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In the making conference report

13 July 2016

In the making project crowdsources learning and partners for stage 2 at Salford conference.

Disability Rights UK and its partners the Universities of Salford and of Dundee marked the end of stage 1 of the project to take digital fabrication – the ability to turn data into objects and objects into data – to disabled people in the neighbourhoods of Salford at a conference in Salford’s media city on June 17June 2016.

The conference was chaired by Roy O’Shaughnessey CEO of the Shaw Trust and the guest speaker was Rachael Wallach of Hack on Wheels, a network who are using 3 D printing to produce bespoke wheelchairs. The conference provided opportunities for presentations, discussions but above all a conversation to crowdsource ideas for a stage 2 bid to its current sponsors the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Philip Connolly, the Policy Manager of Disability Rights UK and the projects co-investigator for communities and enterprise said,

“The project was completely new. It was aimed at persuading disabled people to become members of the maker movement and for makers to take on board the needs of disabled people in their own innovations. We uncovered an appetite for this technology amongst disabled people living in the city and elsewhere. I watched one woman download and print a finger grip to support her in independent living. I saw another young woman on the autism spectrum demonstrate an instinctive skill for 3D scanning. I met many who had ideas and designs keen to literally make their own futures. It’s been a great experience to witness all the creativity but now we need to do more. The conference marked both an end and a beginning.”

There is scope for you to send your own ideas on what the content of a stage 2 bid should look like or indeed your own wish for your own organisation to be a partner in that bid by emailing Philip.connolly@disabilityrightsuk.org

In the autumn the three partners aim to produce a short state of the art report on digital fabrication and disability. WE will also be producing a report to the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme and will update this account with the weblink to these reports in due course.

We wish to express our appreciation to Ultimaker (distributors of 3 D printers) and the Shaw Trust for their additional sponsorship of the conference.