Blog Listings

MadLab festivities in Blackburn!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

In the run up to Christmas, MadLab is heading over to Blackburn to get involved with ‘Blackburn is Open’, a scheme that sees disused shops being transformed into pop-up-art centres. Wayne Hemingway, the backing behind the scheme, hopes that this will revive Blackburn’s empty streets and inspire a new community of budding entrepreneurs and creatives in the heart of Lancashire.

blackburn is open 5

blackburn is open 3
To kick off the sessions we sent MadLab’s Technical Coordinator and Maker extraordinaire James Medd to teach kids how to make their own flashing Christmas decorations. The Solder-a-star workshop gives children a chance to practice their electronics skills by soldering a simple LED circuit on to a star shaped circuit board resulting in a flashing Xmas star. There were lots of willing enthusiasts at the session and we even overheard one participant telling his Dad- ‘I don’t want Ice Skates for Christmas anymore Dad.. I want a soldering iron!’. N’awww! It warmed our hearts!

Following this brilliant start and in keeping with the DIY-Xmas theme, we had Katie Steckles from Manchester Girl Geeks run a Maths Christmas Tree Decoration workshop. The lovely Katie will also run the next two sessions, the first of which is a Soft Electronics workshop where participants will be given the opportunity to sew their own bright-eyed critters (12 Dec).

Little monsters that Katie will be teaching how to circuit and sew!

Little monsters that Katie will be teaching how to circuit and sew!


Following that, Katie will have robotics and arts colliding with the Brushbot session (19 Dec), a workshop that teaches you how to make robotic paintbrushes using paper motors and bristles.

Blackburn is Open is running right up until Christmas and will include a Pop-up arts centre where Artisans can sell their work, Town Hall Square events and two mini festivals with a pop-up cinema. Head over to support the scheme and get involved with some MadLab events!

Young Rewired State 2013 – the film

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

They came, they saw, they coded. For the fourth year in a row, MadLab has been hosting young programmers during Young Rewired State. This years Festival of Code has been more popular than ever, with an additional three centres in Greater Manchester (MadLab, Media City, Oldham College). MadLab hosted 26 eager young coders during a week in August.

How did they get on? Watch the film below to find out!

Young Rewired State 2013 at Manchester Digital Laboratory from Prohyena on Vimeo.

Thanks to our centre lead DJ, all the mentors, filmmaker Maria, YRS, and of course all the young participants!

See you next year!

Revolution in North Korea – North Korea’s marketisation talk review

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

First published on Northern Soul 22nd July 2013. Written by Alfred Searls

North Korea

Joseph Park is 31 years old, a defector from North Korea and a prophet of the revolution. In his former homeland the revolution in question is already under way and, to borrow Gil Scott-Heron’s memorable phrase, the revolution will not be televised because this time it’s going to be marketised. As Joseph tells it the whole process may well now be unstoppable. All this and virtually no one outside North Korea has even noticed it’s begun.

The MadLab Network Survey!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

It’s summer, and the time of year that MadLab turns it’s eyes to self-reflection. This time, we’re developing a network diagram of the users, communities, organisations, companies and agencies that frequent our doors – not just of direct visitors, but the whole range of beneficiaries around MadLab. We’re planning to make this resource available on our website, but for now – we have to collect this information!

If you have a few minutes – please fill in our survey!

A first pass at a MadLab network map

BCS’s first-pass network map

Why are we doing this? Well, we know that MadLab is a critical crunch-point for Manchester’s digital and creative communities. We also know that lots of informal – and not-so-informal – relationships form here, which we’re curious about. It’s important for us in terms of us being able to assess our impact and reach, which is what we’re trying to paint a picture of. This isn’t the first time this has been tried – Chris at the BCS tried to map out the networks at MadLab, but it developed into too large a project to handle! We’re hoping to build on Chris’ work, not just at the relationships between group level, but also looking at key people and other agencies – in short…


MadLab Raspberry Pi + Scratch workshop in Korea

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

On a sunny Saturday on the 11th of May, MadLab was invited to speak and run a physical computing workshop for Anyang Public Art Project (APAP)’s Making Lab (만들자 연구실) in South Korea. It was a wonderful experience meeting people from the other side of the world who are into creative technologies as much as MadLab.APAP workshop