Set up 2014, Urban Hax is a community interest company building an ecosystem of “makers, tinkerers, innovators and creatives who come together to share their knowledge, skills and crafts with other members of the community”. Urban Hax provides spaces, tools, equipment, training, mentoring and other opportunities for people across Walsall and beyond to make, create, share and sell, drawing on the Black Country’s tradition as a place of makers. In the context of declining educational, employment and other mainstream opportunities in Walsall, we’re finding new ways to inspire and uncover entrepreneurialism.
We combine traditional craft and creative enterprises (metalwork, woodwork, guitar-making, upcycling) with digital craft and creative enterprises (fashion design, computer design, photography, 3D printing) and supports collaboration across disciplines and provides a range of support to turn great ideas and projects into reality.
Our offer includes workspace, storage space and other resources to support community members with individual and collaborative projects. We also provide educational and meeting spaces for teaching practical and creative skills and link users with other makers and creators outside of Walsall thus creating new business opportunities. Partnership working and the benefits of sharing experiences, knowledge and resources are fundamental to our approach. As the founders we believe skills not being passed on as “a fundamental failing of society” and see this as an important driver of the economic and social decline Walsall has experienced in recent decades. As we support local people to build and value their own skills, we also encourage and enable community members to pass those skills on to others.
However, we’re clear that what we do is not about any one building. Instead, we aim to build up an ecosystem of makerspaces around the Black Country which can incubate local start-ups, feeding into a hub in Walsall town centre, and connected to a wider ecosystem of maker spaces and other similar projects across the West Midlands and beyond.
The emergence from Covid will only add to the appeal of Urban Hax. As more people make the move from permanent city-centre work or from their back bedroom, the communal but local resource of this creative space will continue to grow.