Mentoring Programme

What is the Critical Making Mentoring Programme about?

How can you advance your product innovation based on openness and critical thinking? We are inviting makers & innovators globally to take part in the journey towards shaping a sustainable future of making. All mentoring sessions will take place online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.

The programme is open to people working on fostering sustainable innovation in three categories:

Open Science Hardware

Social Innovation

Environmental Sustainability

When could you say your maker innovation or project is contributing to Sustainability? To find an answer for this question, we suggest looking into the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But to help you a bit, we have provided some examples so you can already now begin reflecting on which SDGs your project contributes to!

About Critical Making

Critical Making is a partnership to encourage responsible research & innovation to foster open access, inclusiveness and positive change across the global maker community.

Together, we add scientific insights into the potential of the maker movement and set up activities that focus on critical and socially responsible making. We aim to show how these communities can offer new opportunities for young makers of all genders to contribute to an open society via open source innovation.

Partners are ZSI, Global Innovation Gathering, VTT, TU Berlin and Wikifactory.

Programme Outline

Entry interview (June): Despite the name, this is more than an interview: This is a place for you to stop and think about your project, the sustainability values you are currently promoting and various ways in which your project could be even better for you, your community, our ecosystem and the world we live in!

Workshop series: The workshops consist of a pre-recorded talk from a mentor with extensive experience in the theme they are presenting and an interactive session where the theme will be further discussed and you get to ask all your questions. Each workshop has a different mentor, so during the series, you will learn from many distinct perspectives and themes. All workshops are collective – in a group mentoring setting, you will learn not only from the mentors, but also other mentees as you get to discuss the themes together!

  • Workshop 1 – Make Things That Make Sense: At this first workshop, we consider the general sense of maker projects. What are the problems you are trying to tackle with your making? How do we consider ethical aspects when making? 
  • Workshop 2 – Share How You Make: In the second workshop of the series, we work with questions of sharing and reproducibility of innovations. Sharing is not a simple task, if you wish for others to be able to remake and remix what you have made. 
  • Workshop 3 – Include Ecosystem Services: The third workshop of the series focuses on the environment you are working in. How do you and your innovation interact with your ecosystem?
  • Workshop 4 – Integrate Local Knowledge: In this workshop, you will learn about different solutions that are found through co-design or other human-centred design practices, where local knowledge beyond your own makerspace is utilized. 
  • Workshop 5 – Build for Continuity: The last workshop of the series zooms in on financial questions. How can making be financially sustainable? Here, you will be presented with tools to build a self-sustaining, continuous making practice. 

Demo week (December): Finish your documentation and present your results to the world.

Exit interview (January): In the end of the programme, you will have another chance to reflect on your making practices! In the exit interview, you will get to reflect on how your making has changed during the mentoring program together with other attendees.

Why should you apply?

You will get…

  • group teaching and mentoring from experts in the field;
  • tools to demonstrate and improve the “critical” impact of your project;
  • the opportunity to work with other makers from a global network, sharing and making together!
  • 500€ to funding for materials to create and document your prototypes in the beginning of the programme
  • 500€ at the end for your completed documentation
  • and of course: get a certificate for participation 🤓

You should apply if you are…

  • associated with a makerspace or an active maker group;
  • maintaining, making, manufacturing or repairing something;
  • willing to demonstrate your impact on the world;
  • wanting to openly share and showcase your project;
  • engaged in gender equity in technologies;
  • open to participate in a research project;
  • wanting to take time for a few hours of active participation per month

Where else can you get support?

Learn more…

Apply now or soon …

  • if one of your team members has German residency: apply to the Prototype Fund Hardware: (until 15 June 2022)
  • if you’d like to work on Frugal Innovation together with industry partners, watch out for the challenges of the EU funded FRANCIS project: (several countries)

Great! Are you ready?

To apply, you will need to fill out a quick application form. Make sure that you copy and complete this template before submitting entering the application form!

Step 1: Describe your project, and your motivation to participate.
Step 2: Submit your application via this link!

You will have the opportunity to describe your project in a video (maximum length 1 minute). If you wish to do so, please record it in advance!

Do you have any questions about the programme?