At maakleerplek we create space and time for anyone living in and around Leuven to experiment together and to come up with ideas for a better future. In all cases, the jump-off point is to find ways to help improve people’s current living conditions. Together, maakleerplekkers devise new practices whilst learning from what they are doing and who they are creating with in the process.
To create new practices and stimulate experiments, maakleerplek uses a range of resources, goes by certain principles, and prioritises certain values and conditions that revolve around maakleerplek being a unique setting with a unique remit. Find out how maakleerplek lends shape to its mission.
RESOURCES are the main components we use to create. maakleerplek does not approach resources as dead materials you can exploit as you wish, but as ‘living’ and valuable components for making and learning processes.
We use four resources: people-in-relation to other people and the world, materials (wood, water, machinery, programming languages, vegetables, etc.) that need energy (electricity, gas, wind, but also human energy through enthusiasm and effort) and knowledge and skills (know-how and savoir-vivre) in order to put the former to good use in creating ideas and solutions together.
At all times, maakleerplek is committed to using these resources on a circular basis. Sustainability principles are our bedrock.
The space and the resources shape the framework within which the people of Leuven are enabled to create, learn and work at maakleerplek. There are 4 guiding PRINCIPLES:
- Every space is designed as a studio, to make sure that creating and learning are constantly at the very centre of the activities that take place. From the ‘canteen’ to ‘high-tech lab’: each room has creating and learning at its core.
- Resources are always visible in relation to each other, so every maker and visitor experiences how these resources are an important link in the ecosystem.
- This type of friction provides food for thought. Experiences that disrupt the obvious, incite creating, learning and transition.
- maakleerplek is not an abstract, multifunctional space where anything goes and no friction applies. maakleerplek offers a temporary framework in a temporary space which may well change if properly thought through. And it also contains some ‘whitespace’, which facilitates a large variety of uses.
These principles will apply as maakleerplek gets under way and will remain a subject of evaluation and adjustment throughout the whole process.
Values and conditions
maakleerplek puts certain VALUES AND CONDITIONS first and are supported by all makers and visitors.
Every activity is aimed at creating and learning. Whether you attend a workshop or simply pop round to enjoy a cup of coffee at maakleerplek: everything you do revolves around creating and learning.
The other values and conditions all relate to these two core values: equality, openness, trust and responsibility are key elements in every in every creation and learning process.
- The value of equality means everyone is on an equal footing, regardless of age, interests, job, background, origin, etc. maakleerplek does not differentiate between experts and pupils: anyone can learn from anyone else and create with others.
- The value of trust gives visitors the chance to try out ideas without defining goals or results in advance. We believe everyone has the will and ability to contribute. At maakleerplek you get to try things out, and no one will frown on you if you fail. The journey is every bit as important as the ultimate product or result.
- All makers and visitors share responsibility for maakleerplek’s success. This means everyone is expected to act with mutual respect, and to respect the materials and the space. The aim is to leave maakleerplek in a better (working) condition than the one you found it in when you first came along. In doing so, the space will not just exist, it will also grow. We call this regenerativity. This is only possible when everyone feels a co-owner: when everyone gets involved, but also assumes responsibility for their own actions.
- The value of openness means that all makers are willing to share what and how they make things with others, by discussing matters together.