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26 January 2017

Hello Shenzhen: meet the UK makers

Our open call to UK makers for residency opportunities in Shenzhen received many exciting applications and we are now very pleased to announce the selected makers.

Through in-depth residencies the Hello Shenzhen programme aims to build stronger links between UK and Chinese making practices, supporting meaningful collaboration and deepening learning between the two countries. The recipients will work with our host partners in Shenzhen on a variety of themes, including maker education, sustainability and product design innovation.

The makers will immerse themselves in the rich Shenzhen making and manufacturing ecosystem and work collaboratively on the residency projects with local makers, designers, academics, startups or creative organisations. The recipients will regularly record their journey through blogs, photos and videos and share the outcomes of their residency during public events.

The six makers will fly to Shenzhen over the weekend of 4 March and will be invited to stay until 28 March to take part in celebratory events in Shenzhen at the end of the residencies. On 2 March they will also 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, as well as attend Maker Assembly Edinburgh.

Find out more about the selected makers below:

Jo Ashbridge

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

Jo Ashbridge is the Founder and Director of architecture charity, AzuKo. The nonprofit works with disadvantaged communities to improve living conditions, both in the UK and further afield such as Bangladesh. AzuKo is an organisation that believes in the power of participatory design to address some of the world’s toughest problems.

Jo’s passion lies in humanitarian work, disaster relief response and sustainable development. Her portfolio includes constructing one room shelters in Vietnam, authoring guidelines for T-shelters post disaster and researching earthen architecture in low income communities across south Asia.

In 2015, Jo consulted for the World Bank assessing their cyclone shelter programme along the Bay of Bengal and providing design, maintenance and operational improvements. Current work at AzuKo ranges from incremental slum upgrading and remote school playspace design in northwest Bangladesh, to placemaking research responding to unforced evictions in London.

Integral to her work is the idea of prototyping and learning through doing. She’s keen to get hands-on and is not afraid to fail as that’s where she believes we gain the greatest insights.

Jo is determined to grow the impact of participatory design, and regularly speaks on architecture for international development. This year she joins the jury for Shelter Global’s international Dencity competition (

Ross Atkin

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

Ross Atkin is a designer and engineer based in East London. He is interested in digital technology, older and disabled people and public space. He maintains an independent practice where he works on projects than combine at least two of these areas for clients like Marshalls, Transport for London and Stannah.

Ross has a strong interest in making design and engineering more visible and accessible to young people. He was part of the 'Fix Team' on the BBC2's flagship maker-focused program 'The Big Life Fix' and started The Crafty Robot to radically lower the barriers for young people to getting into creative making.

Ross’s work has been displayed in the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year exhibition and Fast Company Magazine’s Innovation By Design Awards. He is also recognised internationally as an expert on the Internet of Things having been invited to speak on the subject at high profile technology and design conferences from San Francisco and Austin to Johannesburg and Beirut.

Martin Goodfellow

Make amazing things hosted by Makeblock

Martin is a computer science educator and maker, with a strong interest in robotics. Martin develops and consults on educational software and making workshops. Past projects include Hackstage Pass, a coding game for BBC Radio 1’s big weekend to get more teenagers interested in coding. Currently, Martin is Coder in Residence for Glasgow Life which involves developing a sustainable framework of CoderDojo coding clubs for young people throughout Glasgow's Libraries.

Katrine Hesseldahl and Victor Strimfors

Fab City Now hosted by Future+

Katrine is currently studying a Master Degree in Product Design at Royal College of Art in London and calls herself "Maker of invitations to positive change". Her work aims to intrigue, interest and invite people to take steps in the direction towards a more sustainable, fair, fun and beautiful future for our society. She is deeply concerned with the scale and complexity of the problems our world is facing today, e.g. climate change, pollution, overuse of our resources, social inequality, and feels a natural responsibility to be part of creating solutions for these problems. For the residency in Shenzhen Katrine is working on a new model for sustainable distributed manufacturing of products in collaboration with Victor Strimfors.

Victor is currently studying a Master's Degree in Product Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Focusing on sustainability and human centered design on the Exploring Emergent Futures Platform, tutored by James Tooze and Tomas Diez. Victor graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Product Design from Central Saint Martins in 2014 and has 3 years professional experience working at the forefront of mass customisation and digital manufacturing, designing customisable products, concepts and experiences.For the residency in Shenzhen Victor is working on a new model for sustainable distributed manufacturing of products in collaboration with Katrine Hesseldahl.

Laura Martinez

3D printing for innovative applications, hosted by Pineprint

Laura Martinez is a Spanish researcher and designer based in London. Martinez’s work explores the boundaries between digital technologies and craftsmanship, questioning how traditional, craft techniques can be implemented and combined with digital processes. With over ten years experience working in the areas of fashion, art and textiles, she specialises in technology and material research for surface design.
Martinez holds a MA in Design for Material Futures from Central Saint Martins (UAL) and a diploma in Fashion Design from the University of East London.

Helen Steer

MakerEd for Social Impact hosted by Litchee Lab

Helen Steer is an educator, maker and award-winning educational writer. She believes in learning through making, doing and playing. Helen has delivered projects for National Geographic, Intel Education and National Parks. Her favourite makes last year were a wearable synth, a remote control robot unicorn and a 3D printed xun.

Helen is the founder of Do It Kits, a start up that makes it fun and easy to teach with new technologies. Do It Kits get new technologies and maker methodologies into STEAM secondary school classrooms, delivering robust learning in a playful, hands-on way.

Hello Shenzhen is a partnership between the British Council, The Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation and Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab.

Hello Shenzhen is developed in partnership with Liz Corbin, Institute of Making, UCL

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

With thanks to Kickstarter for their in-kind support