FAB15 2019

Stories about the New Industrial Revolution.
FAB15 “Collectively Intelligent” was the 15th International FabLab Network Conference and Festival held in El Gouna and Cairo, Egypt, 28 July – 4 August 2019. It was a fantastic introduction to Egyptian fab labs, and more African makers were able to attend the otherwise often inaccessible (due to conference fee and travel costs) event.

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FAB15 venue in El Gouna
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Many of the hands-on craft workshops were held in the inner courtyard.
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The clay workshop was very popular.
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Nadya Peek held another iteration of the Machines that Make Machines MTM workshop. The resulting machines were donated to Egyptian schools for STEAM learning.

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To spur on development of local manufacturing and making networks, a partnerships between the fab lab network and Wikifactory was announced. As is common with these kind of announcements in the network, there was critique rumbling amongst some fablabbers, as such a partnership had not been openly discussed previously and it was seen as an opaque and top-down decision.

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‘Making Change’ was the name of one of the FAB15 panels, with Rohaan Goswami, Ben Lakey, Marta Ajmar and Manu Prakash, moderated by Sherry Lassiter.
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Prakesh’s Foldscope workshop (making accessible, foldable microscopes) was very popular.
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Foldscope workshop
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The UN Sustainable Development Goals continued to grow in prominence as fab labs try to remember their promise of offering more sustainable prosumption offers for people in wealthy as well as low income regions. Often a techno-centric discourse prevails, while there are regular calls to re-adjust and re-align the visions and imaginaries that are being presented. Meanwhile, several fablabbers, supported especially by Pieter van der Heijden, continued with another iteration of the Fab Lab SDGs workshop where they work with SDG aligned fab lab profiles and identifying relevant targets and goals.

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Walter Gonzales Arnao from Peru is a prolific maker, fablabber, educator and researcher particularly on the techniques and philosophies of connecting traditional Latin American craft with digital fabrication technologies. He presented his latest book to FAB15, to our delight.

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Walter’s loom workshops at every FABx event are always popular
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and he presented the research aspects of the book in the Research Papers stream which I co-chair with main chair Peter Troxler.
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We also love the tradition of the massive people-entangling live loom Fabercize that Walter, Jean-Luc and the others put on, since FAB12.
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This year the Fab Lab India Network got our butts moving in their fabulous Bollywood Fabercize session.
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With the FAB15 theme being “Collective Intelligent”, the organizers asked for the distributed, global fab lab community to submit printed parts to a collective Nerfertiti bust

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and volunteers collaborated on building the stand for the bust.
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The Fabricademy distributed learning platform for fashion and textile experimentation and innovation held their annual exhibition of participant works at FAB15.
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Fablabbers soldered …
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… printed…
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… networked, socialized, met new and old friends …
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… printed with pancake dough …
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… made paper …
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… made mosaics from plastic waste …
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… examined code …
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… untangled yarn …
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… and regularly walked over the tent for the plenary discussions and celebrations.
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The 2019 Fab Academy Graduation ceremony. Fab Academy is the first distributed fab lab network education programme on digital fabrication.
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Special musical treat for the graduation party
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Dina El-Zanfaly, founder of FabLab Egypt, and her FAB15 team organized a highly successful event that brought plenty of local media attention to the benefits of the fab lab movement in Egypt, especially for entrepreneurship and education.
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After a successful week of talks and workshops, the participants boarded buses bound for Cairo and the weekend’s Fab Festival.
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This was also a resoundingly successful event where local makers were able to showcase their work.
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Finally, participants were able to visit Fab Lab Egypt, as well as go on sightseeing tours to the Egyptian Museum, the Great Pyramids, Khan El Khalil market and Cairo’s other amazing sights.

For more photos, visit my FAB15 Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmGoF7aH

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