aystack’s fab lab was established in 2011 and has quickly become an integral part of our mission to think broadly about the field of craft. Fab labs, an educational outreach component of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, are an international network of over 2,000 small-scale digital fabrication facilities that spans 30 countries and 24 time zones. Fab labs provide connection to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers, and innovators.
Haystack is the only craft school in the United States that is part of this network, and in 2016 our lab was recognized with the Distinguished Educators Award from the James Renwick Alliance, for pioneering contributions to craft education—the first given to a program. During the winter months Haystack provides fab lab access to our local community through projects in the schools and digital fabrication training at our winter office.
At Haystack, the fab lab serves as a complement to our existing programs, and no prior experience is required to use the lab. We partner with trained professionals from MIT, Harvard Graduate School of Design, AS220, and fab labs around the world to staff the lab and provide access to artists in residence, conference presenters, faculty, and workshop participants. The culture found in the Haystack fab lab is one of experimentation, risk taking, and collaboration.
Haystack and the MIT fab lab were featured on the NPR show To the Best of Our Knowledge in May 2013. Listen to the interview with Haystack’s former director, Stuart Kestenbaum, and fab lab founder and MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld.