Fab Foundation Ireland (FFI) was established in 2015 as an all-island network of digital fabrication laboratories (FabLabs). FFI is part of a global network of more than 1000 FabLabs based in local communities and educational institutions. The first FabLabs were introduced into Ireland in 2012 with the help of funding provided by the EU Programme for PEACE and Reconciliation managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and in close cooperation with the founder of the Fab Lab concept, Neil Gershenfeld of MIT.
There are now 7 FabLabs dotted across the island of Ireland, and over 14 organisations in the process of establishing a lab across the island of Ireland. As a national resource, the Fab Labs can support policy initiatives in the areas of education, enterprise, training and the development of community based social enterprises.
The Fab Foundation, a US non-profit organisation was formed in 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international Fab Lab network. The Fab Foundation is a non-profit organisation created by the Centre for Bits and Atoms in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (CBA-MIT) in Cambridge MA. Its mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world.
Sarah has a background in Fine and Applied Arts and creative enterprise, having studied Painting & Printmaking at Limerick School of Art & Design and running her own design business for over 10 years. Experienced in business development for SMEs, particularly in the creative sectors, Sarah also has a keen interest in community development and engagement through creative practice. In 2012 Sarah received an Honours Masters Degree in Social Practice for the Creative Environment (MA SPACE) at LIT. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Fab Foundation Ireland.
Stuart Lawn is the co-founder and director of Fab Lab Manorhamilton. Previously he has worked as a talent scout for an indie record label, as an audio engineer and music producer, as a full-time musician, as an IT technician, as an on-set film support engineer and as a technical director for a TV technology reseller. At present he considers himself a Technologist, Audiophile, Maker, Broadcast Engineer, Musician, Geek Dad, Adult Fan Of Lego and a Reluctant Gardener.
Paul Roberts has been Chief Executive of Ashton Community Trust, a multi-award winning charity working on regeneration through social enterprise, since 1994. He has played a leading role in the organisation's development from a small community group to one of the main employers in North Belfast. Paul has a BSc Econ from Aberystwyth and has a Masters in Voluntary sector management from Cass Business School. Paul has led Ashton forward on its focus on quality and has developed the organisation to the extent where it now has a turnover of over £8m, with a strong reserve and asset base. Paul is a member of NICVA’s Executive and was awarded the 2017 Third Sector Overall Inspiring Leader.
Patrick Colgan is a Senior Adviser of the Irish Government based in Bogota, Colombia. From 2004 to 2015, he served as Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which was created under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement by the British and Irish Governments to manage the PEACE Programmes and INTERREG Programmes in Northern Ireland, Ireland and parts of Western Scotland. He is also chairperson of Fab Foundation Ireland; Senior Associate of Schuman Associates, Brussels; and he represents Ireland on the committees involved in the management of the EU Trust Fund for Colombia and the UN Multi Donor Fund for Colombia.
Deirdre MacCormack has gained transatlantic experience with companies such as Panavision New York, Golden Books Entertainment, Carlsberg, Vodafone and Cadburys in a variety of marketing roles. Deirdre brings a wealth of experience and a highly regarded reputation in marketing including social marketing, public relations, website marketing, content, events, sales enablement and lead generation. Deirdre herself scooped silver in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, in the category of Female Executive of the Year – Business Products. Deirdre holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and the Conlon Memorial Gold Medal Award for outstanding achievement in her Masters of Science in Advertising degree from Dublin Institute of Technology. Deirdre is Deputy Chair on the Fab Foundation Ireland (FFI) board.
Javi is an architect from ETSA Madrid. He was part of Medialab Madrid, a center for the art, science and new technology. Since 2005, Javi has been the editor for Archfarm a magazine focused on theoretical thinking, critic and the latest proposals about architecture, art and science. Javi moved to Ireland in 2007 and became part of the committee of the Architectural Association of Ireland. In 2008 he was commissioned exhibition designer for The Lives of Spaces Ireland’s Participation at the 11th International Venice Architectural Biennale 2008. He currently lives in Cordoba (Spain) where he founded Colaborativa.eu a design, technology and social action agency with projects that range from art installations to grassroots urbanism actions, mapping software applications and free culture advocacy. Javi has been invited lecturer at the DIT, Dublin; ETSA Alicante and part of the visiting teachers program of the Architectural Association in London. In 2012 Javi started a Fab Lab within the School of Architecture. He is currently director at Fab Lab Limerick where he researches about open source construction systems.
John is the Director of Education at the Nerve Centre, responsible for a range of projects that support Digital Creativity in Schools and Communities across Northern Ireland. From a background in film and television production John has overseen the establishment of Northern Ireland’s first FabLab’s as well as operating the Nerve Centre’s Creative Learning Centres. He is a founding Director of Fab Foundation Ireland, seeking to develop a network of FabLab’s across the island of Ireland.