Tunnel vision in terms of Funder's Objectives

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The problem is…

That potential funding bodies often have specific targeted objectives in terms of their funding remit (e.g. youth employment, or innovation) and only fund partner organisations, facilities or projects that fall 100 per cent within their dedicated remit. These do not map well onto DiDIY spaces/projects. The dynamic of makerspaces/fablabs is that they work in a multi-dimensional manner, with the synergy coming from the achievement of many kinds of goal simultaneously.

The proposed solution might apply when

When makerspaces want to engage in local re-generation and socially beneficial activities, for example, with dis-advantaged or specific target groups, and require outside funding to fulfill this need, and carry out this work.

The solution proposed is…

That funding bodies make special arrangements that recognize communal making facilities and DiDIY making projects are valuable sites for socially beneficial outcomes they may be interested in, from entrepreneurship to well-being, and that makerspaces often meet many disparate and integrated community needs, working, for example, inter-generationally and with a variety of community participants and groups. Partnerships between funding bodies with different but overlapping objectives are set-up, for example bringing together local consortia of university, commercial, school and craft groups and so on. Alternatively, specific funding bodies could be set-up that specialize in promoting makerspaces recognizing their integrated socially beneficial outcomes.

The expected outcome is…

Funders become more open to providing funding to facilities that are less than one hundred percent dedicated to their specific outcomes.

Other information

A step towards the solution may be that research is undertaken that explores the value of integrated communal making facilities in the context of specific streams of public funding for social benefit. Research could potentially develop a perspective and methodology that enables funders to account for specific outcomes within a wider context, and therefore become more open to outcomes and measurements of success that form part of a broader range of targets.


Makerspaces potentially provide an integrated and community route to addressing a range of local and environmental problems and where they are doing socially beneficial work they should be eligible to attract public funding, if appropriate.

Significant influencing factors

Makerspaces often have significant volunteer and community engagement and can be sites for community cohesion and improvement. A vibrant mixed community ethos of sharing and knowledge transfer is often part of their success. They are generally not set-up to fulfill a single measured objective or as a dedicated service for a single external funding body. Whilst they may depend on voluntary engagement and support they also need significant funding and professional expertise to operate in a safe and productive way. They often find it difficult to find a financially sustainable business model from membership fees alone.


DiDIY Deliverable 5.2 reports on case studies of makerspaces in the UK.

Related Patterns

DiDIY “not spots”

Links to further resources

Links to further resources on makerspace access, funding, remit.

Creative United, (July 2016), Making Space, report into funding artist studios and spaces in London: Executive Summary available at: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/f460d188717952a71c76f6315/files/Making_Space_Executive_Summary_FINAL.01.pdf

Dellot, B. (2015). Ours to Master: How makerspaces can help us master technology for a more human end. London: RSA. https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2015/11/8-key-take-aways-from-our-new-report-on-makerspaces

Nesta (2015). Top findings from the open dataset of UK makerspaces | Nesta.org.uk. Available at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/top-findings-open-dataset-uk-makerspaces

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