Bonevet: A Makerspace in Gjakova
By: Georges Labrèche April 28, 2015
Gjakova is historically known the home of fine craftsmen and builders whose quality of work have developed the city’s reputation as a textile, carpentry, and metalwork hot spot. Excitingly, since February this year, a new kind craftsmanship has emerged and it is spearheading the city into the digital age.
A makerspace is a “physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build.” The idea is to create a “collaborative studio space for creative endeavors” where “informal combination of lab, shop, and conference room form a compelling argument for learning through hands-on exploration” (source).
Bonevet is Kosovo’s first makerspace and what better place than Gjakova for it to feel right at home among makers? The non-profit center aims to “nurture a vibrant community of idea and resource sharing among its makers, which will foster character building traits like grit, creativity, open-mindedness, social responsibility and most importantly team work” (source).
Bonevet’s activities primarily revolve around technological experimentation where participants can make use of various professionally maintained manufacturing tools. This enables them to work on projects that involve metal machining, electronics, robotics, automation, 3D printing, computer-aided design, programming, Arduino, LittleBits, and much more.
They’ve already accomplished many interesting creations thanks to a training program that engaged students between the age of 9 and 12 with LittleBits and those between the age of 13 to 17 with Arduino:
Lately, they’ve started working with AutoCAD workstations to create 3D models and designs, as well as using 3D printers and experimenting with CNC Machines. Access to these tools is a great resource for the community as it enables students to further develop their inner-craftsmanship and invent prototypes of great potential for future digital product developments.
Vllaznim Xhiha, a former member of the Diaspora, is the founder of the idea. Through “Unë e du Kosovën” Foundation, he invested on the acquisition, renovation, and furnishing of Bonevet makerspace. It’s an initiative he continuously dedicates himself to and that others can support via donations.
Bonevet is already shaping the next generation of made in Kosovo digital craftsmanship and, who knows, maybe it will be known as the birthplace of a future Kosovo Silicon Valley.