The Maker Faire Taipei has just celebrated its sixth anniversary and become the most significant maker event in Taiwan, with every maker doing their best to prove themselves. But organizing such an event is no easy task. Let’s go behind the scenes and see how it’s done.
Coordinating multiple demands is key
The MFT believes everybody can be a maker. They have achieved great results over the years, and industry, government and academia are all happy to collaborate with them, but each organization has its own goals and wants something different in terms of education, industry links, creativity, economy and international exchange.
The event organizer’s job is to ensure everybody is able to interact without difficulty. In fact, the point of the MFT is to act as something of a symbol: you need to nurture the culture from the ground up before you can develop it.
In Hualien, for example, there are a lot of professional teachers who have long been writing innovative lesson plans to cater to their students’ family backgrounds and the local culture, but they don’t have the funds to participate in the exhibition.
The MFT is trying to give everybody the opportunity to meet and interact. This year’s Art and Science Volcano exhibit is an example of successful resource integration: combining crayon art and a science project, the exhibit was made by Learning Is Sharing and Crayola Taiwan, and it is in perfect harmony with the spirit of Maker Faire.
And spirit is what sets the MFT apart from other exhibitions. If your products are not fun enough, or not “Maker Faire” enough, nobody will come to your booth, and that won’t be the organizer’s fault! You have to do your best to get people’s attention.
Besides meeting different demands and integrating resources, the organizer has also been dealing with losing technology sponsors, which has been a major financial hardship. Most maker content relies on development boards, but manufacturers prefer new technology, so they look for targets that require newer technology or have better funding.
Everybody can be a maker
Manufacturers are switching targets, and so are makers.
“Maker courses abound these days, and new makers are getting into all sorts of things. In fact, the maker movement has been going for several years now, and has developed into a broad community. Some more experienced makers worry about the future of the movement and believe there is a lot of work to be done to keep it going.”
Nevertheless, Taiwan’s makers are still full of energy, and many teams have been working hard for many years and have achieved great results. “No Such Thing as You Can’t,” the main exhibit this year, tells visitors that instead of just looking at 3D printed products, they can become makers themselves.
“This year’s exhibition touched on many important issues, for example Skills for U deals with technical and vocational education. And while many organizations have made it clear that they care about issues like education and innovation, MFT is really delivering, not just making a statement but putting their policy into practice by actively encouraging people to try their hand. That’s what this event is about.”
See you next year!
The MFT believes that interaction helps create new things. Zashare and the Young Designers’ Exhibition both show great works from young creators, and a lot of makers participate every year. But they may not know what the MFT is doing, which is why they are providing a bigger hub where everybody can interact.
Survival is difficult for startup teams. MFT really hopes to see these startups come back year after year so everyone can see what great progress they have been making.