The act of “making” can be practical or relaxing and, often, it’s a combination of both. Through making@stanford, the central hub for makerspaces at Stanford, it’s also a practice that can encourage individual empowerment while providing community. 

Stanford offers a wide range of making resources with the hope of giving every student the opportunity to learn and explore through physical design and other forms of creation. While certain spaces are dedicated to specific classes or departments, others are open to anyone in the community.

In these spaces, people can try their hands at woodworking, machining, music, electronics prototyping, painting, studio art, textile crafts, welding, sculpture, and more. And, in the time-tested spirit of inventive and open-ended making, some spaces are designed to encourage general exploration. 

A visionary collaboration

The ideas behind making@stanford began as part of the university's Long-Range Vision (LRV) initiative in 2018. This and other LRV efforts related to shared facilities embody a desire to support cutting-edge research and experiments to advance learning and to accelerate the path from inquiry to application by developing shared platforms and resources. 

As part of the LRV, a design team worked with existing makerspaces on campus to understand their priorities and goals. They found three shared values:

● Learning: People in makerspaces learn by doing. They learn creative expression, technical skills, independence, and agency.

● Openness: Makerspaces are shared resources, many of them open to everyone at Stanford. They embody the diversity of the university and its inclusive culture.

● Community: Makerspaces foster and support encouraging communities of creation, collaboration, and learning. These communities transcend departmental and disciplinary boundaries.

The making@stanford initiative was created to support and enhance these shared values. The initiative connects the people and resources across the university’s 16 making spaces, helping provide funding for equipment, materials, and staff, while also encouraging new opportunities for events and community.