MIXHAUS: Townsville’s First hackmake space

By Ally Lankester

MIXHAUS is a community-operated mobile hackmake space for the Townsville community. The community-led living lab initiative came out of the 2015 Townsville StartUp weekend in response to a call put out by the Fostering Digital Participation Project to provide funding support for a creative entrepreneurship and social change initiative. Following the weekend, a team of people from local institutions (La Luna Youth Arts, TCC CityLibraries, James Cook University and StartUp Townsville) collaborated to facilitate community engagement and coordinate the design and building of the space. A decision was made by the team to purchase a shipping container, create a transportable ‘pop-up’ maker space and run community workshops.

An online survey and planning workshop gathered community input into the kinds of visions, activities, equipment and skill sharing people desired for the space. People said they would like to learn photography, new digital technology, interactive new media art, graphic design, performance installations/participatory art, 3D printing art, virtual reality, computer developed programming, app and web development, software development, digital privacy, open source data mining and programming, home automation, data aggregations and prototypes (Aduino and sensors) and robotic applications. People were also interested in the space becoming an opportunity for cross-generational engagement, exciting social situations, building a creative community, collaborating with people across sectors/disciplines, an idea factory, jobs (from ideas), self-help workshops (e.g. fix and reuse items) and having a regular informal open workshop ‘Hacky Hour’.

Following a series of community working bees to design and fit out the container, where social connections and DIY learning occurred, Townsville now has its first maker space. The space is generating a lot of interest and enthusiasm from the community with talk of taking it to places all over the region to run workshops, including schools and rural areas. Three community workshops at different locations are being held in May 2016 to launch the maker hacker space with a focus on creative arts and digital technologies/engineering (STEAM); sewing conducive thread and LED lights into fabric and making LED badges, mini-robots and temperature sensors.

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mixhaus/

Website in development: http://www.mixhaus.com.au

Digitville blog: https://digitville.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/watch-this-hackmake-space/

The MIXHAUS space will be a great opportunity to connect hybrid creators and retain creative skilled people in our community, offer succession opportunities and enhance the sustainability of our community.

(Townsville Youth Arts Worker)

This is an opportunity for ‘culture jamming’: an exciting place to enhance digital literacy and opportunities for young people to collaborate, develop and share digital, technology and creative skills and ideas and use these ideas to solve problems and look at the world in new ways.

(Local freelance Video Producer/Marketing Material Designer)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.