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Discovery Path : Learning with students, Museums, Universities, VET, Academies

Target group Colaboration Objectives
18-25years old Museum, University, VET, academy Implement new skills into curricula and establish longer term collaborations

This path addresses young women aged 18-25 and is thus closest to the existing format of Fabricademy. It establishes a collaboration with at least one academy, university or institute for fashion, museum, etc. to incorporate Fabricademy modules into existing curricula and better align skills acquired with emergent needs of T&C ecosystems. Through this path, participants are exposed to innovative practices that they can integrate in their portfolio of competences, and the Labs can establish permanent collaborations with more traditional educational institutions.

Working with University curricula requires to define the total hours of the module, the credits that is will count for and the course within which it will be implemented. Most of the times courses are defined broadly, so it can be either a interdisciplinary studio, materials innovation or textile surface techniques as a general studio within which the Fabricademy modules can be integrated. Depending on the workload the module is assigned a certain number of ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). One ECTS credit is equal to between 25 to 30 hours, out of which 9-11 are teaching/class hours in the semester and the rest are individual study time (preparation and follow-up). 11 For proposing a module for University curricula the Lab needs to write a proposal including the title of the module, a brief description, the Learning objectives, the deliverables and the evaluation format.

Formats of the discovery

The discovery path's highest level of integration is to incorporate modules in existing or new curriculums. Diverse formats of the discovery path are possible. In shemakes we have been exploring three formats:

  • One shot discovery workshops with universities, museums or scientific associations.
  • Serie of workshops such bootcamp, week, ...
  • Clubs
  • Training the trainers
  • Demonstrations and exhibitions

It is possible to customize the tested one with new ideas according to the context.

One day workshop

1: One Day Workshop

Workshops are the easiest way to deploy the discovery path and to initiate a cooperation with institutions. The idea is to create experiences that help people to “discover” different activities and processes. One-day workshop are short activity ranging from 2h to 8h hours. They generally focus in one type of making activity and work on various skills, both technical and soft ones. It is the smallest unit of activity in shemakes. Most of the activities are described as workshops (see folder "workshops" for more details)

2: Series of workshops

Best way to run the discovery path is to pick up a serie of workshops that you will run in your local context, cooperating with design schools or universities or wider educational centre. It is about framing the interests and skills to be developped, looking at the workshop description and design your own serie of activities that will be integrated into the curricula of students. They can last from 2 days to a Week or even be framed in longer periods of time - (ie - each tuesday of october..., some days integrated in one trimester during the class of "arts" or "technologies") For instance, student weeks are an intensive 5-day course where students can discover and learn about one specific or various practices of the fabricademy courses. The first example is the cooperation between Onlfait and the HEAD, school of design in Geneva.

3: Clubs

Clubs consist of a series of learning activities off the main courses, mostly as interdisciplinary studios, where students from different programs can join, learn and experiment together with some modules of the Fabricademy programs. The objective is to create some discovery moments so as to raise knowledge and future interest on suggested topics identified by teachers and students. According to the context, it is possible to onboard students in creating new clubs, proposing them at the beginning of the year, or to go co-creating and testing new formats with them, jungling with the topics to explore. There is no imposed format. For instance iIt could take the shape of 1 activity/month during the semester. It can also be part of a cooperation with cultural centres who integrate such activities/workshops in the cultural agenda. It is important to frame them so they fit with how the organization is functioning and the availability of future participants. For shemakes, Fab Lab Barcelona has experimented with the fab academy and mdef students a Material club where they had workshops on bacterial dyeing and mycelium based techniques. Clubs can be customized according to the interest of the labs.

4: Train the teachers programs

Those types of programs consist in bringing new skills and contents to teachers so they can then share it in their pedagogical practices with students and also provide feedback about the development of the activities in special education centres. By dialoguing with teachers and inviting them to practice activities, it is possible to establish a more appropriate approach for students and to transform them into practitioners.

5: Demonstrations

Demonstrations are short activities to showcase one or several practice of making. This format is great for open events, as starter activities and when it is not allowed for people to touch/use materials ( as it was the case during the pandemic) Demonstrations can occurs in one station, showing only one practice or can run in many stations to showcase a large diversity of practices. It is possible then to optimise the experience according to the timing we have available for the demonstration. For instance, you can make groups rotate from one station to one other with various facilitators and a good time keeper. Demonstration are often combined with exhibition's stand. It is well seen to showcase materials and samples generated during the program to support dissemination, have a tactile experience, and attract people to join the maker communities.

6 : Symposium

Symposium consists in running a research event on a specific topic bringing together experts from the fields, from local anf global outreach. What's better than gathering a community of practices into the field you want to discover and develop locally? Opening the doors to young professionnals, students to attend and participate in events with more expert and recognized people is a great occasion for them to learn about the topic, to find inspirations and to connect to the community.

Tips for the discovery path

To do:

  • Identify with who you want to co-develop the discovery path and define the form of cooperation.
  • Identify a specific need that your partner (Museum, University, VET, academy) has and how you can meet this need (e.g. programme about e-textile) in order to engage it.
  • Prepare innovative and tested activities, a structured schedule and resources to hand out, don't improvise.
  • Select the format of your discovery workshop according to what best fits with your local context.
  • Explore the activities you would like to do. Check the documentation.
  • Practice the activities beforehand
  • When introducing the evaluation zine, show them examples so they have any idea on what to write.
  • Have them at least half a day to do the final presentation.
  • Students shall work in pairs or in groups of 3 maximum.
  • Make sure to organise who is bringing what (Lab or the university) and that the university’s machines are booked for that week if used.
  • Make powerpoints with examples of today’s designers that use the techniques that they will learn.
  • It is good to give examples of traditional techniques with local industries.
  • Make sure that you keep up with each person so they don’t fall behind.
  • Ideal group size is 8 people.
  • Within each activity you need to make sure that they are 3 phases: Warm ups, Theoretical and Practical


  • Don’t let them decide when to do their evaluation (zines) otherwise they won’t do it at all.
  • Don’t make them go too complex with their design so they at least have a finished product in the end.

Last update: October 21, 2022