Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mayor William Peduto to host roundtable on local Maker Movement
Cable channel to broadcast session on city drive to partner with do-it-yourself programming and initiatives

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 4, 2014) - Mayor William Peduto will be meeting Monday with local members of the Maker Movement to discuss current topics within the maker community, and brainstorm opportunities for collaboration and promotion.

This roundtable event will be broadcast live on the City Channel starting at 2 p.m. Monday, June 9.

Speakers will include: Lisa Brahms from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Rachel Saul from the Society for Contemporary Craft, Paulo Nzambi from Manchester Bidwell and Tom Lauwers from BirdBrain Technologies. The roundtable with the Mayor will be moderated by Debra Lam, the city’s Chief and Director of Innovation & Performance.

The Maker Movement refers to do-it-yourself efforts -- using 3D printers, computer-aided design and other tools -- to make and design things. The movement makes inventors of everyone from trained engineers to elementary school math students.

Partnerships between public and private institutions, foundations and universities within Pittsburgh’s maker community have led to new maker spaces, programming and initiatives which encourage new product development and job skills training in advanced manufacturing techniques.

“I am honored to be a part of the Mayor's roundtable. This is such an exciting time for the city and the arts, as we emerge as a maker hub,” said Saul, the education program coordinator for the Society for Contemporary Craft. “I'm looking forward to meeting with colleagues to discuss the recent developments within the maker movement, and dialogue about future synergies that we can create together."

“Manchester Bidwell Corporation welcomes the Mayor's interest in workforce development and looks forward to continuing its efforts to prepare individuals for the employment opportunities in the Pittsburgh region,” said Nzambi, its executive vice president and COO.

"There has never been a better time to create a maker-based business in Pittsburgh, but that does not mean more can't be done,” said Lauwers, the founder of BirdBrain. “We're thrilled that the new administration is taking an active role in starting a conversation around maker culture, education, and entrepreneurship in the city, and are looking forward to taking part."

“Through our ongoing work with MAKESHOP at the Children's Museum, we have clearly seen the ways in which the presence of making is changing the ways in which visitors relate to the Museum as a space and place for learning. Visitors both young and old are taking the time to develop and apply useful skills and deep knowledge in new ways, but they are also learning together and from one another in new ways: parents and children meaningfully collaborate and share techniques while sewing or connecting a circuit, students ask questions and build on one another's ideas while creating sculptures with recycled materials, and teachers are embracing alternative approaches to instruction,” said Brahms, the museum’s director of learning and research. “We see these kind of experiences as seeds of great change in the city, as interest in making as a learning process quickly grows. This change is  certainly worthy of attention and further investment by the city.”

Over the last several years, Pittsburgh has emerged as a national leader in the Maker Movement. More than $1M in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) grants have been awarded to nearly 80 schools in the region and through new maker spaces thousands of people are now experimenting with arts, technology and design programs.

Based on this momentum, Mayor Peduto has engaged with the White House’s “Mayors Maker Challenge,” a national program aimed at promoting and accelerating local maker communities.

Those interested may tune in to City Channel Pittsburgh during the meeting to learn more about the initiative.

WHAT: Televised roundtable on city of Pittsburgh efforts to accelerate the Maker Movement

WHEN: Monday, June 9, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: City Channel Pittsburgh (Channel 13, Comcast)



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