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Road Trips

The Manchester Science Festival 2016

By | 3D design, 3D Printing, Raspberry Pi, Road Trips, robotics, Science, Technology | No Comments

Every now and again the Wavemaker team go on a ‘learning day’, and this week we had one of those days. Last time it was Liverpool, and this time it was another northern powerhouse, the city of Manchester. From the 20th-30th October, Manchester hosted its very own Science Festival. Situated at venues right across the city, it boasts conferences, workshops, family activities and exhibitions covering all the various and wonderful forms of Science.

With only one day allocated to seeing what the Festival had to offer, we had a tight schedule to work with, to ensure we got to see as much as possible. Travelling into Manchester by train, we likened it to the school outings of our youth, turning round and talking through the gap in the chair, full of anticipation and nervous excitement. It’s safe to say the Wavemaker team needs to get out more, but none the less we were looking forward to a day filled with everything science.

First stop on our tour was the Manchester School of Art. A fabulous, modern building situated off the bustling Oxford Street, the Benzie Building was hosting an exhibition titled Mesh. This exhibition, covering the third floor and the mezzanine levels in between, showcased artists creating and experimenting using 3D printers and 3D design. As a space that offers 3D printing, we were intrigued to see what had been created, how far 3D printing can be used in order to make interesting exhibits. The products and creations were simply beautiful, a real mesh of ideas and materials, bring technology well and truly into art.

Our next stop was just up the road at the Manchester Museum, to watch a piece of hand painted stop motion animation called Ocular Bionica, exploring the use of technology in medical advances. This particular piece focused on sight loss, and the ability to regain sight using a microchip placed in the retina. It was a really thought provoking short film, and really showed the possibilities that technology offers in improving our health and quality of life. The museum itself is also fascinating in its own right. For anyone that has never visited, you should. It is a building packed with Egyptian artifacts, fossils and even the skeleton of a T-Rex. With plenty of activities on offer for children, and all for free, it is definitely worth a day spent exploring.

We then trundled to Deansgate, jumped on the Metro and hot footed it down to MediaCity, located on Salford Quays. We were there to see the Silent Signal exhibition, within the University of Salford building. Again a series of shorts and animations, and again there was a continued focus on science, the formation of cells, insomnia, and the beauty of helix. These shorts definitely veered towards the abstract and the arts, but it was great to see the two combined and delve into the art within science.

Back on the tram to Deansgate, we made the short journey to the Museum of Science and Industry, the main hub of the Science Festival. The museum was a hive of activity, with many a half term bee, buzzing from one exhibition stand to the next. We explored space, the catalytic qualities of gold, renewable water systems and even coded our own train signal using the BBC Micro:Bit. The Museum had stalls from all over the country, rooms filled with science professionals and enthusiasts. You could have easily spent hours there, trying out each experiment and learning amazing new things. The Manchester Science Festival had been a hit, and by the time Wavemaker departed, like true festival goers we were exhausted but jubilant. If you’d like any more information about what we saw, or would like to suggest similar activities Wavemaker could host, then get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Wavemaker Road Trip: Liverpool

By | Road Trips, Technology | One Comment

They say creativity never goes out of style and this week the Wavemaker team had the opportunity to visit some of the most creative places around….that makes us hipsters right?

After sitting on the carpark that is the M6 for longer than expected we finally arrived in one of the most creatively emerging and exciting cities of the north….Liverpool!

If you have never visited this city steeped in heritage and culture, book your ticket. After its incredible success as European Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool’s love of the arts has continued to thrive, so much so, that it is now at the forefront of creative media and digital growth across the Northwest and beyond.

With all this in mind, Wavemaker just couldn’t resist the opportunity to pay this flourishing city a visit, a homage to ‘Our Day Out’ but hopefully without the chaos.

Our first port of call was Baltic Creative. Situated in the Baltic Triangle, what was once one of the most dilapidated areas of the city centre; Baltic Creative was established in 2009 to provide creative space that meets the varied needs of the creative and digital sector. As we walked towards the Warehouse that homes this creative hub; cranes, steel and the buzz of transformation frame the city skyline. It is obvious that the innovation of this area isn’t just reserved for the Baltic Creative site itself, it has caused a wave of regeneration within the Triangle and developers are flooding in.

On entrance to Baltic Creative we were welcomed by a warm, light-filled Cafe that is alive with chatter and the smell of fresh coffee. Definitely time for a brew. We were met by Mark Lawler, the Managing Director of Baltic Creative, from that moment we were hooked.

Baltic Creative offers creative and digital individuals and small business the space to work and grow. It has adopted a unique interior, inspired by a visit to a hotel in Copenhagen in which founding members of the Baltic Creative project slept in sheds. This idea obviously sparked a vision and the warehouse now boasts a line of pine sheds, which is home to various small businesses that are forging their way in the growing digital and creative sector.

The modern mix of concrete grey and golden pine presents itself as a very relaxed and comfortable environment in which to work. A variety of break out areas and compact kitchen facilities show that the people at Baltic Creative are dedicated to keeping their tenants happy and therefore productive.

And for those people who are yet to move up the industry ladder and rent a shed space,  desks are available to lease in the Baltic’s ‘Basecamp’. This is an open plan desk space area, filled with the digital innovators of the future. Everything about Baltic Creative is to benefit the people that work there, and as we peaked through a window to see a digital agency playing a competitive game of lunchtime ping-pong it was clear that Baltic Creative is meeting its aims tenfold.

 

After gorging ourselves on the Cafe’s unbelievable bagels, the Wavemaker team then sailed a short distance through the city to DoES Liverpool on Hanover Street.

Although a smaller setup than Baltic Creative, the ethos to provide a space for creative makers in the city is still the same. Even its name, which stands for Do-Epic-Stuff, is a message and perhaps challenge to the people of Liverpool.  Again, there is desk space on offer, on a pay-as-you-go basis, providing members with the flexibility to use the space only when creative juices are in full flow.

In addition to this, DoES Liverpool also houses a range of equipment in its workshop, including a range of laser cutters, 3D printer, soldering station to name but a few. The enthusiasm of Patrick,our guide,  for all things tech and engineering was infectious. From Raspberry Pi’s programmed to play individual entrance music of staff as they swipe into the office to a 3D printed model of the Radio City Tower that even lights up, DoES Liverpool is really encouraging people to think outside of the box by offering a space in which imagination and creativity is king.

 

With brains brimming with inventive and innovative ideas the Wavemaker team have returned to Wavemaker HQ with a renewed vigor to bring to the city of Stoke-on-Trent a place that embodies everything that we have seen on our travels and more! We want to create a space in which learners, makers and experts can work together, be that on digitial or more practical projects, in an environment that can cater to each individual creative need.  On top of all this we recognise the need to reach out to those not yet aware of the sense of accomplishment, success and renewed aspiration that comes with creative making, and this is a mission that Wavemaker is committed to wholeheartedly. Stoke-on-Trent is a city that deserves spaces like this, spaces where people can make, get messy and learn new skills in the process.  At Wavemaker we are striving everyday for just that, for you…yes you!
By Emma Ikoku