British Council Creative Economy

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16 December 2016

Calling all UK makers! Opportunity to travel to Shenzhen

We are working with some of Shenzhen's leading makerspaces and creative organisations to host three week residencies in Shenzhen for makers living and working in the UK. APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED

Each of our six host partners is looking for UK makers to suit to their organisation's specific needs and objectives. The residencies will take place between 6 - 24 March 2017. The selected makers will fly to Shenzhen the weekend of 4 March and will be invited to stay until 28 March to take part in celebration events in Shenzhen at the end of the residencies. On 2 March selected participants will have the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh to take part in a Global Maker Event with makers and experts from Shenzhen, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey, Mexico, Ukraine and the UK. 

Find out more about the residency opportunities below:

1. Design process and creative problem-solving, hosted by Design Society

Using a selection of objects from the museum as a learning tool and inspiration, the residency will explore how making can be used to develop skills and understanding of the design process and creative problem-solving for children and young people. In addition to creating innovative making activities for children and young people we hope that the makers will also give inspiration to the museum’s learning and events team.

Looking for… A maker interested in maker education, with experience working with children and young people. A Maker passionate about creating innovative activities that engage learners with design, making and creativity to solve real problems within Shenzhen’s communities. Interested in design thinking, problem-solving, rapid prototyping, participatory design and creative play.

2. Fab City Now hosted by Future+

Fab City is a global initiative with the goal of creating “a new urban model for locally productive and globally connected self-sufficient cities”. This residency will explore the urban villages and their existing infrastructures to create the type of lifestyle and urban process that best achieve the objective of the Fab City and inform the other cities interested in the initiative of best practices.

Looking for… A maker with good understanding and experience of maker spaces and their tools, materials and possibilities. A maker with strong interest in urban design, public arts and working collaboratively with the local community. The resident will produce objects for the space with locally available production methods and resources. 

3. MakerEd for Social Impact hosted by Litchee Lab

Litchee Lab is an active grassroots makerspace in Shenzhen with an emphasis on education. The goal of MakerEd is to build students’ awareness of their own community and to empower them to improve it through their own creativity and skillsets. We aim to work with a UK maker to find a way to design curriculum for creative problem-oriented project-based learning (PBL) and encourage educators of doing this instead of the easier to control skill-oriented teaching.

Looking for…The ideal resident will be eager to understand China, interested in MakerEd, a creative problem solver, storyteller, and experienced in bringing design thinking into education. It will be even better if the resident is active in the UK’s maker community and working on their own MakerEd related projects so that he/she can share his/her experience with other makers in UK effectively. 

 4. Make amazing things hosted by Makeblock

 Makeblock is an open source and educational programmable robot kit building platform. Using aluminium parts, electronic modules and software solutions, makers use Makeblock products to build varieties of robots such as wheeled or tracked vehicles, robot arm, 3D printers. The residency will explore how a UK maker could collaborate with the Makeblock team in Shenzhen to prototype a product or kit that would be of interest to the UK audience. The resident will take part in one of Makeblock's 24 hours hackathons with our engineers and then refine the prototype during the remaining time of the residency.

Looking for… A maker with a strong interest in robotics or mechanical structures, with knowledge of our kits (or similar) to apply a creative mind to prototyping

5.  3D printing for innovative applications, hosted by Pineprint

 Pineprint provides 3D printing solutions and design modelling services. The residency is looking to produce creative designs to suit the various 3D printing equipment available in the office and lab. The goals are: joint development of new products and exploring 3D printing art installations.

Looking for… A maker experienced in rapid prototyping process and 3D printing techniques, with a strong interest in new media art or creative design thinking. The ideal resident will have knowledge of commercial product development and will be active in the design industry.

6. How to improve life in rural village with Fablabs, jointly hosted by SZOIL, Shanzhai City and Future+

The key area of interest is to bring the best practices of environmental focused Fab Lab and makers projects around the world to improve lives in rural farm villages in China. The resident will work with Shanzhai City team and rural villages near Shenzhen to gain understanding of the rural farm lives and plan deployment of some of the projects that may benefit the villages.

Looking for… A maker with experience with environmental focus open source projects, good understanding and experience with Fablab equipments mixed with an interest in working in a rural community and traditional craftsmanship.

What support will the residents receive?

  • From the British Council, residents will receive a bursary of £2,500 in the form of a grant. This bursary is to cover subsistence, local travel and materials.
  • The British Council will also book and pay for an economy class return flight from the UK to Hong Kong and accommodation in Shenzhen. The British Council will also arrange a visa for China for the selected candidate.

What is expected of the residents?

  • To embed yourself in the UK context and work collaboratively with the host organisation to explore the proposed theme or project
  • To write at least two blog posts for British Council Creative Economy website and document your experience through photos/videos
  • Regularly update your social media platform
  • Complete evaluation questionnaires
  • Share the outcomes of your residency with the public/your networks in the UK

To apply you need to:

  • Be a maker and/or creative practitioner looking to develop your practice
  • Be a resident of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland)
  • Be over 18 at the time of applying
  • Be proactive and a self-starter
  • Demonstrate your interest and/or work in the subjects that our partners have indicated
  • Able to explain how the international residency may benefit your career development
  • Read through what our partner hosts offer and what they are looking for
  • Choose your preferred host which is most suited to your interest or work

How to apply:

Selection process:

  • This will be done by a panel consisting of British Council, the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation and Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab
  • Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed via telephone on the mornings of 18 and 19 January
  • Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by the end of January 2017

Any questions?

Please contact or 

Hello Shenzhen is developed in partnership with Liz Corbin, Institute of Making, University College London

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

With thanks to Kickstarter for their in-kind support