JRC (Joint Research Centre) Ispra is one of EU Science Hubs, located near Lago Maggiore and it’s the third biggest European Commission site after Brussels and Luxembourg, where around 2000 researcher work on different topics like Sustainable Resources and Transport, Space Security, Migration, Health and Consumer Protection, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, Growth & Innovation.
It started its activities in the 60s as a nuclear research site, today it is considered as one of Europe’s leading research campuses with many laboratories and research infrastructures.
Back in 2017 they published a report titled Overview of the Maker Movement in the European Union (download PDF), to highlight the benefit of Makerspaces:
“Over the last decade, we witnessed an unprecedented booming of communities engaged in do-it-yourself (DIY) activities worldwide. FabLabs, Hackerspaces and Makerspaces can be seen as the physical representations of the maker movement. These unique spaces seek to provide communities, businesses and entrepreneurs the infrastructures and manufacturing equipment indispensable to turn their ideas and concepts into reality. The objective of this study is to assess and quantify the range of the maker movement across Europe, investigating the distribution and activity of FabLabs, Hackerspaces and Makerspaces as the physical spaces where the phenomenon takes place. Also, we explore tools and techniques employed within the spaces as well as community strategies with an aim to uncover the socio-technical and socio-economic impact of the initiatives.”
Later they also published a new report titled Futures of Work: Perspectives from the Maker Movement (download PDF):
“The work presented in this report attempts to explore other realms about the future(s) of work beyond the strongly driven narrative of digital transformation. We have addressed one particular grassroots community, the Maker Movement, which is de facto enabling new models of education, collaborative work, and manufacture. Movements like the Maker Movement can be inspirational of policy making in areas of great complexity and uncertainties as work, employment, jobs are. We suggest that debates about futures of work need to mobilise the imagination, insights and expectations of wide ranges of society. Policy making should be nurturing necessary studies, experiments and conversations until some resilient ideas are found.”
Two years later two of the authors, Paulo Rosa and Angela Pereira invited me, and other representatives of the European maker movement, to take part to the inauguration of the makerspace within JRC Ispra campus in middle May, with the aim of creating an interdisciplinary space of experimentation for researchers and future collaborators.
It was the chance to present the work done at WeMake with the EU funded project in Digital Social Innovation, discuss about the development of your relationships between policy makers and makers, meet old friends and make new friends, like Denisa Kera (in the pic above)