Maker Lounge

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Maker Lounge

Experience a dynamic new space at PEM!

The Maker Lounge is dedicated to creativity and innovation through hands-on exploration with technology, materials and ideas. It builds on PEM's tradition of bringing together new and inspiring objects from around the world and celebrating creative expression through human ingenuity.

Tackle a design challenge or tinker with all kinds of materials from circuits to cardboard saws. New programs are being developed for teens and adults including monthly 3-D printing workshops, demonstrations by visiting artists, scientists, engineers and other creatives -- including collaborators from MIT Media Lab, for example -- and cool maker programs for teens. Both energizing and relaxing, the space includes ambient music, iPads and universal phone chargers.

Stop by, hang out and let your creativity fly.


PEM Maker Lounge: Wearables Takeover

Seeking artist-maker-technologist-hacker-whatever(s) to take over our Maker Lounge for six weeks

Honorarium offered and studio space provided

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is launching a series themed of mini-residencies in our Maker Lounge with our Wearables Takeover. We are inviting creative, tech-minded, curious, and people-loving folk to take over the lounge and work on their own wearables-related project or projects in a public setting. This opportunity provides an individual or a collective with access to a maker-based studio space (including 3-D printer and other equipment) in Salem, Mass., for six weeks during November–December 2014. The next themed takeover, Biotech, will run during February–March 2015.

We invite proposals from people with:

  • A desire to develop their own creative technology-based practice focused on wearables
  • An interest in working with a museum renowned for its engagement with art, culture, and creativity
  • Enthusiasm for actively engaging with the museum's varied audiences

The Maker Lounge Takeover program has three key objectives:

  • To foster innovation culture at different intersections between art and technology
  • To enable Resident Makers to develop personal practice
  • To share creative technology practice with PEM audiences

Wearable technology is coming into full bloom. Wearable computers have been around for a long time (think of digital watches) but the combination of various strands of technological development such as miniaturization, mobile technology, ambient intelligence (think of environment sensors), and the internet of things, are a confluence that mean wearables are here, now, and they're full of potential. Digital technology is now ubiquitous and can appear as many forms - combined with exciting new materials, it can be woven into textiles, molded into ceramics, seeded into horticulture, and all of these can be worn in some way. Tell us how you would like to explore this technology creatively in an art museum setting, and how you will engage members of the public in your work.

More about the Peabody Essex Museum and its Maker Lounge
The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding, and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind, and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media, and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.

In March 2014, PEM opened its Maker Lounge. The Lounge is a dedicated design/innovation space with a range of materials, resources, and images on hand for unfacilitated drop-in design and creativity challenges – and for people to freestyle and create their own projects and challenges to share. It also has an area for experimental digital activities and which can be secured separately, where the Resident Maker(s) will work.

The Maker Lounge is equipped as a basic tech studio with a 3-D Formlabs printer, Apple laptops loaded with software including Adobe Creative Suite, an Epsom 3870 printer, a digital SLR camera and more. It is situated on the first floor next to the Create Space art studios and the Art and Nature Center for families. It is publicly accessible at all times when the Museum is open.

More about the Wearables Takeover
Resident Makers are asked to "take over" the Maker Lounge for the term of the residency, curating the environment with materials, visuals, prompts, inspiration pieces, and personal accoutrements. They will develop a project or set of projects around the topic of "wearables," using the PEM Maker Lounge as simultaneously a creative workspace, display space, and public engagement space. Resident Makers will blog regularly about their PEM experience and share practice with museum staff and vice versa.

During the six-week Takeover, Resident Makers must be physically present in the Maker Lounge for a total of at least 50 hours, and plan to actively participate in and present at least one of PEM's regular public programs, with the support of the PEM programming team. Working with PEM educators, Resident Makers will develop an experience aimed at a specific audience, which may include anything from a drop-in workshop, to contributory projects, ephemeral creations, performances, displays, and many other possibilities. The 50 hours should include at least one weekend and one late opening such as PEM / PM which occurs every third Thursday of the month. Regular Museum opening hours are Tuesday - Sunday, 10am-5pm. Residents may be able to gain access to the Maker Lounge from 9am, and also on Mondays 9am-5pm.

Honorarium and materials budget
The Resident Maker(s) will be paid an honorarium of $1,500 for the six-week Takeover. This is the fixed honorarium for the Takeover, and will be divided up accordingly if the Resident Makers are a collective rather than an individual.

In addition, Resident Makers will be able to access a budget of up to $500 for additional materials.

Goals for Resident Makers

  • Develop and pursue concrete, tangible projects exploring the topic of wearables using PEM spaces, support, materials, and audiences in an integral way
  • Seek and find creative inspiration in PEM's collection, exhibitions, people, and ideas
  • Draw PEM audiences into the maker experience, applying abstract concepts and creative ideas to the physical world
  • Through example, illustrate the values, concepts, and ideas of the maker movement to PEM audiences
  • Develop and share documentation using tools and channels including video, documents, imagery, social media, web presence, etc.

Outcomes for Resident Makers

  • Use PEM space, support, and audiences to further ideas and concepts in your practice
  • Enhanced ability to connect members of the public to your ideas and projects
  • Access to collections, objects, multidisciplinary staff expertise such as curators, educators, and other creative people the Museum may be working with
  • Strengthened understanding of effective outreach, teaching, and programming strategies in informal learning settings
  • Exposure to a wide variety of PEM audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and interests
  • Experiment with adapting your project for a range of different audiences, formats and scales
  • Opportunity to work with PEM's audiences on brainstorming, prototyping, experimentation, and design elaboration.

Outcomes for PEM Audiences

  • Introduction to and/or deeper understanding of the maker movement, strategies for innovative thinking, and the creative process
  • Exposure to an interesting maker who can provide insight into processes of innovation and creativity
  • Opportunity to learn and practice creative thinking skills
  • Opportunity to pursue individual creative expression related to the broad project focus
  • Increased sense of efficacy
  • Increased ability to find and solve problems
  • Experience developing an individual creative vision and identifying/acquiring tools to execute that vision.

Successful applicants for a Maker Lounge Takeover:

  • Will maintain an active maker practice
  • Are interested in bringing their projects to a lay audience for participatory ideation, prototyping, testing and development
  • Are enthusiastic evangelists for maker culture
  • Have an interest in outreach and sharing the DIY/maker movement with a wider public
  • Take an interdisciplinary approach incorporating ideas from a wide variety of topic areas and fields
  • Can narrate and describe their own thinking to an audience even as work is underway, providing access to the mental processes underlying creation
  • Are comfortable making all phases of their work visible, including obstacles, errors, setbacks, and false starts and can use these examples to coach others to work through design challenges
  • Enjoy the challenge of responding quickly and creatively to the museum's ever-changing environment, audience, and activities.

How to Apply
Send us a proposal telling us about yourself and your proposed Wearables Takeover project.

Include up to three examples of your work that you feel will inform your Maker Lounge Takeover.

In your proposal, please consider the following:
- How will the residency push your work into a new direction?
- How will the museum context provide unique inspiration and resources?
- How will you introduce principles of the maker movement and maker culture to PEM's audiences?
- How will working with the public develop new skills for you?
- Which audiences are you most interested in working with and why?

The proposal may follow any form you choose, as long as it is digitally available to us.

Please send proposals to
Closing date for applications: 5pm EST, September 22, 2014
Interviews for prospective Resident Makers will be held in early October 2014
All applicants must pass a background check


The Maker Lounge is open during regular museum hours and for select special events and public programs. Check back here soon for more detailed programming information.