Who: Ursula Davies
Lives in: London town / Amsterdam
Guest of the Lloyd Hotel since: April 2016
“… I lived in Noord-Holland when I was a kid so it’s fun to be back in NL...”
Ursula studied languages at university and got a first taste of the creative world when she spent a year abroad working in a contemporary art centre. Since then she has always been interested in the business side of creativity and culture. Her first job was for a placemaking consultancy called Locum Consulting, then she spent a few years at the UK Design Council which she left to run operations for a photography start up. “All those things have been super useful for my job at Makerversity.”
What brings you to Amsterdam?
I run Makerversity, a co-working and learning space for professional and aspiring makers and creatives. We’re opening our second site in Amsterdam this summer so I’m here to help get it off the ground and recruit a local team. http://makerversity.org/
What keeps you busy?
Thinking about how we can help makers grow their business and creative practice. Finding great people to become part of the Makerversity family. Getting into the great outdoors
When did you start Makerversity London and how did you come up with the idea?
Makerversity was originally set up by 4 designer makers - Joe, Tom, Paul and Andy - about 3 years ago. They had all found it hard to find the right kind of workspace in the city and also really cared about providing better opportunities for young people to make, so when an opportunity to take over some disused space in the basement of Somerset House came up, Makerversity was born! I'd known Tom and Joe for a few years through work and was part of an early group of Makerversity supporters and then formally joined about six months in to set up the operational team and run the business day to day.
How do you select members?
We don’t have a formal selection process. Anyone who’s interested fills out a form online and then we arrange a time to show you around. It’s important to stress that we’re for a broad range of people – so anyone who’s involved in physical or digital creation professionally and who’s looking for a creative workspace where they can also access workshops, tools and equipment. Our members at our first site come from all sorts of backgrounds – design, business, technology, engineering, craft, art, innovation, marketing.
What is the range of the machines?
We provide a good range of general purpose making and prototyping facilities, with both clean and messy space to work in. That covers digital machines – like 3d printers, vinyl and laser cutters, a CNC machine – as well as wood and metal working facilities, textiles, electronics and an assembly space. We like to work with our member community to work out what they need and build that into our machine offer as we go along.
Interview by Kim van Beek