University Makerspaces

Remaking the Maker Movement

QUT Faculty of Business and Law

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Z1064, Gibson Room, Level 10, Z Block

QUT Gardens Point Campus

Session 1 — University Makerspaces (10:00 am — 11:00 am)

10:00 am — 10:20 am

Drivers for Entrepreneurship and Creativity at University

Professor Rowena Barrett, Executive Director, QUT Entrepreneurship


In this presentation Rowena will outline the ways in which QUT invests in entrepreneurial action. She will explain what entrepreneurship is and how it amplifies discipline learning. Importantly she will highlight the role creativity and making plays in entrepreneurship and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges of increasing this activity across the university.


Professor Rowena Barrett is an expert in thinking innovatively and being entrepreneurial to get things done. She leads QUT Entrepreneurship, a whole-of-university initiative to provide and connect learning opportunities enabling all QUT students and staff to develop their entrepreneurship mindset, capability and competence.

Rowena is an experienced and authentic leader who brings integrity, purpose and commitment to engaging people across many domains inside and outside the university around entrepreneurship. She brings academic and practical understanding of motivations and drivers for entrepreneurship. She seeks to ensure QUT plays a key role in the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem and runs a range of events and learning programs to connect and engage with the community.

10:20 am — 10:40 am

Regional Academic Makerspaces

Stephanie Piper, University of Southern Queensland


The University of Southern Queensland Library Makerspace is a hub for students to work on hands-on projects. From 3D printing and 3D scanning to Arduino and electronics, students and staff from all disciplines can use the space for projects. Steph Piper will talk through the facilities, services and equipment in this space and local projects that have driven innovation and manufacturing capacity in regional Toowoomba. Hear about medical prototyping, PPE projects, and the vast potential of the next generation of digital fabrication equipment. Learn the importance of building self-sufficiency in regional and rural areas through library makerspaces.


Stephanie Piper is the Community Engagement Coordinator at USQ, looking after the library Makerspace. She is also co-founder of Elkei Education, introducing electronics skills and positive role models to young girls. With a background in biofabrication, Steph also teaches classes in 3D printing, Arduino and Hardware development. For more info, see

10:40 am — 11:00 am

The Journey of Building a World-Class Educational Makerspace at The University of Queensland

Vince Kelly, The University of Queensland


The presentation explores the journey of delivering the new ‘UQ Innovate’ educational makerspace at The University of Queensland (UQ). From identifying the facility requirements, through to execution of the project and running of the space, the elements of success and lessons from failures are discussed. Also discussed is the role a makerspace plays in the broader entrepreneurial and innovation (E&I) ecosystem.


Mr. Vince Kelly is the Innovation Group Manager, located within the Engineering Architecture & Information Technology Faculty of The University of Queensland (UQ). Having joined in 2017, Vince’s mission has been directed towards the building of a world class teaching, learning and research technical support capacity across the Faculty. With a professional interest in the field of Innovation, he is currently studying a Masters of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UQ. Vince describes his current career focus as being in the ‘ideas business’.

His previous work history has primarily been manufacturing operations management roles within the industrial sector. After completing dual degrees in Engineering and Business at QUT in the early nineties, he commenced working within the automotive industry across multiple technical roles. Transitioning to the construction and building materials sector, Vince held various engineering and management roles within multinational companies such as Boral and James Hardie, as well as a number of other national and locally based industrial firms. An exponent of ‘Lean’ management principles, his professional focus was directed towards driving efficiency and continuous improvement initiatives.

11:00 am — 11:20 am

An Ecosystem Approach to Makerspace Sustainability within a Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg, South Africa

Mia van Zyl, Tshimologong (TMG) Makerspace, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


This presentation explains and highlights who we are as TMG Makerspace, a digital fabrication and prototyping co-working space located within Tshimologong Precinct, the digital innovation incubator of WITS University, Johannesburg, South Africa. The focus of the presentation is an ecosystem approach to crafting a sustainable future for our Makerspace together with partners, talent, industry and funders.

The following three points form the basis of our value system as the Tshimologong Makers Group (TMG):

- A shared culture of co-creation, collaboration and community building;

- Accessibility to the means and resources for innovation, and

- Generosity with knowledge and skills sharing.

As co-manager and fellow founding member of TMG Makerspace from 2018 onwards, Mia shares the journey of this predominantly Gauteng based community of digital and creative tech entrepreneurs, and how we have developed and formalised our talents, skills and Maker culture into a set of value offerings to serve its communities of influence. TMG serves its own members with enterprise development and tech development support; we serve the entrepreneurial community of Tshimologong Precinct with design, prototyping, and fabrication services; and we serve the Precinct itself with pre-incubation services for its talent pipeline, experiential learning and development programmes for corporate and academic partners, and the general public with commercial fabrication and consultation services.

TMG Makerspace is an active member of the South African Maker Collective, a semi-formalised network of Makerspaces, Maker communities, tinkerers and fabricators around the country.


M!a (Mia van Zyl) is a South African designer-maker based in Johannesburg, specialising in accessible innovation, creative facilitation and coordination. Mia is a co-founder and co-manager of TMG Makerspace, hosted within Tshimologong Precinct, the digital innovation incubator of WITS University (2018 onwards).

From 2014 onwards Mia became passionately involved in the Maker movement and co-creates alongside various makerspaces around South Africa; participating in, coordinating and fostering Maker events, talks, conferences and collaborations. In the ‘Maker family’ she finds a like-minded community of change-makers to collaborate with and develop and implement the message of ‘Make (or mend) it yourself. Learn something, teach something. Share knowledge and skills generously. Change the world’. Her dream and goal is to find, create and sustain connections and opportunities between Makers [brilliant hands + minds + hearts] and the resources that make this positive change possible, whether through events showcases, edifying collaborations or future Maker residencies.

Session 1 — University Makerspaces (10:00 am — 11:20 am)

Professor Rowena Barrett, ‘Drivers for Entrepreneurship and Creativity at University’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,

Stephanie Piper, ‘Regional Academic Makerspaces’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,

Vince Kelly, ‘The Journey of Building a World-Class Educational Makerspace at The University of Queensland’, Remaking the Maker Movement ,QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,

Mia van Zyl, ‘An Ecosystem Approach to Makerspace Sustainability within a Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg, South Africa’, Remaking the Maker Movement, QUT Faculty of Business and Law, 3 February 2021,