Makerversity claims to be “Europe’s most exciting community of emergent maker businesses”, but it feels like an incredibly trendy secret that people with fluffy beards only tell you after you graduate from art school. Deep underneath Somerset House’s East Wing, the Makerversity offers workshop and desk space to creative types, at a substantial cost and on a competitive waiting list. They run tours once a month, which fill up weeks in advance, and despite my Mancunian science hangover I was keen to explore. I’m not quite sure what I expected but it certainly wasn’t what I got. The Makerversity feels like it could be brilliant but to me it never quite meets the mark. The tour guide didn’t have any answers and it seemed like you’d have to kill someone to get one of the private vaults (start-up workshop spaces). Everyone had a Macbook air and a snazzy haircut. The Makerversity doesn’t run any training on their 3D printers/ sewing machines/ laser cutters, but there is “always a trained technician on site”, only he’s “not here now”. The workshops themselves are very small and, at first glance, less well-equipped than a school’s art department. What was awesome were the rest of the people on the tour I met a wonderful lady who was refreshing to be around and made the whole underground rip-off much easier to swallow. Jane was knocked off her bike outside St Mary’s hospital, and so badly injured she developed epilepsy. Jane is fascinated by empathy and virtual reality, and was paid by a big pharma company to create an artwork explaining the world through her eyes to the wider world. Jane’s video, ‘In My Shoes,’, has premiered everywhere, from London to Sheffield to Canada and right across America. I even got a chance to watch Jane’s video, in a posh room behind the Somerset House café, where we drank orange carrot juice and I told her my dad could have been her neurologist.
Afterward I caught the District Line to Whitechapel to listen to STEMPra’s “Good Blog, Bag Blog” discussion.