Wednesday 18 June 2014


Following an open call launched by Daniel Charny and Thomas Heatherwick at Cape Town’s Indaba Expo in March, the Maker Library Network is thrilled to announce that four new venues have joined the Network and will become hosts to Maker Libraries, including a new London-based Maker Library.  

The Maker Library at the Machines Room at Limewharf was launched on Thursday 12 June by Daniel Charny with Thomas Ermacora. Machines Room opens to the public on Thursday 19 June 2014.

Founded by Thomas Ermacora, the Machines Room at Limewharf in East London is a prototyping lab for individual makers and start-ups. Part of the FabLab network, the makerspace features 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC machines and more. Machines Room is open to visitors but particularly encourages ‘makers in becoming’ to use the facilities to prototype their ambitions, with resident makers available to coach them.

Commissioned by the British Council as part of the Connect ZA season, the Maker Library Network is a new initiative that promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing between designers and makers. Maker Libraries are creative spaces that combine reading, showing and making. This new type of library, whilst encouraging local development, is also part of a new international mentoring network. Maker Libraries are comprised of three elements: a library, a gallery and a makespace. They are all connected via an online platform where Makers can share resources; take part in mentoring sessions and exchange skills and ideas.

The three other new Maker Library venues are as follows:

  •      Maker Library: The Bank, Cape Town

The Bank is a contemporary design space promoting innovation, collaboration, mentorship, ideas exchange and business development. The bank endeavours to form and develop relationships between industry professionals, corporate entities and independent thinkers.  South African designer Heath Nash is Maker Librarian in Residence at Bank and will run a programme of events and workshops focusing on the reuse of waste materials in craft and design. 

  • Maker Library: Museum of African Design (MOAD), Johannesburg

The Museum of African Design is the first museum on the African continent dedicated to design. A cultural hub, rather than a collecting institution, MOAD devotes itself to exploring the ever changing African continent and diaspora. MOAD’s vision for the future as a unique institution in South Africa is to create a space where cultural engineers from across the continent can share their ideas and work. Through exhibitions, outreach and partnerships with creative spaces across Africa and institutions around the world, MOAD is becoming a platform for creativity and innovation.

  • Maker Library: WorkSpace, Cape Town

Workspace is a shared DIY workshop where members pay an hourly or monthly rate to make use of the workshop facilities which include automotive repair, woodworking, engineering, pottery, glass and 3d printing. Workspace follows the Business for Development model which means encouraging existing artisans and tradespeople to utilise their skills by providing them with the necessary tools and equipment and developing new emerging talent, enabling them to enter the economy with the training and skills they require. 

Notes to Editor

For more information about the British Council’s Connect ZA or Maker Libraries visit or 

A specially commissioned film of the Maker Library Network is available here:

For more information about the British Council contact:

Mary Doherty, Press Officer // +44(0)207 389 3144

About the British Council’s Connect ZA

Connect ZA is a major new series of cultural exchanges between the UK and South Africa marking 2014 as a celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa. From 2013 to 2015, the programme will support cultural connections between young people aged 18-35 in the UK and South Africa with series of arts projects and use digital platforms to build creative networks through live music, film, visual art and design.

Projects will range from partnerships with arts festivals and workshops to working with artists, writers, filmmakers and designers. Connect ZA aims to reach new and diverse audiences for the arts and stimulate innovation, whilst forging new collaborations with organisations and individuals on both continents.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose. For more information, please visit