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Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 11.10.11Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has teamed up with Manchester-based digital art organisationFutureEverything to deliver an exciting new programme of creative technology workshops at museums and galleries across Tyneside.

The Future Makers programme is a series of events that will enable children – and adults – to use new technologies for design and making.

From Minecraft sessions at Arbeia Roman Fort to a coders’ ‘hackathon’ at Stephenson Railway Museum, Future Makers seeks to inspire a new breed of creatives whilst challenging preconceptions of what museums and their collections mean in the digital age.

John Coburn, Digital Programmes Manager for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, explains:

“We’re thrilled to be working with the internationally acclaimed creators and thinkers FutureEverything on this programme.

“Our nine museums and galleries showcase collections that were the work of pioneering inventors, artists and designers. With Future Makers, we want to invoke the spirit of these creators by using our museums as spaces for playful experimentation and creative thinking.

“It’s about ingenuity from the past inspiring people to imagine and create new futures.”

Drew Hemment, Artistic Director and Founder of FutureEverything, adds:

“It is an absolute pleasure to be working with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on this brand new programme, inspiring the next generation of makers, creatives, collectors and visitors within some of the North East’s best galleries and museums.

“FutureEverything are always looking to bring innovative creative technology to a wider audience, helping to imagine bolder, smarter, futures.”

The programme gets underway at Gateshead’s Shipley Art Gallery on Wednesday 17 February with the Gadgets: Adventures in Design day for 7–11 year olds. Using the gallery’s outstanding collection for inspiration, children will design wearable objects for the people of the future before getting hands on with materials and the starter electronics kit Little Bits to realise the creations.

The main event for adults follows on Sunday 21 February at North Tyneside’s Stephenson Railway Museum. Railway Codes is a 10-hour hackathon for developers, makers, engineers, data scientists, artists and train enthusiasts.

Participants will follow in the footsteps of Robert and George Stephenson and join a team of 30 to experiment with historic data from both the museum collection and the UK rail network before creating new digital prototypes and artworks.

New Inventors on Saturday 27 February takes place at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum, home to some of the region’s most celebrated inventions, including the world’s first lightbulb. This event brings together two fun introductory electronics workshops for 7–11 and 12–14 year olds. The younger children will experiment with conductive dough, bringing it to life with light and sound, whilst older kids create electronic sounds by building their very own synthesiser.

Young fans of the phenomenally popular computer game Minecraft won’t want to miss the TimeCraftevent at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields on Saturday 23 April. In this workshop for 7–14 year olds, they will recreate Roman ruins in Minecraft and imagine what it was like to live in a fort like Arbeia. They will also get to play digital architect and archaeologist and transport themselves 2000 years into the past with the technology of today.

Places for Future Makers events are limited and should be booked in advance via:www.twmuseums.org.uk/future-makers

A further private event exclusively for Newcastle University students – The Museum as Medium – will see the creation of novel sound and visual digital artworks using data from the Great North Museum: Hancock’s vast natural sciences collection. This takes place on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 March.

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