together to bring to light old traditions and innovative new approaches of the Vestmannaeyjar island in Iceland. The festival was an invitation to explore the genuine food culture of Vestmannaeyjar. It offered insights into the cultural history and visitors were able to learn how coastal communities are collaborating to bring 1st class-quality fish and fish products to our tables. The festival was framing the  importance of the blue economy of islands. The Blue Economy concept seeks to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring the environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas.

Food experience at Slippurinn on Vestmannaeyjar Island. Photo by Slippurinn


Jessica Guy
January 03, 2023



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