The Future Makers Collective (FMC) is a group of students, educators, researchers, industry experts, creative professionals and cultural and professional institutions coming together to explore and support creative practice in the field of media and emerging technologies. FMC examines the emerging nexus of creative media and new developments such as VR/AR/XR, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, wearable technologies etc, with a particular interest in their implications for education and social and political engagement.
Our focus is on the transformative potential of maker culture and maker spaces, aligned with fresh perspectives and better pedagogies, to create more inclusive educational and practice models.
At its heart, FMC is an informal hub for all those interested in sharing expertise and best-practice models, events and information through discussion, collaboration and shared spaces.
The project proposes an investigation into collaborative cultural and creative practice, combined with social and civic engagements that cross disciplinary boundaries, and the implications for deeper learning in an undergraduate, postgraduate and professional context. It is predicated on a culture of collaboration between members, and a spirit of open sharing.
FMC creates opportunities for students to explore creative practice in media and emerging technologies, through collaboration with media students from other HEIs, as well as students from disciplines such as electronic and mechanical engineering, fine art and the sciences. The focus is on emerging technologies and skills and how they might be applied in a local and international higher education setting.
Working with emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), 3D printing, data visualisations, Processing and Arduino technologies, conductive materials and sensor technologies etc., the students collaborate with people from different disciplines surrounding the role of technology. They investigate the impact of emerging technologies and trends in areas such as games and gamification, Internet of Things, natural user interfaces, makerspaces, wearable technologies, rapid prototyping, artificial intelligence (AI), and new forms of immersive environment and content creation, combining these with a culture of sharing, to develop models of collaborative creative practice that break down disciplinary barriers. FMC researchers have been examining how to redesign pedagogies and learning spaces to facilitate this collaborative learning and making, and the co-creation of content across disciplinary areas such as engineering and humanities.
Building on regional, national and international educational partnerships , the project aims to examine and develop to international best practice in the area of politically and socially engaged practice, grounded in local communities but always with an eye to international engagement.
The project aligns with national
priorities, as described in the HEA’s National Strategy for Higher Education:
“The nature of the learning community and the modes of teaching and learning will also change significantly over the coming years. These changes will be supported through innovative approaches to research-led teaching and learning, programme design, student assessment and a quality assurance system – all of which will reflect a new emphasis on nurturing creative and innovative minds.”
The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education states that
“there is also agreement that institutional strategy development should include consideration of new modes of teaching and learning, while ensuring that ‘digital’ is in it’s appropriate context and not perceived as an end in itself”.
Ireland’s National Skills Strategy
2025 has identified the Creative Industries as an area of ‘untapped potential’
and is one of the 2025 Sectoral Ambitions (pg 27). Also the European Commission’s Creative
Europe initiative speaks to the aims of this proposal in the following:
“As the culture sector evolves and changes, so do the skills required of individuals active in the sector. The educational and training needs created by these changes can only be met by an education sector that recognises the change in demand.” European Cultural Forum, ‘Changing Skills’ https://ec.europa.eu/culture/policy/cultural-creative-industries/skills_en)
The researchers involved in this project envisage contributing to this debate and creating models of teaching and learning using emerging technologies that are sustainable in the context of a new higher education landscape in Ireland.
“Higher education institutions are increasingly connecting with broader constituencies of communities and external partners. Collaborating with communities can enhance research and student learning, while addressing societal challenges and issues of public interest. To infuse an ethos of societal and community engagement across institutions, this work needs to be defined, captured, and celebrated.”Measuring Higher Education Civic andCommunity Engagement A Support Framework
In that context Objective Two of the Higher Education System Performance Framework, 2018 -2020 aims to
‘Create rich opportunities for national and international engagement which enhance the learning environment and deliver a strong bridge to enterprise and the wider community’.