There's a new group in the UK Maker Belt this month, and it's dedicated to the topic closest to our hearts: making. The Northern Assembly of Creative Technologists (NACT) is to hold its first meeting at MadLab, Manchester's premier makerspace, later this month, and it's looking for local makers to get involved.
NACT isn't an inexperienced collective by any means: it has been born from Arduino Manchester, the group responsible for the excellent musical bowls we so enjoyed at Manchester MakeFest earlier this year, and represents a new, more inclusive paradigm. "Arduino is still relatively young, but it’s proved itself to be an integral tool for nurturing and inspiring creativity. It is capable of bringing ideas, both ridiculous and serious, to life," explains NACT's James Medd in the formation announcement.
"However, something we’ve seen time and time again is that Arduino doesn’t always take centre stage. As much as we all love the technology, its importance to us doesn’t always reflect its prominence within any given project – and if we focus solely on the platform without considering its context, we risk losing sight of what makes truly great creative work. The plan is to embrace this diversity and connection with other platforms, and to create a more generalised forum for people that enjoy using a range of technologies for creative means."
While the group formerly known as Arduino Manchester will still be doing plenty with our favourite microcontroller platform, as NACT it is a little more free to experiment with alternatives like the ESP8266 Wi-Fi module or Netduino .NET-programmable platform, as well as branching out into still-wider areas of makerdom. If that sounds interesting, NACT is holding its first meeting at MadLab on Tuesday the 27th of October.
I’m happy to announce that Arduino Manchester is morphing into the Northern Assembly of Creative Technologists (NACT). What’s in a name? Grandiose as it might sound, I hope that it speaks for itself. Our practice allows us to enact change in our environments, for the benefit and enjoyment of our fellow community members, and many more besides. This doesn’t mean that we’re forgetting about Arduino! We’re just expanding our perspective to include a more diverse range of emerging creative technologies.