Fort Smith, N.W.T., looks at opening a Makerspace
Aurora College South Slave Research Center staff are putting out feelers into the Fort Smith, NWT community, asking if local artists and creators want a makerspace.
Whitney Locken, the South Slave Research Center’s makerspace and TAP coordinator, posted on the Facebook community board Tuesday asking residents to do so fill out a survey this will give the team an idea of interest from local manufacturers.
“Are you a maker or a builder? Do you want to be? Hobby or business, we want to hear from you!” wrote Allure.
Makerspace setups have grown in popularity over the years. Makerspace YK opened in June 2022 at Yellowknife NWT in the former After 8 Pub. And in Inuvik, the The innovation center for arts, crafts and technology opened January 2019.
The idea is to provide the community with a place to access equipment they might otherwise not be able to afford or have space for, as well as a space to create or host workshops.
The space could accommodate anything from pottery, woodwork, metalwork, graphic design and video, stained glass, laser cutting or vinyl cutting to traditional and innovative indigenous activities such as skin scraping or carving.
Aurora College is working with the City of Fort Smith, Thebacha Business Development Services, Northern Life Museum and Cultural Center and Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society to generate interest. They are also open to other potential partnerships within the community.
‘A good opportunity’
Shandi Hunter is manager of the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre. She said it’s a great opportunity for local artists to access gear and develop their craft.
“It would be really great, it would help everyone get out of there,” she said. “There are different ways to learn new things.”
Hunter said they don’t have their own building in mind just yet, but the college, museum and Mary Kaeser Library all have potential spaces to get started and set up stations.
“Maybe the museum would have the sewing machines and the college would have the laser printer,” Hunter said. “If we could find a place to store everything long-term, that would be ideal.”
Hunter said they really hope to hear from the community what kind of gear or space is needed so they can tailor it to those needs.
Locken also pointed out that the idea is still in its early stages.
“I do not understand [too] excited – our first step will be to hold some maker workshops,” she wrote. “As well as talking about and envisioning what a makerspace in Fort Smith might look like.”