Makerspaces in the UK

Key findings from an open dataset on makerspaces in the UK.

The innovation charity Nesta has created an open dataset on makerspaces – looking at location, space, tools and materials, membership, users, amenities, services, external relationships, legal structure and challenges.   

An infographic has also been created to summarise some of the key findings it has gathered from nearly 100 makerspaces in the UK.

The most popular tools on offer in UK’s makerspaces are digital fabrication tools including 3D printers.  Hand tools, electronics and woodworking tools are the next most popular.  Half of makerspaces have computing tools.

The data shows that makerspaces are well connected to their communities as well as to other makerspaces.  Some are running school or affiliated programmes such as Raspberry Jams.

Apart from visiting to make things, users of makerspaces are using them to socialise and to learn.  Most makerspaces offer additional services including training and informal help and support.    The majority of makerspaces have some form of membership although most of these do welcome the public during set hours.  Members of makerspaces are predominantly male.

Other findings

  • 47% of the makerspaces were founded by informal groups
  • 33% were founded by organisations/businesses
  • Revenues vary dramatically and are generated by a broad range of income sources including catering, training, space hire, sponsorship and donations
  • 42% are staffed by volunteers; 42% by part- or full-time technicians
  • 28% welcome dogs!

Nesta is calling for more work and analysis to be carried out on the data.

Source: Nesta with thanks to Alison McNab.