A group of grad students in London has a dream – to expose more people to hacking, making, and the digital humanities. And they’re doing it on wheels.
The group started the DH Maker Bus project as a way to get to the Digital Humanities 2013 conference in Nebraska this summer.
In collaboration with community partners and the local maker movement, the bus, which started as a ride south for a handful of students, has grown into a much larger project that contribute to improving digital literacy in London.
Getting on the bus
“It kind of came out of a joke,” laughed Ryan Hunt, one of the team of four leading the project. “We were talking about driving down to the conference in Nebraska because it would be cheaper than flying. We thought ‘well why don’t we rent a bus?’”
When the group looked into the cost of a bus rental, they were faced with some pretty steep prices. “I thought, well we could buy a bus for less.”
The project began to grow wheels of its own at that point, when the group realized they couldn’t just buy a bus and not do anything with it beyond the trip to Nebraska.
“There’s no point in just having a bus sitting in our backyard for eternity,” said Hunt. “We thought why don’t we do something for the community with it?”
The group purchased the bus earlier in June after raising nearly $3,000 through crowdsourcing website Indiegogo.
Sharing the maker movement with the London community
The DH Maker Bus project hopes to bring the passion of the maker movement and the digital humanities to the London community.
“Technology is great, but it has the potential for way more than just checking email and updating Facebook,” said Hunt. “Both the maker movement and digital humanities are all about repurposing technology for your own uses.”
When the bus returns from the conference in Nebraska, the group will get to work overhauling the bus for community use as a mobile maker lab for January 2014.
Using equipment that will include a podcasting studio, video recording and editing capabilities, and 3D printing, the team behind the Maker Bus project hopes to improve digital literacy among children and adults in London.
How you can help
The DH Maker Bus is still looking for support and community partners. You can connect with the team online here, or on twitter @DHMakerBus and using the community hashtag #getonthebus.