During 2013 Peter Parnes, Tovah Parnes and Agneta Hedenström started Luleå Makerspace. Soon they will be moving to Kyrkogatan 2. This non-profit association opens the doors to a creative workshop which is equipped with 3D printers and sewing machines. They welcome you to join in.
The maker culture, with creativity in focus, is a worldwide trend. Based on traditional handcrafting, it also incorporates modern technology, such as 3D printing, which has become both more available and more affordable. In February, addressing the nation, US president Barack Obama said, "3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make just about everything”. The first-ever White House Maker Faire was also held this year.
In the 1990s, digital pioneer and Luleå resident Peter Parnes started a company called Marratech, whose web conferencing system was later sold to Google. For a while, he also worked as the company's development manager. Today, Parnes is a professor at Luleå University of Technology and teaches in the distributed systems subject area.
Why did you start Luleå Makerspace?
"I'm passionate about encouraging young people's interest in technology, since it will influence their career choices, as well as other choices in life. Adults can sometimes kill enthusiasm for these subjects by showing a lack of interest and giving the impression that they are complicated. Therefore, Luleå Makerspace is open to everyone and it is a place where young people can create and learn together."
What do you hope it will lead to?
"In a broader socio-political perspective, the labour market will demand this type of competency. It is therefore important to encourage children at a very young age to learn about technology and programming."
How good are we at this in Sweden?
"In the US they have realized that this is the future. We need to teach more about technology in Swedish schools. Too much focus is placed on hardware, instead of what we can actually do with computers. They shouldn't just be used as typewriters," says Peter Parnes.
At the end of the year Luleå Makerspace will move to Bergströmska gården, Luleå's only remaining merchant's house. The building is on Rådstugatan and will become a creative meeting place with office space, labs and a café.