Make:Shift is a 2 day biennial innovation conference organised by the Crafts Council which explores the importance of craft and innovation to the future of making in a dynamic, thought-provoking and engaging environment.

2016’s event took place at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester last November and investigated and pushed the boundaries of craft in the 21st century.

It demonstrated the distinctive characteristics of craft and unveiled how makers collaborate and catalyse innovation in other sectors and industries.

The practices presented spanned robotics, smart materials, bio design, connected wearables alongside more traditional craft disciplines.

It was attended by over 250 people and presented the work of 55 leading specialists, practitioners and experts from the fields of craft, design, science, engineering, technology, medicine and manufacturing.

Digits2Widgets was the sponsor of the Maker Breakfast where a series of six presentations were given covering the production of

Hyper real medical training models

The idea of the book

Digital Sculpting

Bio textiles

Artificial intelligence in product design

Robotic textiles to communicate emotion

At the end of this incredibly interesting and diverse range of talks, D2W’s Design Director gave a presentation (at the beginning without slides!) specifically focussed on how to use CAD and 3D printing, not as an end in itself but as a part of the creative and making process.

He spoke of the importance of bringing creative ideas to technology to challenge it, and engaging with new materials such as Nylon SLS in all it’s physicality and with all its material properties. The underlying theme was the importance of understanding people’s current processes and helping them to find effective and often quiet applications of technology to help create the desired results.

By this method, the exploration of new technologies is not a superficial, and in some ways clumsy, attempt at finding a short-cut to craft but the application of craft intentions to digital processes for exceptional outcomes.