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The Open Mile: promoting making in London

By Thomas Ugo Ermacora

Clear Village’s urban experiment for “Human Cities, Challenging the City Scale” kicked off on the evening of 21st September 2015 with the Open Mile.

The Open Mile offered a trail of open studios, workshops and activities to help locals and visitors discover the so-called Maker Mile in East London. As the name suggests, the Maker Mile is an area of approximately one square mile buzzing with maker activity. Centred on Mare Street, between Bethnal Green and London Fields stations, it is home to open workshops, fabricators, galleries, micro-factories, artist and design studios, shops and businesses, which all contribute to a thriving ecosystem of making.

The Open Mile aimed to shine the light on this and we were delighted to have a dozen destinations on our trail. Activities along the way ranged from printmaking to cocktail tasting, from fixing your bike to making your own robot- all celebrating maker culture and trying to engage with a larger audience. Interest in the event definitely exceeded our expectations, with an estimated 700 people visiting the Open Mile.

Our hope, of course, is that the Open Mile will turn out to be the first step of a much larger journey: to promote the Maker Mile as something that is ongoing, that supports the growth of the maker movement in the area and that helps to build local pride and resilience. We are grateful to “Human Cities: Challenging the City Scale” for having made our urban experiment possible and helping to bring change to East London.

Discover here more about activities of the Makers Mile. You can watch a reporting video of the festival here.