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Teaching at the Idea Lab

What is a Maker in Residence?

Hello and welcome! This is a guide for anyone interested in being a Maker in Residence at the Idea Lab.


Our general goals with classes are to help people build creative and technical skills, connect with other makers, and make cool stuff! Our Maker in Residence program builds on that - here are our goals: 

  • Support the local maker community: We hope our stipend goes a small way towards helping you do what you do. We also hope that the opportunity to teach both the public and staff helps you improve your teaching practice. Finally, we hope to promote you as a resource in the community and send more people your way. 
  • Improve the Idea Lab: We hope to work with you to improve the tools and equipment we offer in the Idea Lab. We also hope staff will be better prepared to teach people the very basics of your craft so they can continue learning on their own as well as appreciate your craft's difficulty. The goal for us is not to replace you as an educational/maker resource, but be a starting place and funnel for those interested in your craft.

Additionally, we are an adult maker space so most of our classes are geared towards adults. We also do some family friendly programming that works for people of all ages and residencies ideally include one such family friendly program. We do NOT do programs specifically for teens and children. The teen space and children's library within Erie County Public Library do teen and children specific programming.



Residencies in the Idea Lab can cover any aspect of making, whether physical or digital. It is our priority for classes to relate equipment we have in the room and is something people could continue to work on in the Idea Lab. These topics include: 

  • Fiber Arts (sewing, crocheting, knitting, etc.)
  • Crafting (Cricut, button making,etc.)
  • 3D Printing (modeling, printing, painting, etc.)
  • Vinyl (stickers, iron-on, stencils, etc.)
  • Woodworking (sawing, laser cutting, design, etc.)
  • Jewelry making (soldering, dremel tool, metal stamps, etc.)
  • Audio recording (podcasting, music recording, etc.)
  • Video (recording, green screen, editing, etc.)
  • Photography (DSLR cameras, editing, composition, etc.)
  • Video game design (coding, digital art, GameMaker software, etc.)

You can also check out our equipment list and software list to see what's available in the space. If your class would use our equipment or software, it's probably a good fit.



A residency consists of the following:

  • 1 planning meeting with the Idea Lab staff at start of Residency (1 hours)
  • 1 private program where you run through the public programs with Idea Lab staff (2-3 hours)
  • 4 public programs at Blasco. Ideally, at least one program is open to both kids and adults (4-8 hours) Our programs as not traditionally multiple days. These would be classes where everyone leaves with a project or had a chance to try out a maker skill within one session.  
  • 2 public programs at a branch locations: Lawrence Park, Edinboro, Fairview, or Millcreek. These repeats of programs held at Blasco. The Idea Lab Staff will need to schedule the program with Branch Managers. (2-4 hours)
  • 1 consultation with Idea Lab staff on equipment, material, and starter projects (1 hours)
  • Associated prep work for programs (2-5 hours)



Payment to the Maker in Residence would be in the total amount of $2,500. Payment is made in two installments. 50% will be paid after the initial planning meeting and private program have taken place and 50% will be paid after all public programs and consultations are completed.


Supplies and Equipment

Ideal residencies are those which utilize equipment/software available in the Idea Lab. Residencies can also rely on equipment not in the Idea Lab and, if accepted, there would be two options:

  • The Idea Lab purchases the needed equipment and retains it in the Idea Lab post-Residency
  • The Maker in Residence supplies the needed equipment to the Idea Lab temporarily during the Residency, with the Maker retaining the equipment post-Residency

Become a Maker in Residence

If you read the overview and would like to be a Maker in Residence, you can click the link below to fill out the interest form. We review submissions often and will reach out to discuss your lesson plan, schedule your class, and do the necessary paperwork. 

This application is for the Nov-Dec. 2023 Maker in Residence. 

Deadline: October 20th, 2023

We have some expectations that apply for all classes:

  • Greeting: All patrons should be explicitly greeted and welcomed as they walk in or at the beginning of class.
  • Description: The class itself should match the description and lesson plan.
  • Time: The class should take the amount of time advertised.
  • Make/Demo: For Make classes, all patrons should be able to complete or make significant progress on their project. For Demo classes, all patrons should be able to see and ask questions.

Every educator should try to meet the above expectations. Additionally, we hope that classes can be fun, interesting, and enjoyable. Making that happen is something we can work on together.

Idea Lab staff will attend your class to learn, make with you, and see how it goes. We're also available to support you should something go wrong. For Makers in Residence, the private program with Idea Lab staff is a good chance to practice your classes and get feedback before teaching the public.

No matter how class goes, we talk with all educators afterwards for 10-20 minutes about how class went. This gives us a chance to discuss what happened while our memory is still fresh. We use the evaluation sheet below to guide the conversation.


The expectations are things that should happen every class no matter what and match our expectations from the previous tab.

The reflection questions are meant to guide an honest discussion on how things went and how they might be improved. We are not interested in critiquing you personally - we want to work with you to make your class successful and have teaching be a positive experience.