Sadleir House, your downtown community and student centre, is competing in the Aviva Community Fund competition for the second year in an attempt to gain funding for its Community Innovation Lab project.
The competition has three rounds of voting that determine a set of semi-finalists, from which voting determines a short-list of finalists. The finalists then go on to a panel of judges who determine who will receive a grant for their projects.
Sadleir House’s Innovation Lab, which is competing in the small projects category, is envisioned as a collaborative workspace for community and student groups to access shared design and creation tools and equipment.
If successful in securing funding, the Community Innovation Lab will be equipped with premium multimedia design software, a large screen computer, large format printer, 3D printer, various sized button makers, and other tools to allow community and student groups to express, explore, and create.
Steward of Sadleir House, Dwayne Collins, said the idea came to him when he realized how much informal sharing of tools already happened in the building. “We already share small things all the time between offices, and it occurred to me how much more effective it would be if we had access to a shared space where we could keep these tools and what more we could do,” Collins said.
While primarily targeted at small community and student organizations, Sadleir House’s Community Innovation Lab would be open to anyone. “The truth is that we can all benefit from this type of shared space and infrastructure,” Collins explained.
He added, “Maybe you need a couple buttons made for class? Or somewhere to build something for a project? Most small organizations or individuals don’t have access to these types of spaces in their offices or apartments, so our hope is to help provide that space.”
By creating a shared space, groups and individuals would have access to materials and equipment that they would otherwise not be able to afford to maintain or purchase on their own. Users of the Community Innovation Lab would only be expected to help cover the costs of consumable materials, such as paper, buttons, and ink, based on what they use.
The Innovation Lab project shares many ideas that are part of the broader “makerspace” or “hackerspace” movement – shared workshops where ideas, expertise, and tools interact. Sadleir House hopes that by providing access to tools and creative infrastructure, users of the Innovation Lab will be empowered to create change in the community.
According to Collins, “Makerspaces aren’t just about sharing tools and expertise, but also about giving people the opportunity to engage with their natural curiosity about the objects around us. Through a process of critical making, we engage that curiosity and start to look at the world around us in a different way – we think critically about how things are put together.”
Since last year’s attempt to gain funding through the Aviva Community Fund, Sadleir House has continued to work on the project and is slowly working to renovate space in the Sadleir House basement for the future Innovation Lab.
With its commitment to informal education through the interaction of community and academic life, Collins felt that “this seemed like a natural direction for Sadleir House. We’re here to support student life and community activity, whether that be through providing access to spaces for those activities, or shared tools and infrastructure to build that activity.”
Collins notes that while they weren’t successful last year with the Aviva competition, there was enough community interest in the project to identify it as something that is needed both at Trent and in Peterborough. With or without funding through Aviva, Sadleir House is committed to some form of the Innovation Lab project.
Securing funding would enable the project to happen faster, and would provide access to a better variety of tools and equipment.
If successful, the Aviva Community Fund would provide Sadleir House with up to $50 thousand to purchase equipment and renovate space for the project. You can help the project by voting each day for it during the qualifying rounds.
The current round runs until November 4, and the final round runs from November 11-25.