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Jeffrey Roe on Dublin Maker 2016


We sit down for a chat with Jeffrey Roe, Head of Development with parkbytext about Dublin Maker: a festival sponsored by parkbytext which is now in it's fifth year and growing fast. This year's festival took place in Merrion Square on the 23rd of July. A whopping 10,000 people attended and interacted with the 55 maker stands at the festival. 

Hi Jeffrey! Can you tell us a little bit about Dublin Maker?

Dublin Maker is a one-day event where people around Ireland showcase the great things they make. It’s an opportunity for them to take their projects out of their back sheds, out of their spare rooms and their house and really showcase what they do to the public.

How did you get involved?

So I got involved just over six years ago when a community was forming around the Dublin city of Science, back when [the] ESOF conference was in Ireland. They wanted to run a mini- maker fair at the time. They got in contact with me because of my initial grass roots connections with the making community here in Dublin, and they wanted to have a good community liaison person.

What was your favourite exhibit and why?

I’m going to be slightly biased and talk about the one I made, which was the Tog hacker spaces Duck shooting Gallery. So it was a kind of a throwback exhibit to old style carnival games where participants, mainly kids, were shooting ducks and knocking them over, kind of a duck- shoot game, so it was a carnival style, people were shooting nerf darts at ducks and then they would fall over, it was a bit of fun.

Cool! So is Dublin maker very much Kid- oriented?

It’s very much a kind of family- oriented event. We cater from very high tech, from fighting robots, to people hacking biology, creating their own new organisms, to very low- tech where people are creating paper animals, papier mache stuff…

Like Origami?

Like Origami yeah, modular Origami, so yeah we have the Ultra high- tech to the very low- tech, people making puppets, to people 3d printing, laser cutting and so on. It’s very much a diverse mixture.

Sounds great! So describe for me your role within parkbytext.

I act as the head of development. I set the overall system architecture…I set the direction for our team of developers. I’ve been with the company just over five years now. I’ve seen it going from a small operation just here in Ireland, to now [ operating ] in three countries around the world.  We have a very forward- looking future, in terms of our integration with partners.

From your experience with Dublin Maker, do you think there is an interest amongst kids in software development?

Yeah Definitely I think the big thing to look at to give you an idea of how popular it is now, is the Coder Dojo movement.

What’s Coder Dojo?

Coder Dojo is a volunteer- run coding club that happen in over 200 places around Ireland, and has expanded to be a worldwide movement. Where (mainly on Saturdays) Kids come together and they attend free coding classes which are much more around the idea of peer learning then someone standing at the front of the room giving a lecture or type. Initially a lot of them learn scratch programming, and then they move on to more web technologies and stuff like that. So those free coding workshops are very popular around Ireland, every Saturday hundreds of kids learn how to programme.

Do you think that interest comes from their playing computer games and their wanting to figure out and see how they work?

Yeah I think a lot of it’s got to do with the latest craze which would be Minecraft, which has sparked a lot of interest.  And people I think, with the younger generation a lot of them want to customise things, people aren’t happy with just how they come, how a product comes or how a service works out of the box, they want to be able to customise it and to shape it to the way they want. A lot of these products are done with coding which I think has spurred on all this interest.

Can you give us any info about next year’s Dublin Maker?

Yeah! Dublin Maker will be back on the 22nd of July next year in Merrion Square. We hope to be bigger again, but in the meantime I encourage people to go visit your local maker space, go visit your local coder dojo, your local knitting club, and just keep making throughout the year.

Sounds great! Thank you very Much Jeffrey!


For more information on the topics discussed here, please visit http://www.dublinmaker.ie/ and https://coderdojo.com/


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