Two years after the opening of DePaul’s first makerspace, the Idea Realization Lab, the university opened its newest hub on the Lincoln Park Campus on Sept. 11. Dubbed the IRL2, this new space aims to serve the creative and educational needs of LPC community members. Later this month, a Week of Making will end with the grand opening of the space on Friday, Sept. 27.
“The IRL in the Loop is one of the most highly trafficked areas on campus,” says Jay Margalus, the faculty director of the IRL and IRL2. “Since we opened in September 2017, more than 10,000 people have visited the IRL. Makerspaces at liberal arts schools are not common, and it’s incredible to see our community take advantage of these resources. We’re excited to bring that momentum to the LPC.”
Located on the second floor of the Schmitt Academic Center, the IRL2 will mimic its Loop Campus counterpart by being student-run and offering similar types of workshops. While makerspace-goers can expect the IRL2 to have some of the same equipment as the space in the Loop, such as 3-D printers, laser cutters and sewing machines, Margalus says the spaces will eventually be different.
“We want the IRL2 to evolve to fit the needs of the people who use it,” he says. “Makerspaces are about learning by doing. What the university community in Lincoln Park does in the space may differ slightly from what folks need from the IRL in the Loop. It will be interesting to how the space continues to develop in the coming months to fit those particular needs.”
To celebrate learning by doing, Margalus and the makerspace team will host the Week of Making Sept. 23 – 27. All faculty, staff and students are welcome to stop by the IRL and the IRL2 to learn about the available resources, to participate in activities, such as a community art piece or a woodshop workshop, and, simply, to make something.
“This week-long event is a way to promote thinking through making,” Margalus says. “We want to present to the DePaul community what these spaces offer – an informal education through collaboration and creativity.”