WHAT IS NOMCON?

The 2020 Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), held on June 5 - 7, is the annual national conference that brings together leaders from maker organizations representing the diverse sectors, people, regions, and foci that represent the U.S. maker movement. Hosted by the national nonprofit Nation of Makers, the conference aims to spark and increase connections across sectors, generate robust collaborations and partnerships, set a research agenda for the U.S. maker movement, and promote the growth of an inclusive maker community. A central goal of the event is to promote relationship-building across lines of regular conversation thus generating an increased sense of connected community throughout the entire ecosystem of maker-supporting entities.


WHERE IS NOMCON BEING HELD?

NOMCON will be held in Eugene, Oregon at the Mary Spilde Center Downtown. Eugene is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers and nestled between the Coast and Cascades mountain ranges. Whether traveling north and south or east and west, you will have opportunities to discover and enjoy a variety of community histories and maker activities. Come early or stay later and connect with Oregon makers.

“One can understand a place by what its people make.” Deborah Needleman, NYTimes


WHAT IS THE THEME OF THE 2020 CONFERENCE?

The theme for NOMCON 2020 - Sustainability: Creating an Ecosystem That Supports Us All. - builds on the 2018 theme, Intentional Inclusion, and the 2019 theme, The Power of Network.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” - George Elliot

This conference brings together and celebrates the diverse community of makers across our country who represent a multitude of backgrounds, geographies, and perspectives, whose collective talents, resources and backgrounds are the backbone of the Maker Movement. We realize our Nation of Makers community is stronger when we use our networks to build an ecosystem that supports us all. This year’s conference will highlight the ways that this holds true as we gather the community together to discuss how we can harness and amplify the strength of our community ecosystem to maximize our local and global impact. Program Tracks will incorporate Sustainability: Creating an Ecosystem That Supports Us All through session presentations.

As a maker community, we enjoy a rich connection of talent, backgrounds, ideas and skills not often recognized beyond the boundaries of our respective maker organizations. We believe, in addition to sharing inspirational examples and telling untold histories, there is a need for us as a collective community to be self-reflective, to document and share best practices and resources, and to intentionally support each other in becoming stronger together. For all these reasons, we are committed this gathering will add meaningfully to the maker movement conversation nationally.


WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

“Ecosystem builders connect, empower, and collaborate with others to build the whole system. They are the system entrepreneurs, working to lift up the whole community to achieve its potential. They play multiple roles, including system architect, champion, advocate, convener, cajoler, traffic cop, air traffic controller, and storyteller.” Kauffman Foundation

NOMCON is intended for leaders and builders who create and support the maker community ecosystem!

  • Run or organize spaces (hackerspaces, makerspaces, Biospaces, FabLabs, etc.)

  • Organize events (hackathons, maker camps, workshops, summits, etc)

  • Represent organizations that support the maker community (for-profit, non-profit, educational, government, or institutional)

NOMCON invites organizations that support makers and maker movement to share insights and connections with other organizers in the Nation of Makers community. If you are a leader, or have aspirations to be a leader, who supports makers and the maker movement, this conference is for you!


WHY SHOULD I ATTEND?

Many events in the broad maker community focus on promoting makers and their projects, inspiring someone to try making, or teaching people how to be makers. The organizers themselves rarely have a chance to step back and thoughtfully consider how to best support the community they are creating. At NOMCON you will share, connect, be inspired, and learn how to:

  • Tell your inspiring and investment worthy story

  • Expand your network from within your maker community

  • Share resources to grow your space without draining your budget

  • Identify the strengths and gaps within your community ecosystem

  • Recruit volunteers from outside your network

  • Collaborate with local businesses, educational institutions and the community

  • Find partners to collaborate with, including funding partners

As a maker leader, you are invited to participate in the greater community dialogue of how we should grow the Nation of Makers, and what projects we, as a Nation of Makers community, should undertake to help the maker movement and our communities, locally and nationally. NOMCON is an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with your peers to create an ecosystem that supports all of us in our efforts to grow and thrive!


WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Expect to learn, to be challenged, and to contribute to a meaningful building of the maker movement ecosystem!

NOMCON is an opportunity to meet and share best practices with your peers in the maker community. This will be different from any maker event you’ve been to in the past! Each session will be tagged as recommended for those who run spaces, who are event organizations, or who represent organizations (for-profit, non-profit, educational, government, or institutional).

Friday, June 5th - Pre-Conference Tours, Friday Night ArtWalk, and Welcome. Some of Lane County’s most interesting makers have opened their doors to provide NOMCON attendees an in-depth look at the resources, technology and networks Oregon is cultivating to create an ecosystem that supports makers and entrepreneurs. Click here to see a list of pre-conference tours.

We welcome you to Eugene with a plethora of evening events connected by The First Friday ArtWalk. Experience the full spectrum of what it means to be a maker - from creative idea and prototype to legacy companies.

The Barnlight Café and Pub, located in the heart of activities, is excited to share their vibe and amenities with you.

Saturday, June 6th - Programming will consist of keynote speeches, six programming tracks, and a variety of networking opportunities.

After conference sessions end, enjoy The Whit neighborhood. Ninkasi, an Oregon legacy maker company, is the hub of the evening’s welcome activities.

Sunday, June 7th. - Programming will consist of keynote speeches, six programming tracks, and a variety of networking opportunities--including a dedicated Project Planning Session.

During the conference, visit our Exhibitors to meet with a dynamic range of maker organizations and see what resources are being used in maker spaces around the country.


What are the Program Tracks for NOMCON 2020?

  1. Making Local: Highlighting the regional impacts of the maker movement with a spotlight on these efforts in Oregon

  2. Making Sustainable: Exploring ways that makers make money, sustain their efforts and or source sustainable to survive and thrive

  3. Making Makers: Exploring the ways that educational efforts in formal K-12, higher ed, informal, career and technical, and adult learning environments are being advanced through making

  4. Making History: Celebrating the inclusive past and predicting the potential future impact of the maker movement

  5. Making a Difference as a Maker Community: Documenting the impact of the social and global change efforts elicited by the maker movement locally and around the globe

  6. Making Networks: Discussing how the maker community is strengthened by the development of inclusive and vibrant networks

Intentional Inclusion, Power of Network, and Programming for Youth will be part of each strand.


What is the format of the program tracks?

Six styles will deliver program track sessions:

Keynote Talks: Luminaries representing the full breadth of the maker movement will give diverse perspectives on this year’s theme, “Sustainability: Creating an Ecosystem that supports us all”.

Ignite Talks: Five minute sessions presented by YOU, the maker community! Share your passion and spark a new conversation. Submit your idea using the form on this website.

Ignite Talk Working Sessions: Each track features a working session beyond the ignite talk session, where participants can discuss and ideate “next steps” forward with the ignite session presenters.

Discussion Sessions: Facilitated by makers from around the community, discussion sessions are opportunities to dive deeply into topics of interest, share what we know, and learn from others. 

Working Group Sessions: An opportunity for our Nation of Makers working groups to convene in a face-to-face setting, goal set, and develop an action-setting agenda for moving forward.

Project-Planning Sessions: Our final session of the conference is slated to be a project planning session, where participants can discuss new and scalable efforts, implementable actions, and next steps, allowing the conference participants to leave with a clear vision of next steps, committed project partners, and what we hope will be a sustainable road map to future success.


Will there be programming for youth?

We know there are quite a few youth in our country who are developing new products, providing leadership in their makerspaces, and making amazing things. This year, we are curating youth programming for them and providing youth ticket pricing. Along with access to all the keynotes and conference tracks at NOMCON, youth can expect to connect with peers who are making a difference in their communities, share knowledge and develop new skills that can help them now and in the future. Youth must be between the ages of 14 and 18 to qualify for this youth ticket and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Click here to purchase your tickets today.

Should I bring my children who are under 14 to NOMCON? While we do not have any explicit children’s programming children under 14 would appreciate, Eugene has many age appropriate activities and places your whole family will enjoy. Be sure to check out Where to Stay, Play, and Make in Eugene for the Things to do in Eugene, OR video. The preconference tours also provide some ideas for further exploration.


I WANT TO ATTEND, BUT CAN'T AFFORD TO. IS THERE ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR NOMCON?

In order to create the most inclusive access possible, we have created a "pay-what-you-can" pricing structure. Please see https://www.nomcon.org/pay-what-you-can/ for details. This is for registration costs only.

Should you require assistance with travel expenses or housing, please click here to apply. We will have a limited number of travel awards available to help defray the costs of attending NOMCON.

Several community members are organizing group rides and housing to help lower the cost of attendance. Join the Slack group at https://nation-of-makers.slack.com/ and check out the #nomcon_travel-plans channel for more details.


I’D LIKE TO PARTNER WITH NOMCON. ARE THERE STILL SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES?

Yes! Without the generous support of our sponsoring partners, NOMCON would not be possible. If your organization is interested in supporting NOMCON as a sponsoring partner, please download our sponsorship package here, and contact Dorothy Jones-Davis at: dorothy@nationofmakers.us.  


I’D LIKE TO EXHIBIT AT NOMCON. HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR A BOOTH?

Given the nature of our maker community, it is important to note that the Exhibit Hall will not be a typical vendor space. We pay special attention to how exhibitors create interactive experiences; those wishing to exhibit can expect an exploratory conversation in the process to ensure the planned experiences are in keeping with the overall vision for the conference and the space. If your organization is interested in exhibiting at NOMCON, please download our exhibitor package here, and contact Darby Giannone at: darby@nomcon.org.


What is transportation like in Eugene?

Eugene has an incredibly walkable Downtown and offers many ways to get around the city.  LTD will provide a free pass to each conference attendee.

LTD – Our Lane Transit District bus system has many accessible transportation options. https://www.ltd.org

Download the Mobile Trip Planner

EmGo - A free electric shuttle runs daily.  Download the APP

The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System provides 12 miles of scenic walking or riding along the Willamette River. https://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4762/Ruth-Bascom-Riverbank-Path-System?bidId=

A citywide bike share system and 62 miles of bike paths provides biking ease and convenience. https://www.eugene-or.gov/1849/Bike-Maps

Should you decide to rent a car or drive, there are metered parking and parking garages available in addition to the parking.provided by your accommodations.

Uber and Lyft. are available.