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17 September 2017

Hello Shenzhen: Legacy and follow up grants

Discover the supported projects connecting the UK and Chinese maker cultures through collaborative exchange.

In March 2017 makers from Shenzhen and the UK took part in Hello Shenzhen , a three week immersive residency programme. Co-developed between makers and the host organisations, the project aimed to build stronger links between UK and Chinese making practices and covered a variety of themes, including disability, maker education, community development, sustainability and repair culture.

To support the ideas and projects developed during the residencies we provided to all participants the opportunity to apply for follow up grants. Seven projects were selected - find out more about them below. 


Community-led design in Xinguang -Katrine Hesseldahl | Jo Ashbridge | Abby Liu

Rural-urban regeneration and the role of community-led design
AzuKo, Future+ and SZOIL

During her residency in Shenzhen Jo Ashbridge (director of architecture charity, AzuKo) collaborated with local organisations SZOIL and Future+ to bring best practice of environmentally focused maker projects to support livelihoods in rural China. The team ran an international design competition to debate regeneration of rural villages and the role of ‘making’. The work culminated in an exhibition within an ancestral hall in Xinguang village, Guangdong.

Jo will return to China in November to expand her work carried out as part of Hello Shenzhen. She will investigate the challenges of rural-urban regeneration in the Pearl River Delta and what part community-led initiatives play.

This project is a critical exploration and will result in a public showcase in December, as well as the distribution of findings in the form of a report.

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Crafty robot making workshop in Shenzhen - Ross Atkin

Design and making education in Shenzhen
Ross Atkin, Design Society, V&A, Southern University of Science and Technology Experimental Primary School

In March 2017 Ross was the first maker in residence hosted by the Design Society and the V&A learning team in Shenzhen. Together they explored how maker education can be used to engage students and young people with problem solving through making, using objects that will feature in the opening exhibitions of the museum as inspiration.

This new collaboration seeks to build upon the model for designer-led education outreach pioneered during the Hello Shenzhen residency, but to anchor it more firmly within both the museum’s collections and the local Shenzhen design and maker scene.

Ross and the Design Society and V&A team will run a design and making education projectat the Southern University of Science and Technology Experimental Primary School. The workshop resources will be created in a way that means they can be easily and simply reused by the Design Society learning team to repeat the workshop after the museum opens.

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Empowering Maker Educators
Helen Steer, Litchee Lab, SteamHead & SAIS

For their Hello Shenzhen residency the makerspace Litchee Lab hosted the educator and entrepreneur Helen Steer to test and develop materials for their maker education workshops. To build on this learning Helen is returning to Shenzhen to work with Litchee Lab, stay as a maker resident of SteamHead, and teach the educators at the SAIS Project Based Learning school.

Helen will co-develop an Open Source “Introduction to Maker Education” teaching plan in Chinese and English, empowering teachers to bring Maker Ed to their students.

This residency will include multiple public events, working sessions with local teachers and students, and culminate in a public installation and workshop at the Design Society museum in Shenzhen.

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Hello Shenzhen residency at Makerversity - Liza Mackenzie

Making Connections
Makerversity, Chaihuo Makerspace

Last March Makerversity welcomed Violet Su, the community manager of Chaihuo makerspace for a three-week residency in London. Together they prototyped a knowledge exchange programme to allow makerspace members to connect and learn from each other. This platform called  “Making Connections” aims to be a place for open conversation, peer-to-peer guidance and mentorship to allow makers to grow their creative projects into success stories.

They now wish to deepen their exchange and send a Makerversity member to Chaihuo to start their first residency program in Shenzhen. The first maker in residence will be Makerversity member Joris Lam who is developing an internet connected LEGO brick.

During his stay in Shenzhen, Joris will create and document an open-source version of his project, connect with the community, run workshops and post videos on the Making Connections platform.

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Dr Wen at New England House in Brighton - Andrew Sleigh

Shenzhen Stories
Lighthouse, in partnership with Shenzhen University

During Hello Shenzhen, Lighthouse was one of seven UK arts, design and technology organisations hosting a Chinese maker for a three week residency. Lighthouse creative producer, Andrew Sleigh hosted Dr Wen Wen, from Shenzhen University, and together they mapped maker cultures and networks in Brighton and Shenzhen.

In November, Andrew will travel to Shenzhen for a return visit, to explore the Chinese experience of making, in particular, differences and connections between the UK’s grassroots maker movement, and China’s emerging entrepreneurial maker scene.

He will be interviewing for a short series of podcasts that will tell the story of making in Shenzhen, through the voices of those who make.

I want to hear the voices of Chinese makers, and explore how much we have in common when we talk about making, a maker movement, and the possibility for a new way of manufacturing the world around us.

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Kang Cheng working on the design of the wheelchair hub - Machines Room and Disrupt Disability

Modular Wheelchair Design
Disrupt Disability, Machines Room, Kang Cheng, RepRapPro China

Disrupt Disability are developing a modular wheelchair system that will allow users to customise their chair by interchanging differently designed “modules” (e.g. seat, footplate, backrest). During the Hello Shenzhen Residency at the makerspace Machines Room, they worked closely with Kang Cheng to prototype a wheelchair hub design.

Since the residency, they have continued to work with Kang on the project and this grant will help them refine the hub design, prototype it in production intent materials and test it to ensure compliance. The new design will be showcased at Machines Room and in Shenzhen.

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The CRL end of residency showcase - Upstart Photography

Maker education curriculum
CRL, Seeed Studio, DoItKits

For their Hello Shenzhen residency Central Research Laboratory hosted Shuyang Zhou from Seeed Studio. Shuyang helped the CRL startups to better identify appropriate suppliers and manufacturing partners in Shenzhen and develop business relationships with them.

To develop this cooperation further, Seeed has invited CRL accelerator alumni and DoItKits CEO Helen Steer to create educational materials for their new STEM product. Helen is an educator, maker, entrepreneur and specialises in getting new technologies into the classroom in a fun, easy way. She will work with Seeed’s local team in Shenzhen to develop creative, inspiring and kids-friendly maker education tutorials.

All participants will regularly record their collaborations through blogs, photos and videos and share the outcomes of their residency during public events. Keep track of each project on the Creative Economy blog.

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Hello Shenzhen is a bilateral exchange programme connecting makers in the UK and China, supported by 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, University College London

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

With thanks to Kickstarter for their in-kind support

Hello Shenzhen is the next iteration of the Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation’s flagship programme Makers@World