Campus-community partnership launches new maker-in-residence program

Kyungwon Koh
Kyungwon Koh, Associate Professor and Director of the Champaign-Urbana (CU) Community Fab Lab

A new program co-led by the Champaign-Urbana Community (CUC) Fab Lab aims to bridge and enhance the creative capabilities of local maker communities. The Champaign County Community (CCC) Maker-in-Residence Program was recently awarded a $29,293 grant through the Campus-Community Compact to Accelerate Social Justice initiative in the Office of Public Engagement.

The CUC Fab Lab's partners include The Urbana Free Library (primary community partner), Urbana Arts and Culture Program, Grainger IDEA Lab, and the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. The goals of the new program are to forge stronger connections between on- and off-campus maker communities, support makers from diverse backgrounds, and inspire creativity and skill development among Champaign County residents by lowering barriers to making.

In its first year, the CCC Maker-in-Residence Program plans to select and support three makers, who will work on their projects during their residency, offer community workshops, and have access to all the tools and materials available at the partner makerspaces, along with a stipend. Applications for the program are being accepted through March 24. Makers, artists, engineers, and inventors from diverse backgrounds are invited to apply. 

"One of the great things about this inaugural Maker-in-Residence Program is laying a groundwork for connecting various on- and off-campus makerspaces," said Kyungwon Koh, iSchool associate professor and director of the CUC Fab Lab. "Through this collaborative partnership, makers, artists, inventors, and community members will have seamless access to the wonderful maker resources in Champaign County, effectively removing barriers between the university and the surrounding communities. We believe that making and creative outlets have the power to connect people."

"I hope many makers apply and that we get some creative and talented makers to be a part of this inaugural residency program," added Sara Ballenger, program coordinator.