Dream. Think. Make
A collaborative making space for radical collaboration and the manifestation of big visions 2016-ongoing
I Co-founded UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio in Dec 2016 with a collaborative team of engineers and artists. STEAM is a collaborative making space at UNC Asheville that exists to engage students, faculty, staff and community partners in designing, building, making, creating, and crafting objects and experiences. While the space is equipped with tools for manifesting the tangible, we emphasize the process of making the intangible; the human connections built through collaboration, the community that is constructed through conversation, feedback, and the sharing of ideas and experiences. The studio is designed to be reconfigured whenever a project demands it. We left nearly 4,000 SqFt open where only workbenches and tools on wheels reside. As makers, we should be living in a place of change where we are comfortable with failing and then iterating until we get it right. Our space should reflect that and be open to what might emerge.
We use the term making space as opposed to maker space to emphasize the process rather than the individual. We recognize the role of the individual in the process and the importance of each contribution. But when we focus on the process, we start to value the intangible, the contribution of the individual to the community. We value and honor the connection and the intention of the individual. We can start to ask the question of why we are making the things we are making. We can start to understand our intentions as designers and makers.
Meaningful Change Though Cross-Disciplinary Work
We, as humans, tend to box ourselves into an identity. We limit ourselves and our understanding of our own worth. We do this to ourselves and our social constructs corroborate. At STEAM studio we are building community through interdisciplinary, intergenerational, interinstitutional, and interpersonal collaboration. We are breaking down the arbitrary walls we build around ourselves. Part of making/building is deconstruction and demolition. We have to process raw materials and start with a solid foundation. We must deconstruct the limits we have put on ourselves, the containers we find ourselves in and spill over. It can be messy at times, but through creativity, collaborative spirits, communication, intention, and open hearts, we can reconstruct lasting, sustainable, and responsible platforms for engagement and meaningful change.
We have a responsibility to humanity to work together. If we isolate ourselves and barricade our ideas and creativity we will wither, both as individuals and as a collective being. UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio equips our students, faculty, staff, and partners with the tools needed to make change. Many classes taught at STEAM engage directly in service learning where students tackle a challenge in their community. In addition to courses, STEAM offers K-12 programming where young students from the area come to STEAM to learn how to use tools and solve problems.