696. Nigel FitzHugh
Nigel FitzHugh, from Devon, draws on his experience teaching design and technology to support local inventors, artists, small businesses, entrepreneurs and students to explore new ideas at Exeter Library’s FabLab
FabLab Devon is the first digital workshop of its kind to open in a UK public library. With Nigel‘s support, visitors to the innovative space are able to design and create their own prototypes.
Nigel runs workshops demonstrating the high-tech equipment, which includes laser cutters, 3D printers, scanners and embroidery machines. He takes portable equipment out on roadshows, reaching the rural areas of Devon and helped facilitate last year’s Hackfest – a project which challenged 450 students to design and build prototypes to address a range of social issues.
Nigel was presented with his Point of Light by Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, during his visit to Exeter Library.
In a personal letter to Nigel, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By sharing your expertise at Exeter Library’s ‘FabLab’ and reaching out to rural communities in Devon, you are helping people of all ages gain new skills in design and technology.”
“I feel a bit guilty about getting an award from the Prime Minister for doing something which I thoroughly enjoy and about which I feel passionate. It is also an activity which I share with several others.
Bringing the knowledge and practise of modern, computerised manufacturing methods into a library space may seem strange to traditionalists, but the two are perfectly compatible. People need access to knowledge whether it is past, present or future and this award will be a recognition of the work of Fablab Devon in bringing this knowledge and a chance to use it creatively, to the communities of Exeter and Devon. The Fablab within the new Libraries Unlimited social enterprise is indeed a Point Of Light and everyone should see it shining.
Thank you Prime Minister.”