Projects, entertainment, specialist knowledge: That was the Maker Faire 2021 Digital Edition

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On June 18, 2021 at 11 a.m. the time had come: the first Maker Faire Hannover – Digital Edition was opened. After the Maker Faire 2020 had to be canceled due to Corona, it should finally start again digitally and virtually – and not half-heartedly, but as close as possible to the experience we all expect from a Maker Faire: getting to know makers personally, projects up close experience, entertainment and expertise. The program was huge:

  • Showcase – Makers, initiatives and companies presented themselves at over 90 virtual stands, as well as the BMBF, the Hanover region and the Hanover Chamber of Crafts
  • Knowledge hub – our specialist conference. The short presentations dealt with various maker topics, supplemented by a panel discussion
  • Entertainment show – live from the Heise studio, with external contributions, physics experiments, workshop insights and more
  • Roundtables – topics were discussed in depth in virtual rooms and networking was promoted.

At the virtual booth of the FabLab Munich: Andreas shows the extruder for metal printing.

A digital Maker Faire is not only an organizational, but also a technical challenge and, to our enthusiasm, everything worked out great. Of course, it jerked here and there – be it in the end device, with mysterious video problems or for exhibitors and guests who were temporarily unable to log in. All in all, everything went smoothly and surprisingly smoothly, for such a new and complicated format.

Thanks to the good press and diligent application – especially from the exhibitors – we were able to record over 2,400 registrations from visitors. In addition, more than 1,600 people watched on Youtube and Twitch. The number of exhibitors far exceeded our expectations and shows us that Maker: Inside is a very loyal, pleasant and productive community, even in the virtual space.

Johannes workplace during the entertainment show

If you missed the Maker Faire – Digital Edition: the entertainment show and the knowledge hub will be there soon on the Make YouTube channel again. The projects of the participants will be on within the next few weeks Make Projects to be found. And make a note of September 10-11, 2022, when we will see you again in person at the Maker Faire Hanover.

The show acts and maker icons generated a lot of enthusiasm in the stream on YouTube and online in the conference software. Sabine Wieluch aka “bleeptrack” is a maker and artist and was connected live. Sascha Ott showed, among other things, fiery wax explosions in which a supposedly harmless tea light becomes a spectacular ball of fire. The Recording of the entertainment show can be found on Youtube, the knowledge hub will follow a little later on ours Make Magazine Channel.

The Make editorial team was also represented with a virtual booth. She also presented topics in the knowledge hub, took part in flaming discussions and made some contributions to the “Did you know?” Section, a feature in the entertainment show. At our roundtable, we offered the opportunity to simply chat with the editors, make article suggestions, ask complicated questions about a project or pick a chicken with us.

And there were really a lot of great suggestions from you, thank you for that! We have noted down all of your suggestions and wishes. We were also pleased that our round table had the most relaxed atmosphere and was very cozy. We’ll fix that next time.

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Rebecca Husemann (rehu): I thought it was really nice! I thought I would be totally flat afterwards, but on the contrary, I was very energized and motivated. It was especially wonderful at our booth to chat in such a cozy atmosphere and to exchange ideas directly with readers. That was something very special. It’s also cool how many makers we were able to offer a platform again. On many projects I say “I need that too!” called. The Kickstarter campaign from Kitty I also promptly supported.

My highlights were definitely the routine moderation of the knowledge hub and entertainment show, even if there were technical errors. In addition, the huge number of exhibitors and the endless oversupply of programs with something for everyone. The construction of the disco ball in the entertainment show was also exciting until the last minute. I also found the short introduction by ct’-colleague Jan Mahn to programming with Arduino, RasPi and Co in the knowledge hub very charming.

Carsten Wartmann (caw): For me it was the first Maker Faire in the editorial team of Make Magazine. And it was the first fair that I experienced purely digitally. In fact, before the event, I didn’t believe it could be so interesting and work so well. Well, the technology can always spin, but how does it work between the participants? The human interaction that is so important at trade fairs?

In our roundtable there was often a living room feeling. I noticed – very subjectively – more in-depth and longer conversations than are possible at the real exhibition stand. Perhaps we should also get this format for face-to-face events. But maybe it won’t work at all without the screen and camera barrier? The evening get-together, on the other hand, made me wistful – a cool drink, but everyone alone in front of the computer.

Whether in presence or digitally: as an exhibitor you never have enough time to visit the stands, at least that is a constant. I hope that my next Maker Faire with Make Magazine will take place again in a familiar setting.

Stella Risch (stri): I spent a lot of time at the make booth and thought it was great to be able to see and hear you in person. I used to visit Maker Faires occasionally, but now I’ve been able to look at the digital one from a different perspective. I would have liked to have had more time so that I could “walk over” and visit all the stands. The stands I saw were so beautifully decorated and it was cool to see all of the personal greetings and videos.

Nicole Wesche, Layouterin der Make: I couldn’t imagine a digital Maker Faire at all, since trade fairs – and especially these – live from strolling, spontaneously discovering, touching and participating. Accordingly, I approached the digital format with skepticism. Ultimately, I was overwhelmed by the huge offer, but that was tempered by the clear structure of the platform. There was a successful mix of knowledge, projects and entertainment. I had fun exploring the booths for five hours while running the knowledge hub. Unfortunately, the entertainment program came up a bit short for me. As a mother, I found the final discussion on the MINT professions particularly informative.

So it was an extremely successful premiere for me. Certainly it cannot replace the face-to-face fair, but it can regularly supplement it in a smaller form.


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