I am writing in support MadLab in their request for AGMA funding. I have been running Free Software Foundation Europe events at MadLab since January2011, and have made use of their facilities on both a monthly basis for regular community meetings, and also on weekends for special local and national events.
Software Freedom Day 2011 (SFD), for example, was a major event at MadLab. SFD involved 437 teams around the world, from Sweden to Nigeria, for the purpose of introducing the public to powerful and freely available computer software. At MadLab approximately 50 people visited during the day (despite heavy rain) to view demonstrations, booths, and presentations. A mapping party gathered downstairs and organised an afternoon of amateur cartography, contributing to a global map, under public ownership, which is used extensively in GPS and governmental systems. [Pictures]
The Gnome 3 launch event, which I also co-organised at MadLab, drew people from as far as London and Scotland to come on a Saturday afternoon last April to see new accessible computer desktop technology demonstrated by experts,and discussed by attendees. The event drew corporate sponsorship from Codethink, and generated hours of discussion. [Pictures]
I attend several other community group meetings at Madlab which are run by other societies. In particular, I attend groups which meet to develop technical skills relating to computer science, such as the Python programming language monthly meetings.
MadLab has exhibited creative work in the past, and I enjoyed taking a partyof friends to see the artwork and literature on display at ’38° of Separation,Korea’. This was purely for my own interest, and introduced me to a culture which I had previously known very little about. [Pictures]
MadLab is non-profit making, is open to all for free and over 75% of attendees are Manchester residents. MadLab encourages the uptake of ICT skills in surprising and effective ways, which has led to job creation and skills enhancement in the region.
The fact that MadLab existed in the city of Manchester was one of my primary reasons for moving to live in the North West when I emigrated from Berlin early last year. MadLab’s existence here is a very visible sign of a growing community of digital innovators in the region. MadLab’s free services to community groups, especially ones of an educational and technical nature,undeniably fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial activity in the area.
I support their appeal for funding.