What is UNIMAKER?

UNIMAKER is a conference for anyone working or studying in and around Higher Education who loves making, creating, designing, inventing, building and exploring using a range of different tools and materials.

Started in 2019, this exciting forum attracted delegates from over 20 institutions from across the UK with a diverse and dynamic programme. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, UNIMAKER 2020 went online, attracting over 100 delegates from across the world over two days.

UNIMAKER 2021 will be held in The Diamond Building in Sheffield, UK on 15 and 16 September 2021. We are still in the planning stages, so specific details are yet to be decided.

We are now calling for Proposals.  If you are interested in participating in the conference, please complete a Call for Proposals form by Midnight on Friday 14 May 2021.

We are also asking for potential attendees, sponsors and exhibitors to register your interest here to receive news and updates as planning progresses.

We are planning for the conference to be in-person however sessions will be available to viewed remotely via our digital media so in-person attendance is not compulsory.

Be a part of the UNIMAKER community — join us on LinkedIn.

Calling all student makers!

It’s been a challenging year, but Making continued to make a difference during lockdown.  Students across the UK and beyond responded to the PPE shortage, with home 3D printers on overdrive printing face shields, but some of you also made the most of the time at home to get creative.  Makerspaces popped up at bedroom desks, in back rooms and garages.  Whether you were part of a team finding a new way to make your existing project, or you came up with something innovative or fun on your own, we want to hear all about and celebrate your lockdown Making!  

Tell us your story in a 2 minute video with a 200 word written description.  We’re happy to accept individual or group submissions.  The more creative the better!

In return, we are offering £250 prize for the best entry, and £100 each for three runners up. All winners will also get free entry to UNIMAKER ‘21.

Consider the following questions in your video:

  • What did you make and why? 
  • Tell us about the process – what challenges did you encounter and what would you do differently?
  • Where did you make it? Show us your space and the kit you used!
  • What did you get out of it?

Or you can email you entry to unimaker@sheffield.ac.uk — don’t forget to include a 200-word written description with your video.

Closing Date: Sunday 18 July 2021

About UNIMAKER 2021

We are planning for the conference to be in-person however sessions will be available to view remotely via our digital media so in-person attendance is not compulsory.

The overarching themes are;

  • Remote Making and learning outside the makerspace
  • The A to Z of Making – showcasing diverse applications from bioengineering to sewing
  • Starting and Running Makerspaces
  • The Impact of Making
  • Supporting and Developing Students and Staff
  • Building a Community of Makers

The sub themes are;

  1. The A to Z of Making
  • Showcasing the diverse applications of making, both digital and traditional from bioengineering to sewing
  1. Starting and Running Makerspaces
  • Access and supervision models
  • Student leadership and ownership
  • Supporting and developing students
  • Enterprise & extra curricular activities / professional skills
  • Funding and industry engagement
  • Technology for enabling student autonomy
  • Training and Health & Safety
  1. The Impact of Making 
  • Making for mental health and wellbeing
  • STEM and community outreach, widening participation
  • Influencing University culture
  • Sustainability
  • Knowledge exchange and industry collaboration
  1. Supporting and Developing Students and Staff
  • Employability and enterprise skills
  • Developing staff from supervisors to mentors 
  • Working with a curriculum/academics as partners
  • Entrepreneurship and supporting start-ups
  1. Building a Community of Makers
  • Creating a welcoming and inclusive space
  • Sharing good practice
  • Regional engagement and collaboration
  • Working across disciplines

Register your Interest

We are also looking for potential attendees, sponsors and exhibitors so please register your interest here to receive news and updates as planning progresses.

If you’re interested then complete the form here.

Or you can complete the Google Form here.

UNIMAKER 2020: Watch Again

Session 1: Environment and Health

Mon 7th September 10:00-12:00 BST

  • OPENING ADDRESS | Refugees Making the Desert Green — Professor Tony Ryan OBE📧, University of Sheffield 
  • The Maker Response to Covid-19 — Dr Pete Mylon📧, University of Sheffield
  • Developing a Prosthetic Arm — Thomas Thomas, Nicholas Hagis & Alex Pop, Sheffield Bionics📧


Session 2: Co/Extra-Curricular Making

Mon 7th September 15:00-17:00 BST

  • Curricular vs. Co-Curricular Projects — Dr Simon Hayes📧, University of Sheffield
  • Maker{Futures}: maker resources for primary engagement — Dr Alison Buxton📧, University of Sheffield
  • Lessons from an online IoT Making event during Lockdown — Richard Waterstone📧, SERAS
  • KEYNOTE | Creating a repair culture; making engaging online content for your makerspace — Taylor Dixon📧, iFixit

Session 3: Knowledge Exchange

Tue 8th September 10:00-12:00 BST

How can makerspaces and maker sessions adapt to Covid-19? What other topics are top of mind? Delegates share their experience and discuss next steps. Discussions are led by Ryan Jones📧 and a team of iForge student Reps 


Session 4: Making in the Curriculum

Tue 8th September 15:00-17:00 BST

  • Fast paced making: Developing confidence in Foundation Year Art and Design studentsMarie Judge📧, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Facilitating online collaboration and building 21st Century skills in studentsAvalon Cory📧, University of Exeter
  • Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen: A hub for undergraduate engineering innovationDr Matthew Wettergreen📧
  • KEYNOTE | Make:Projects: Digital tool for collaboration and student engagement — Dale Dougherty📧, Lauren Baldesarra📧 & Matthew Wettergreen📧

Session 5: Making for Enterprise

Tue 8th September 17:15-19:00 BST

  • Makerlab @ DMCTracey Johnson & Paul Bennett📧, Barnsley DMC
  • Creating hardware/software sensor prototypesAmmar Aboagwa, Onyeka Obidiegwu (SELA) and Alex Kelly📧 (Tinsley Bridge)
  • Leading the Way with Integrative Projects to support Skills DevelopmentDaniel Habbershaw & Dr Gary Wood📧
  • Bringing a “Hacker Mentality” to Health & CareAejaz Zahid📧, South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Integrated Care System
  • KEYNOTE | Universities as Mega Maker Spaces – Prof Andrew Maxwell📧, Lassonde School of Engineering


For more great content from the UNIMAKER community, check out UNIMAKER 2020 – Bonus Content

UNIMAKER 2020: Bonus Content

As well as our live sessions, we also have some great content to share with you from the UNIMAKER community:

Ideas Lab – Imperial College, London, UK

A team of students at Imperial College have spent the summer creating the Ideas Lab, a new makerspace linked with Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering. In this video, they outline the software system they have made for the space.

For more information, contact: ideaslab@imperial.ac.uk


D:DREAM Hall – TU Delft, Netherlands

The Delft University of Technology is well known for its successful student competition teams, which they call D:DREAM teams. These include Formula Student, Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) and many more. All teams consist of highly motivated students, who are solely responsible for all tasks, from team management to the design and production of their inventions. The D:DREAM Hall, the building on the TU Delft Campus that never sleeps, forms most teams’ home base. This video gives an overview of the D:DREAM programme.

Brandon and Pete visited Delft and the D:DREAM Hall in February 2020 and would highly recommend a visit!

D:Dream Hall

A new academic year has started, which can only mean one thing: a new year full of D-Dream experiences is about to begin! Designing, producing, racing, and sometimes winning are on the agenda for the new team members. But before it all starts, let’s have a look at what it means to be part of the D:DREAM…

Posted by TU Delft on Thursday, 6 September 2018

For more information, contact: Halbeheer.ddream@tudelft.nl


Machine Access Control System (MACS) – MARMIK

MARMIK are a Devon-based machinery company. They have produced the Machine Access Control System for use in workshops and makerspaces, which may be of interest to the UNIMAKER community. It allows individual RFID-based access control to machines.

For more information, contact: marmikltd@btinternet.com


Lockdown Project: Making a home wind tunnel – Edward J Dawtrey, The University of Sheffield

Ed, a second year aerospace engineering student, decided to build a small wind tunnel over the summer to visualise the effects of air flow and ‘angle of attack’ on various aerofoils. Being on lockdown, Ed only used materials he could find around the house.

The result is impressive! This is a great example of low/medium-fidelity prototyping, ingenuity, and how Making can be used to support theoretical learning.

For more information, contact: ejdawtrey1@sheffield.ac.uk

Contact Us

For any queries relating to this event please contact 
unimaker@sheffield.ac.uk