A space for collaboration

How diverse backgrounds and experiences enriches the Postgraduate Fab Academy

  • Oct 22, 2022

Professionals and lifelong learners from all disciplines and all corners of the world who are eager to expand their horizons, refresh their knowledge or take a turn towards making have taken the journey of Fab Academy with us. In each edition, this diverse environment has enriched the experience of all the participants and enabled them to benefit from a broad variety of perspectives and talents. This Postgraduate Degree provides a set of skills and tools that helps the participants with or without prior technical knowledge to translate their ideas into prototypes, and prototypes into products. 

The Global Campus

Neil Gershenfeld, professor at MIT and founder of the Fab Lab movement, leads the international training program. His lectures are streamed live from MIT to the Fab Academy nodes and a virtual campus known as Global Campus connects more than 250 Fab Academy students with their colleagues from over 50 cities worldwide. 

“Digital fabrication consists of much more than 3-D printing. It is an evolving suite of capabilities to turn data into things and things into data. Many years of research remain to complete this vision, but the revolution is already well under way.”

Neil Gershenfeld

The projects are planned and implemented on-site while exchanged and discussed globally, allowing students to interact with the rest of the global community and expand their professional network. Hearing from the other students about how they created their own projects allowed them to think outside of the box and learn to think as other people think, says one of the students, Ximena from Mexico. 

Listening to how they [the classmates] created their own projects allowed me to think outside my own box

Ximena Amador

Due to this distributed educational experience, students do not only get the technical skills needed to design and prototype their projects but a set of soft skills like collaboration and integration.

I think the community is going to help later on as you know the right person to contact when you have a problem

Dhanushree Prakash

The Classroom 

In the local node, students attend in-person classes with their peers at the Lab, taught by our in-house experts. Each week, during the Skills Seminars, students are presented with a different topic, complete a fully documented assignment, develop and fabricate their prototypes, and interact with their peers. The seminars introduce the students to the main and transversal aspects of Digital Manufacturing and rapid prototyping, and its implications on project development and design. The knowledge learned in the 20-week-long skills seminars will contribute to the development of the final Personal Project. As a local node in Barcelona since 2001, Fab Lab Barcelona has been at the cutting edge of the global maker movement enabling innovation and democratising the use of digital fabrication technology. 

Collaboration with my peers has been really important for me because I didn’t have electronic knowledge and didn’t know how to use digital design tools.

Ximena Amador

The Students

The background of graduates of Fab Lab Barcelona include professionals in Graphic Design, Information Technologies, Fine Arts, Electronic Engineering, Architecture, Computer Science and Engineering, Visual Design, UX/UI design, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Design, Business. As in previous years, the last edition of Fab Academy was again shaped by the most diverse range of professional backgrounds. 

I’m actually glad that all seven of us here are from very different backgrounds and we all have our strengths. That definitely helped. Thank god all of us were in the same boat!

Dhanushree Prakash

Some of the students starting Fab Academy have a specific idea or project in mind that they would like to develop throughout the course. Others however don’t and get inspired throughout the course of the program for their final project. 

For Barcelona-born Edu Almasqué the latter was the case. He got the idea to build a small electronic piggy-bank/coin-dispenser just a few weeks before ending the program. Edu had been working as a software developer for the last 9 years before starting Fab Academy. His work was mostly in consulting and he has been involved in projects in many different industries, such as Business Intelligence & Analytics, retail, healthcare and the public sector. Edu found the wide variety of backgrounds among his classmates extremely helpful as this gave opportunities to collaborate and help each other out. He believes that there are many different professional opportunities where he will get to apply his knowledge and skills after Fab Academy. 

Angel Erazo’s intention in Fab Academy was to have all the knowledge and skills to develop different products on his own. His background is in Industrial Engineering and his experience before had been in the corporate world. Angel liked that in the Postgraduate he has been able to take things into his own hands and drive the change directly. He would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn something more and challenge themselves or someone who feels any curiosity in wanting to know how a device works that we see in our day-to-day life. With the support of the instructors and fellow students, anyone can succeed in the course, says Angel.  

Benjamin Scott took Fab Academy in 2020. His background is in videography and he didn’t have any knowledge of the machines and techniques prior to the course. Ever since graduating from the Postgraduate, he has been collaborating with Fab Lab Barcelona and IAAC at  different levels, such as building furniture for the office and working as a videographer for European projects. Benjamin says his mindset changed during the course. It made him more curious to learn, figure things out by himself and make things instead of buying them. He is still in touch with some of his classmates, discussing ideas, and sharing tools and coffees.

I think this course is for anybody who’s curious

Lonnie Gamble

Fab Academy is a hands-on learning experience and a master in rapid-prototyping. The 5-month long course teaches students to envision, design and prototype projects using digital fabrication tools and machines. The next edition starts in January 2023. Find more information about the course and apply here

Oct 22, 2022