Desktop Prosthetics - Image by Brian Slater
Desktop Prosthetics – Image by Brian Slater

“What do a gardening robot, 3D printed prosthetic limbs, concrete fire places and street signs all have in common?”

Find out the answer and discover much more at the exciting exhibition

Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing

Exhibition continues until 3 January 2016

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

A FACT and Crafts Council partnership exhibition in association with Norfolk Museums Service

The exhibition Build Your Own provides a fascinating insight into today’s making revolution. It features neurotic robots that can manage your garden, a global network producing prosthetic hands created by 3D printing, and explores new ways of repairing city spaces, empowering communities and reflecting local craft traditions.

Co-produced by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), in collaboration with the Crafts Council and Norfolk Museums Service, the exhibition, which debuted in Liverpool, will be on view at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery until Sunday 3 January 2016.

Hannah Higham, curator at Norwich Castle Museum, said: “Build Your Own is a dynamic exhibition that is constantly evolving. Crafts have underpinned our local communities for centuries but now the traditional tools are changing with the advent of modern technologies.  Build Your Own is about celebrating making and the use of both old and new tools. In combination, they can be used to solve problems, share ideas and establish new creative processes. Everyone has the ability to shape and ‘make’ their future.”

The exhibition features specially commissioned works by leading makers, creative technologists and collectives, all of whom embrace the ethos of co-creation.

Rachel Rayns with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Neurotic Machines, 2015. Image by Brian Slater.
Rachel Rayns with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Neurotic Machines, 2015. Image by Brian Slater.

Artists exhibiting include Norfolk-born Rachel Rayns whose project Neurotic Machines has been developed with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. An interactive garden in the exhibition space has plants monitored by a robot, which controls and reports on light levels, temperature, humidity and soil moisture. The public will be encouraged to help the robot do her job – she has become neurotic and needs our assistance and reassurance! The juxtaposition of gardening and computing (high and low technology) is at the core of this work and Rayns will be running workshops with Norwich Farmshare to underline the importance of growing plants and food. At the same time participants will build their own mini gardening robot.


As part of her inspired and on-going national project Acts of Care artist Linda Brothwell is pioneering a new understanding of local British craft skills and tools to illustrate the importance of their value to economic, social and cultural development. Build Your Own makes reference to Acts of Care carried out in Sheffield and Liverpool while showcasing a new commission proposed for Norwich. Linda’s research into the city of Norwich, its craft and manufacturing heritage, encompasses the dying of textiles, the history of printing, a proliferation of medieval doors, the incredible patterns to be seen in our many flint buildings and even a nod to the famous mustard. All of these influences are combined into an innovative new work, which makes its premier at Build Your Own.

DoES Liverpool with Norwich Hackspace demonstrate how easy access to new print technology and open source projects can change people’s lives.  Local children in need of prosthetic hands will be invited into the gallery to see them emerge from our production line of 3D printers. Children are not always fitted for prosthetics due to the speed at which they grow, and the lengthy and costly process of making them. 3D printing has revolutionized this – limbs are produced quickly and cheaply and allow the child to choose the colour and style of their new hand.  The blueprints have been provided by the e-Nable community, a global enterprise collaborating to ensure the free distribution of 3D prosthetic hands worldwide.

Will Shannon and Assemble, Homework, 2015. Image by Brian Slater.
Will Shannon and Assemble, Homework, 2015. Image by Brian Slater.

Artist Will Shannon has worked with architecture collective Assemble and the residents of the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust – a regeneration project in Liverpool for which Assemble have recently been nominated for the Turner prize. Shannon and Assemble turned a derelict house into a domestic workshop and using the aggregate building materials from the site (old roof tiles, bricks etc.) produced beautiful new fireplaces for the other houses on the street. Their ‘Yard Factory’ is re-installed in the gallery space, alongside one of the finished fireplaces, highlighting the potential for us all to work with our neighbours and communities and utilise our domestic environments to change our living conditions.

Collectively the work of these very different artists explores various creative traditions and different ways in which we share skills, from learning how to cast concrete in your own back yard to becoming part of a global network of makers; one-to-one collaboration to mass co-production. In each case knowledge is exchanged, skills and stories are shared. The tools used could be as traditional as a steel shim or as cutting edge as a Raspberry Pi computer. Equally the community might be your street or the entire world.

A key element of the show is the exciting programme of related events and workshops. A special ‘maker space’ in the gallery will present demonstrations and workshops, variously showcasing the sound works of local artist Michael Ridge, and the exciting work of staff and students at Norwich University of the Arts. Visitors will also be encouraged to ‘build their own’.

Thanks to our sponsors HP we are also able to showcase one of their latest inventions, ‘the sprout’. Come and see how this fantastic new device can help us all bring our ideas to life and try it out for yourselves.

Further events have been developed with the participation of local groups and communities around the city of Norwich, and have been designed to engage people of all ages and with varied levels of existing experience and knowledge.

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council, says: “Together with its varied public events agenda, featuring hack days and family activities, Build Your Own aims to inspire a new generation of makers with both old and new skills to come together and build for the future.”

Jointly curated by two highly regarded, experienced curators, cultural programme director Lauren Parker, together with Clare Cumberlidge, from Thirteen Ways, a creative communications company, Build Your Own is a must see exhibition for everyone interested in the interaction between craft and science and how it affects us all.


Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Castle Hill

Norwich NR1 3JU

Tel. +44 (0)1603 495897

Please see separate fact sheet for admission details and information regarding the programme of events which accompanies the exhibition Build Your Own.

Click here for fact sheet: BYO-Visitor-information-sheet

The exhibition is sponsored by hp (Hewlett Packard UK), the American multinational information technology company.

About the Organisations involved in BUILD YOUR OWN:

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre, based in Liverpool and focuses on bringing people, art and technology together. FACT’s award-winning building houses three galleries, a café, bar and four cinema screens. Since the organisation was founded in 1988 (previously called Moviola), it has commissioned and presented over 250 new media and digital artworks from artists including Pipilotti Rist, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Isaac Julien.

The Crafts Council is dedicated to enabling people across the UK to make, see, collect and learn about craft. The Crafts Council develops new touring exhibitions annually, available for hire to small and medium-sized galleries, museums and arts venues across the UK.

Norfolk Museums Service comprises museums, collections study centres and countywide services relating to archaeology and education. Norfolk Museums Service was established in 1974 when the County and District Councils in Norfolk agreed to delegate their museum powers to a Joint Committee to manage museums through a county-wide museums service. The Service remains a unique partnership between Norfolk County Council and Norfolk’s district councils, funded through council tax, earned income and grants. NMS is now regarded as one of the leaders in the museum sector and in 2012 was successful in its bid for major investment from Arts Council England. NMS is one of only 21 museum services in England to be awarded Major Partner Museum status by the Arts Council.

Lauren Parker is an internationally recognised curator and cultural programme director. Lauren was Head of Contemporary Programmes at the Victoria and Albert Museum for six years, commissioning award-winning exhibitions, events and art projects including Power of Making, Decode: Digital Design Sensations, and the ground-breaking Friday Late event series. Lauren now works as an independent curator and as Director (Associate) of digital agency Caper. Her fields of expertise include global emerging design practice, the intersection of arts, culture and technology and new models for public engagement. @LParker_tweets 

Thirteen Ways is a creative communications company combining curatorial and communications expertise to devise high profile creative campaigns & culture programmes. Founded by leading curator Clare Cumberlidge and communications expert Rebecca Blackwood, Thirteen Ways creates relationships between corporate brands, cultural organisations and leading creative practitioners to deliver new and innovative forms of communication and audience development with a particular focus on social media.

About the Artists involved in BUILD YOUR OWN:

Will Shannon investigates the interconnection of making, technology and community. His work examines the relationship between design and craft and touches on social issues that surround the making of things, exploring material provenance, the motivations to make and the act of making itself. Shannon has an extensive knowledge of materials and processes, and a belief in the dissemination of skills and the democratisation of craft.

Assemble is a design and architecture collective based in London. At the heart of Assemble’s working practice is a belief in the importance of addressing the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which spaces are made. Assemble champions a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and accomplice in the on-going realisation of the work.

Rachel Rayns joined the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2013; first as Artist in Residence and now as Creative Producer. Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity focused on enhancing computing education worldwide, strongly believing computing to be a cross-curricular and a creative activity.,

Linda Brothwell is currently pioneering a new understanding of the significance of British crafts skills and tools illustrating the importance of their value to economic, social and cultural development. This study will inform Linda’s new series of nationwide ‘Acts of Care’ in partnership with museums and galleries UK wide.

DoES Liverpool is a community of makers and entrepreneurs with a diverse range of skills of interests who arrange events, workshops and much more. DoES Liverpool are working together with the e-NABLE community on the Enabling the Future project.

Norwich Hackspace is a community that shares the cost of working on projects. This means tools, materials, workshop space and knowledge. What happens at a Hackspace is very much down to its members. There are some favourite activities like programming and electronics, as well as access to 3D printers and laser cutters. If something rings your bell then join your local group.

e-NABLE first began in 2013, comprising some 300 people who owned 3D printers or who had design skills to share, and who wanted to help improve the first open sourced design for 3D printed hands that had been released online. They also wanted to help print and assemble free 3D printed prosthetic devices to anyone that reached out to them. Now, in 2015, their “matching system” has over 1000 recipients in various stages and 3000 registered volunteers, who all work to make more people’s lives easier thanks to 3D printed hands.

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