Hey, I’m Forrest Johnson, the Makerspace and Lending Librarian of the Hub. On June 22nd and 23rd, I had the privilege of immersing myself in a transformative professional development experience at Talent Maker City.
Talent Maker City (TMC) is a makerspace that serves the Talent and Phoenix communities with a commitment to inclusivity and social justice.
After opening the Hub’s makerspace, The MILL, in January 2023 and working in that space for six months, I realized there was lots of room to grow as a safe and inclusive space for creativity and collaboration. I’ve always admired TMC and their work, and as my mentor from the beginning, it was only natural that I continue my learning by following in their footsteps.
The TMC crew approaches their work through a lens of social justice and trauma-informed teaching. Through efficient makerspace management, and a strong focus on community-building through partnerships, TMC has created a makerspace environment that fosters growth, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.
As part of the professional development experience, I had the opportunity to participate in their workshops on CNC routing with the Shaper Origin and screen printing. These practical sessions helped me get a first-hand look at how to run programs that are not only engaging and educational, but also foster a real sense of collaboration and community.
The quote “We are all about sharing knowledge, and not keeping it to yourself” truly encapsulated the spirit of the workshops, as participants engaged in open dialogue and collaboration, encouraging collective growth and positive change.
The workshops I attended centered on fostering inclusivity and equity within makerspaces, addressing cultural sensitivity, and implementing anti-oppression strategies. I gained valuable insights into promoting diversity awareness and creating safe spaces for individuals who have experienced trauma.
During my time with TMC, I was able to have one-on-one meetings with the Executive Director, Alli French, and other members of the TMC staff who provided personalized guidance and mentorship. These interactions deepened my understanding of the makerspace’s vision, community-building initiatives, and the passion that drives their commitment to empower individuals through making.
What makes TMC truly remarkable is their dedication to community building. By partnering with educational institutions and local businesses, they foster connections and synergies that extend beyond their physical space. The makerspace emerged as a hub for rebuilding the community after the Alameda fire in 2020, demonstrating the power of collective efforts in resilience and restoration.
I am looking forward to taking what I learned from this experience and applying it to our makerspace, The MILL!
Want to learn more about makerspaces? Watch our Makerspace Q&A with Alli French from Talent Maker City!
Header image photo from www.talentmakercity.org
Article image 1 – Forrest Johnson in front of Talent Maker City.
Article image 2 – Forrest Johnson with TMC Director, Alli French.