FabLab Festival: an historic 4th edition

From 6 to 10 May, the FabLab Festival in Toulouse welcomed the majority of French FabLabs. Meeting for the first time in the Artilect premises in Toulouse, they took a major step towards the creation of a national network, while at the same time opening up to the general public.

In the premises of Artilect in Toulouse, where part of the festival took place.

Difficult to take in everything when attempting to analyse the 4 days of the FabLab Festival. Over 40 exhibitors, presentations and workshops, crowds of visitors and even drone races....Too many points of interest to be able to summarise everything that happened during the 4 days of the festival, but here are some highlights.

Building a national network

A day reserved for the makers, the Thursday enabled the labs to work together. Getting together in workshops, the participants were able to debate various issues: what structure for a lab? How to communicate? How to create and run a FabLab? A wide range of questions that helped to bring out new ideas and shared solutions when the working groups reported back.

The cornerstone of these discussions was the desire to create a national network of FabLabs. During the course of the discussions and debates, various objectives became clear for the network: growth of the labs over the long term, visibility and consistency. At the same time, the question of governance arose: how to organise the labs to work together towards shared objectives? Finally, and at the end of a long day of reflection, the majority of labs present committed to the creation of a national network. Although differences of opinion remain, an initial working session planned for 8 June should help to lay the foundations for a common approach

Future of the labs and solidarity

Apart from building a network of FabLabs, there were presentations on numerous subjects. Among these were the technical development of the FabLabs, which was thoroughly discussed during the presentation made by Yves Duthen "Morphology of systems: how to grow machines". This subject gave a glimpse of the potential for virtual life and perhaps the future of the FabLabs.

The field of design was also the subject of a presentation posing the question of aesthetics in digital creation. Finally, a round table discussion was devoted to the relationship between FabLabs and solidarity. Can a FabLab be of use during an humanitarian crisis? How to open the doors of a FabLab to young people in difficulty? Legitimate questions to which some initiatives, such as les FabLabs solidaires or the Red Cross RedFab project have found answers.

A success with the public

The other aim of the festival was to open up to the public and encourage exchanges with the makers. From the very start of the weekend, workshops and presentations followed on from each other. Two intense days to, among other things, initiate the public into programming and digital design or simply explain the philosophy of the FabLabs. The result was that the hall was quickly filled and some people had to wait at the entrance. In the end, 5,000 people came along to drink in the FabLab culture over the weekend.

The FabLab movement is growing quickly and there are projects to create new labs all over the country. By supporting the movement with the beginnings of a national network and opening up to the public, this 4th edition of the FabLab Festival is a milestone, but only pending next year, which should see the FabLab movement expand even further.

Find out more

Discussion: come and talk to us on Twitter with the hashtag #fablabsolidaire.

FabLab Festival : catch up with all the Festival tweets at #FabFest.

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