I’m approaching the fourth quarter of my internship at the MISiS FabLab and I couldn’t be more pleased with my time here. Having studied industrial design for four years before coming here, I have learned a lot about design, and I really just needed a domain to hone my skills and knowledge and also the tools to create and build my ideas. The FabLab has provided me with both a domain and the tools, along with the help and support of many brilliant and experienced people.
Getting to learn about the Russian work culture has been an interesting and rewarding experience. Although I would say that the FabLab is probably more similar to American work culture than other Russian businesses, there is still definitely subtle differences that have intrigued me. However, the FabLab culture is very westernized and that’s largely in part due to the westernization of Russian universities and education. It also might have something to do with the fact that the head of the FabLab studied at the University of Northern Iowa. Vladimir has created a very fast paced productive environment that allows people like me to challenge myself and create a seemingly infinite number of things.
One of the best experiences I’ve had at MISiS so far has been the two-week precious plastics project workshop. We got to tackle the project as an intercultural group of Russians, French, and Americans. Not only did we get experience working with diverse group of people, we got to learn about different ways to recycle and reuse plastics that are usually otherwise given a short life cycle before being tossed in a landfill or the ocean. As a group we created everything from furniture to jewelry to planter pots using recycled plastic. And we were a part of every step of the process. We started by getting our hands dirty and cleaning and sorting the different plastics. We then had to shred the plastic down into smaller bits before melting it into the various forms used to create an array of different products. The collaboration was a success and everyone walked away inspired and more knowledgeable on the sustainability, or lack thereof, for plastic products.
Aside from the precious plastics project, I am extremely grateful at the opportunities the FabLab has provided me. During my time at UW-Stout I was always trying to innovate and create something new, which is important, but here I’ve been able to focus more on the form and aesthetics that make up a product. It’s helped me learn and push the limits of the different technologies used to make and manufacture products. It’s forced me to build a product around capabilities and to utilize capabilities closer to their full potential. The FabLab has sparked new ideas in me and allowed me to see those ideas through, which has resulted in a wonderful and rewarding experience. I still have a little over two weeks left to work at MISiS and I can’t wait to see the things I can make in my dwindling days here.
By: Bryson Feser
Program: Overseas Professional & Intercultural Training Program, Moscow, Russia
Term: Summer 2019