The Middlebury Environment for Making Everything
Our mission is to equip the sharers and innovators of Middlebury's community with the tools to bring ideas into the world.
An Institution of Learning
“Education is what people do to you and learning is what you do to yourself.” - Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
Most schools are educational institutions, but the world needs more institutions of learning. We believe in these learning communities, because learning doesn’t have to be done alone. That’s why we prefer, “learning is what you do for yourself.” Learning is about finding and pursuing your own curiosity, but it does not preclude the involvement of others. Ideally it involves others. A makerspace is an institution devoted to empowering the pursuit of learning.
"Pull a thread here and you'll find it's attached to the rest of the world." - Nadeem Aslam, from The Wasted Vigil
The world does not abide by the disciplinary boundaries in which we’ve organized knowledge, nor do the world’s problems. The world is complex and understanding complexity requires seeing beyond the bounds of any single discipline. As defined by Wikipedia, ”Complex systems include Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, social organization, an ecosystem, a living cell, and ultimately the entire universe.” To tackle these questions, one needs to engage complexity with a liberal mind. Unfortunately even in a liberal arts college it’s easy to find disciplines existing comfortably siloed. This motivates the need for truly antidisciplinary spaces, where lenses are set aside and learners can engage the world directly.
A Place for Your Knowledge in the World
"Integration is not only the ability to put things together, to make new connections, but also to find new ways in which knowledge fits into the world." - Laurie Patton, from First Address to Middlebury
Knowledge becomes meaningful when it finds a place outside of our heads. So how do we learn to represent our knowledge in the world? By learning to make. Making is synthesizing your knowledge into communicable ideas. Making is representing your ideas in the world independent of yourself. When ideas are shared they find a place in the world. A makerspace empowers people to fit their knowledge into the world using otherwise inaccessible mediums.