Tashkeel launches Make Works UAE

Tashkeel is launching Make Works UAE, the local arm of a non-profit open access directory for local fabricators, material suppliers, workshops and manufacturers. It free to be listed, and it is free to use.

The users are defined by Make Works as “designers, makers, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, micro-businesses, everyone and anyone that wants to create, build or repair physical things”. The aim is partly economic – “we want to support small scale, local manufacturing, or distributed manufacturing” – and partly philosophical: “we think that small is beautiful and that economics should work for the people and for our planet. We believe in the power of good design providing practical, useful and inspiring tools for ordinary people.”

The core is open access, both technically and conceptually: “we believe that the information we are gathering about manufacturing at Make Works should be openly accessible – similar to a public library with a focus on production … All of our manufacturing information and content can be accessed by anyone, for free. This is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International”.

Listings are free but candidates need to meet these criteria:

  • Have the skills and track record of working to a high-quality standard
  • Be manufacturing locally
  • Be transparent about production specific information such as expected turn-around times, minimum order costs and in-house machinery
  • Be accessible and helpful when working with new clients, such as designers, makers, artists, architects, international brands and small-scale manufacturers

Tashkeel might seem an odd choice as the patron of a UAE version, since Make Works is not inherently about art and design – and Tashkeel most certainly is. But (a) Tashkeel does have a demonstrable commitment towards nurturing the UAE creative and cultural industries, in particular with a pragmatic approach to commercialising design through initiatives like the Tanween programme; and (b) who else would do it?

So we’re not complaining. Lisa Ball-Lechgar, recently installed as deputy director of Tashkeel said Tashkeel was keen “to strengthen the bridge between the creative and cultural industries and the manufacturing sector” and looked forward to practical applications: “By increasing the range and number of products designed and produced in the UAE through collective collaboration, we hope to not only contribute to the growth of a sustainable economy but also inspire excellence through innovation. Tashkeel looks forward to building this important information resource for the benefit of makers, manufacturers and consumers.”

Tashkeel also has a long term relationship with Fi Scott, who founded Make Works in Scotland back in 2012; a couple of years ago Ms Fi Scott was invited to mentor Tanween participants.

Jumana Taha, an alumnus of the Tanween programme, has been named as Project Coordinator of Make Works UAE.

The website is here. Currently it’s rather sparse, but these are early days yet.

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