We provide resources, support and workshops for early years settings, schools, libraries, museums and community spaces who want to develop their maker education provision.

A growing movement internationally, maker education provides children and young people with the skills, knowledge and habits of mind to make projects in relation to real world problems using both high- and low-tech tools, materials and technologies. 

Makerspaces encourage children to not only develop the knowledge and skills to create, make and mend things, but they also support the development of 21st century transferable skills such as creativity and critical thinking through nurturing a maker mindset.

The Maker{Futures} programme will enable you to set up makerspaces or run maker sessions in a range of spaces, providing playful and creative ways to develop digital and STEM skills through a STEAM approach that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the arts.

We offer continuing professional development resources, downloadable guides and opportunities to book a visit from our mobile makerspace – Maker{Move}.

Meet the team

Dr Alison Buxton

Maker{Futures} Programme Director

Dr Alison Buxton is an Innovation Fellow specialising in Makerspace Education in the School of Education. 

She has over 20 years of experience in developing and delivering STEAM and maker education through non-profit organisations, universities, schools and libraries. She has written several practical maker books and sits on international advisory boards for FIRST LEGO League and Vedanya International School, India.

Liz Jansen

Maker{Futures} Programme Officer

Liz has over 30 years' experience as a teacher and school leader for children aged 4 to 11, in the UK and overseas. 

Liz is passionate about practical education in schools and is keen to bring her love of STEAM to all settings. She believes that adopting a Maker Mindset improves children's critical thinking and team-building skills and enables them to acquire and apply knowledge and skills through independent work.

Emma Horton

Innovation and Development Associate

Emma has 13 years experience as a teacher and school leader using technologies and active learning approaches to enhance curriculum design and support learning in the classroom.

Saman Qarni

Maker{Futures} Programme Assistant

Saman has a background in manufacturing and electronic engineering. 

She has organised and delivered bilingual engineering and coding workshops in schools and community centres and she is interested in empowering children to see themselves as makers and creators.

Sarah McGoldrick

Impact and Innovation Associate / Makerspace Programme Assistant

Sarah has 15 years’ experience as a secondary Design and Technology teacher.

Sarah is passionate about everything design and making using a wide variety of materials, machines and technologies. She likes to discover and use new technologies whilst appreciating the value and enjoyment of traditional practical skills.

Sarah is also passionate about fostering design thinking abilities in young minds. She is an advocate for allowing and providing opportunities for young people to explore their imagination, problem solving, ideation, prototyping and evaluating skills. 

Katherine Greenacre

Maker{Futures} Programme Administrator

Katherine has a background in project management, research support in Higher Education and digital media design.

Dr Louise Kay

Lecturer in early childhood in University of Sheffield’s School of Education

Louise is a qualified teacher and has worked across all three primary key stages, with the majority of her career spent teaching in the early years. Her research interests include pedagogy in the early years, curricular and assessment frameworks, and the impact policy has on children and teachers.

Dr Angela Colvert

Lecturer in Education, Deputy Director for Innovation in University of Sheffield’s School of Education

Angela is committed to shaping socially just policies and practices in relation to children's education and is a founder member of the UK Literacy Association's Digital Literacies Task Group. She has participated in  APPG meetings relating to Media Education and STEAM and has engaged in numerous governmental consultations related to curriculum design. She is currently working with the Digital Futures Commission to support them in their mission to ensure that the digital world is designed in line with children's rights, interests and needs and created the Playful by Design Tool to support this work.

Professor Jennifer Rowsell

Professor of Digital Literacy, Director of Research and Innovation in University of Sheffield’s School of Education

Jennifer has conducted research with children and young people in primary and secondary schools and community hubs for 25 years. Her research expands definitions of literacy through multimodal and maker-oriented perspectives on teaching and learning. She is Lead Editor of Reading Research Quarterly and Co-Series Editor of the Routledge Expanding Literacies in Education book series. She has published widely and her most recent book is The Comfort of Screens: Literacy in Post-Digital Times (Cambridge University Press).

Emeritus Professor Jackie Marsh

Jackie was the director of the seven-country research project, funded by the EU Commission's H2020 programme, 'Makerspaces in the Early Years: Enhancing Digital Literacy and Creativity', (MakeY) which led to the setting up of the Maker{Futures} programme.

Jackie continues to support the work of Maker{Futures} in her retirement and regularly volunteers at our community events. 

Dr Yinka Olusoga

Lecturer in Education, Co-Director of the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood in University of Sheffield’s School of Education

Yinka's research and teaching focus on discourses and histories of childhood, play and education, and on the co-construction of environments for children’s play and creative engagement. She is interested in children’s creative and digital literacies and the inter-generational co-construction of play and storytelling.

Maker{Futures} Annual Report 2023

2023 has been a bumper year of newness for Maker{Futures}! From new team members and a new building to the launch of our Maker{School} programme. View the Annual Report 2023 (link opens PDF 6.3MB)