On June 1st, the caravan met up with Outaouais’s ecosystem. Despite mechanical problems which forced us to leave our truck in Montreal, we transferred our equipment in a rental van and we hit the road.

Here are some of the many actors from the region’s Fab Lab development project:

  • The First Peoples Innovation Centre is setting up a laboratory aimed at the First Nations’ young people.
  • The Cégep de l’Outaouais has a mobile Fab Lab to serve the region. This project is linked to the incubator, who will soon have a new address.
  • Gatineau library network also has a mobile Fab Lab and will offer workshops to all its libraries.

First meeting of the day: Gatineau’s network at the Bibliothèque de Gatineau

The caravan’s team has been welcomed by Louis Fontaine, librarian for the city of Gatineau, Céline Auclair, Director of the First Peoples Innovation Centre, Marie-Pier Garneau, teaching consultant for the Cégep de l’Outaouais, Christian Pinca, Manager of cultural and leisure for the city of Gatineau, Carole Laguë, Head of division for the Gatineau library, Simon Ouellet, Commissioner in business development for ID Gatineau and Jocelyn Blondin, City councillor and someone very curious, and member of the Commission Jeunesse. All of these amazing people, from different backgrounds, looking to talk about the Fab Labs’ inter-structure, and despite being on a very short notice for some, this was a very spirited meeting!

In this phase of ideation, we want to identify what can be established in the long term and what could be prototyped in the next phase. Thus, we came up with a few promising ideas:

  • Establish and lead a joint activity in Fab Labs established in Cégeps… Perhaps Cégep de l’Outaouais and Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup ?
  • The library invites the Cégep de l’Outaouais with the incubator’s mobile Fab Lab to prototype a permanent installation in a library for a week. We would also like to do it with the Fab Labs in the region of Montreal’s libraries.
  • Have an access to other libraries to talk about shared problems.
  • To prototype the inter-structure itself, in the wiki, especially to identify inspiring project models.
  • Share and promote the uses of Fab Labs with marginalized populations; specifically their utility and not through learning activities.
  • Getting immigrant teenagers to learn coding in Fab Labs.
  • Experiment with relations between seniors and young people.
  • Lead a workshop simultaneously with immigrants, in a foreign language, with another Fab Lab in the world.
  • Production of collective media works on an international level.
  • Associate with a CLSC or with the Clinique pour les réfugiés to identify and promote the occupational therapy potential of Fab Labs.

There were so many ideas that emerged from this meeting … all too brief, as we all agreed on.

Second meeting: demo activity at Kitigan Zibi’s school

At thirty passed noon, it was already time to hit the road to meet with the community of Kitigan Zibi, located at an hour’s drive from Gatineau. There, Chief Jean-Guy Whiteduck and Darhlene Twenish, in charge of community services, were waiting for us at the high school. With the help of the location’s team, we installed a mini Fab Lab in the atrium: our two 3D printers and the laser cutter.

Instinctively, the most inquisitive young people approached us. We helped Paige and Maxine in exploring these technologies and engrave their art in wood. Maxine gave us one of her creations to offer as a gift once we’ll be in Western Canada. Building bridges between people, it’s one of the fundamental aims of Fab Labs! Thus, through the mediation offered by these machine tools, a new world of unexpected possibilities opens up to the users.

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