Sunday, 22 March 2009

Report of the McMADSAT event 14th March 2009,

Participant Presenters
30 people were involved on the day, either as exhibitors or as workshop facilitators. An essential component of the team was the group of11 Stemnet ambassadors, most of whom were there all day. It would have been impossible to run so many activities without them. Another group in the team was the members of the Glasgow Electron Club who, with some friends and a Stemnet ambassador, ran the soldering workshops continuously all day. We were particularly fortunate to have two exhibitors travel up specially to take part. Several exhibitors were entrepreneurs who gave their time for nothing, even though the venue rules meant they could not sell anything, nor charge for the activities being provided. This was especially generous given the harsh financial climate just now. Everyone said they had lots of fun.

Public
Over 1,000 people visited the Glasgow Science Centre on the day. The BSA/NSEW assessment forms collected only represent <10%>

Budget


The total budget for the event was the £500 grant provided from NSEW Scotland scheme. This had to cover all the exhibitors’ costs and the costs for the free make and take activities, plus all publicity etc.



In-Kind Sponsors


The Glasgow Science Centre provided free space, tables, cloths, technical assistance, without which the event would not have been possible at all. The publishers of Make and Craft magazines, O’Reilly’s, did not feel able to sponsor us in the same extent as they did for the much larger event in Newcastle on the same day, but did send boxes of back issues of their magazines to give away, which probably amounted to an equivalent of about £300 at UK newsstand prices. Clockworkrobot.com provided more theremin kits than contracted for, which were themselves at cost price. Madlabs provided free batteries for all the kits they supplied at cost. Instructables.com assisted with publicity and allowed the use of their logo.


Venue


None of this would have been possible at all, particularly on this minimal budget, without the kindness of the Glasgow Science Centre. The Director agreed immediately to offer us the space free, plus the use of tables and technical help to enable this event to take place. We were able to partially set up the night before which was very helpful in avoiding a scramble on the day. We were able to get the loan of 4 GSC soldering irons which avoided us having to get personal ones PAT tested. This was the ideal venue for us as it meant we really didn’t have to do a great deal of publicity as we could be sure of an audience from the GSC’s normal throughput.


Publicity


The event was listed in the NSEW diary and in the university of Strathclyde’s NSEW information. Posters were distributed around venues in Glasgow and information posted on relevant websites. A blogspace http://mcmadsat.blogspot.com was set up as a temporary web presence to refer people to. The Metro published a small piece which was a wonderful boost.




Lessons for the future
Needed more helpers and more exhibitors. Outdoor displays would have been impossible as the weather was dreadful, but it is still necessary to have some more dramatic displays as well as the hands on activities. Successful soldering for novices really needs 1:1 or 1:2 supervision. The budget only worked because minimal publicity was done at low cost and all the participant presenters were generous with their time and resources. Anything more ambitious than what was done on this occasion would need a larger organising team and significant sponsorship.

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