Maker-in-Residence Program

Image of member working on a project

The Maker-in-Residence (MIR) program at Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) empowers makers and creators in our community. The program offers local makers the chance to pursue a creative, social impact-driven project of their choice at TVCOG with dedicated space and resources, including a complimentary membership, equipment training, a small project supply budget and a $500 stipend.

We are thrilled to announce that, as of April 2022, we are now offering a new level of residency for individuals just starting their creative journey called the Emerging Maker-in-Residence(EMIR) program. The EMIR program offers all of the benefits of the MIR program, but begins with a trimester of complementary education, training and workshops  which are intended to provide the EMIR with the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully complete the MIR program. The program is designed for the EMIR to become the MIR directly after completing their EMIR training period.

We are accepting applications for our Trimester III program now. We hope to select one MIR and one EMIR from this round of applications. Applications are due by 10pm on Sunday, September 25.

TVCOG staff will be hosting an application workshop from 6-7:30pm on Thursday, September 15 to help guide interested applicants through the application process. Register here.

This program is made possible thanks to the New York State Council of the Arts, and is part of TVCOG's Community Access Programs, which supports mission-critical initiatives related to access, equity, education, and volunteership.

About the Program

TVCOG is committed to our mission to serve as a community resource providing low-cost access to resources, equipment, education and space to the greater Capital Region. Our MIR program allows us to provide unique support to local Makers while expanding the knowledge and services of the COG through skill sharing and community collaboration.


The residency is a flexible opportunity for Makers of any kind, and the exact experience will be tailored to fit the needs of the individual resident. In general, the program is comprised of three core elements:

  • The Project
    • Each resident will spend 3 months actively construction a creative, social impact driven project of their own design using the equipment and resources here at TVCOG. In support of individual projects, each resident will receive: a complimentary membership, a dedicated 6x8ft innovation space, fully subsidized equipment training, and a limited project materials budget. The resident will also receive complimentary use of Prototyping Center equipment for creation of their project (training included), and credit for TVCOG classes. Projects will be displayed at an end-of-term event, the format of which will vary depending on the Maker and the project itself.
  • Community Engagement
    • Following completion of their project, our Maker Resident will spend three to four months developing and hosting a number of free workshops to the community. The resident will continue to receive a fully subsidized membership for this period of time, and will receive workshop planning support from TVCOG staff, and a small workshop materials budget.
  • Long Term Maker Support
    • The project and community engagement elements make up the active residency period,  during which the Resident is expected to fulfill the duties outlined in the program contract. The third core element of the program is long term maker support, which is designed to assist our resident Makers on their creative journey outside of their active contract period.
    • For those joining the program as a Maker-In-Residence, this support takes the form of an additional 4 months of complimentary membership and a $500 stipend, following completion of their Project and Community Engagement requirements.
    • For those joining the program as an Emerging Maker-In-Residence, this support is provided up front via a trimester of complimentary membership, classes and training here at TVCOG. This provides an opportunity to build their skillset before taking on the duties expected of them during active residency. In addition, the EMIR will be given a $500 stipend following completion of their active residency requirements, in the hopes of supporting their future creative endeavors.

The program runs on a Trimester schedule, in conjunction with our classes. A new Resident will begin their active residency at the beginning of each trimester. This format allows us to support 3 local makers per year and foster collaboration and mentorship between residents as they move through each core element of the program.

What are all of the benefits included with this Residency? What are the program expectations?

Our MIR will be given the tools necessary to complete their residency and expand their creative horizons, including: 

  • One year of fully subsidized Prototyping Center Membership 
  • 24/7 access to the building (Please note, this may be subject to change as hours of access may be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions)
  • Access to equipment in all Zones (after safety orientation)
  • Fully subsidized access to equipment in Prototyping Center for project creation, training costs included. After project creation, the Resident will be offered discounted rates on Prototyping Center machines
  • Free 5’x 8’ studio space to work on your project; after completion of the project, the Resident will be offered a fully subsidized work shelf or locker
  • A small, dedicated project materials budget
  • Credit for TVCOG classes; for those entering the program at the MIR level, we offer up to $200 in class credit. For those entering the program at the EMIR level, we offer up to $400 in class credit.
  • Limited technical support from CoG staff and fully subsidized equipment training
  • Up to $200 in credit for TVCOG classes
  • Networking opportunities with CoG members
  • A one-time stipend payment of $500, following completion of the Project and Community Engagement requirements outlined in the below and in the MIR Program Agreement.

The benefits for each level of Residency remain the same unless otherwise stated.

During their time in the program, each Resident will be asked to fulfill the following duties:

  • Be an active member of the TVCOG community, and follow all guidelines set for members
  • Complete the core element requirements of the MIR program
  • Be an active media ambassador for TVCOG; this includes providing regular photographic and text updates to be shared in social media throughout the first two trimesters of their residency and having 1-3 features in TVCOG’s newsletter
  • Complete an end-of-project presentation event at the end of the program; the format of the summary and presentation event can vary, and will be decided on by the MIR and TVCOG staff
  • Design and host a series of workshops for the Maker community after completion of the project; these workshops will be offered free of charge to the public
  • Complete an end-of-trimester report (per trimester)
  • Individuals joining the residency at the EMIR level will be expected to spend their first trimester actively participating in classes and workshops and shadowing other instructors.

To learn more about the equipment we have available in our facility, please visit our Wiki here or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a tour.

Who is a good fit for the MIR program?

This program is designed with the goal of finding and supporting a gifted local maker who might not be able to afford to use the space otherwise. Qualifying applicants are Capital Region residents, age 18 or older, whose taxable income in the last year was under Troy AMI ($39,526 or less.) The program is only open to individuals, not teams.

The ideal candidate is friendly, community-oriented, and passionate about making, innovation, and education, and has a project already in mind. In addition, the ideal candidate has interest in or experience with teaching, and has some familiarity with some of the equipment needed to complete their project. MIRs must be comfortable being part of TVCOG’s media presence. 

This program has no restrictions on medium. Makers and creators of any kind are welcome to apply, from traditional artists to entrepreneurs, engineers to crafters, and more. The project itself should be made using the equipment and resources here at TVCOG.

To be considered a resident of the Capital Region, you need to be a resident of one of the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington.

The application and all eligibility restrictions are the same for both levels of residency.

The residency schedule and focus is the main difference between the EMIR and MIR residency programs. The EMIR program offers makers with limited professional experience the chance to participate in the MIR program, with the program offering a trimester of training and classes for the resident before they begin their MIR duties.
If the MIR program interests you, but you feel you are not yet prepared for the duties expected of the MIR, we encourage you to apply for the EMIR position.


Individuals applying for the MIR position are expected to enter the program operating at a more professional level and should have demonstrated teaching and/or project construction experience. Those applying to the MIR level should be as detailed as possible while completing the “About the Residency” section on their application, and include as many of the suggested materials as possible. This includes sketches/computer renderings of your proposed project, a resume, letters of recommendation, and examples of past curriculum developed.

What does a typical residency look like?

This program is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of the individual maker in residence, as they pursue a project of their choosing and engage the community in a number of workshops. As such, the program will look a little different for each MIR.

An MIR might look like a sculptural artist, who prepares a showcase for their end-of-term event, and partners with local organizations to provide free sculpture classes to middle schoolers for their community service while using the resources their membership provides to learn new skills and work with new mediums, building their portfolio. 


An MIR might be an entrepreneur who has an idea to replace a common plastic household product with something made from eco-friendly materials. Their project would be to build the initial prototype of their product. Their end-of-term event may be a review of their prototyping process and the lessons learned along the way. Their community service requirement may be a class that teaches a technique they used while prototyping, or a presentation about the potential applications of their eco-friendly material. They may decide to use their final term to complete a short manufacturing run, so they can start to solicit customer feedback and begin figuring out their go-to-market strategy.

The MIR program is here to support you in your creative journey, whatever that may be.

Woodworkers creating new furniture, welders working on "smart bicycles" that store energy, fiber artists working on a quilt exhibition, aspiring small business owners developing their signature product and more...anything is possible with our MIR program. 

Not sure if your project is a good fit? Questions about eligibility? Please contact us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Residency schedule

Calendar

A new MIR begins their active residency each trimester, in conjuction with TVCOG's class calendar: January 1-April 30 (Tri I), May 1-August 31 (Tri II), September 1-December 31 (Tri III) each calendar year.

The residency schedule varies based on level; view the full calendar for the 2022 Trimester III Residents here. Please note, the calendar states the application due date to be September 22. That date has been changed to Sunday, September 25.

Time Commitment

The time commitment varies depending on the project and the Maker.

MIRs are expected to complete their project within the first trimester of their residency and complete the Community Engagement component within the second trimester. Depending on the individual, this means a time commitment of anywhere between 4-8 months for active participation in the program. We estimate that most MIRs will need to spend at least 16 hours a month in the facility during the first two trimesters of their residency.


The final trimester of residency is designed to provide additional support via subsidized membership for our MIR as they pursue their individual creative endeavors, and has no time requirements attached.


EMIRs should expect the same time commitment during their active residency, but should also plan on spending their first trimester participating in classes and training. This means that the EMIR program is a year-long commitment. For their first trimester, EMIRs should anticipate spending a minimum of 8 hours per month in the facility as they train.

Additional information

CODE OF CONDUCT All program participants are expected to abide by our Member Code of Conduct, and to follow the guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety measures listed here.

RIGHT OF REFUSAL TVCOG reserves the right to dismiss any application to any program if the applicant is deemed ineligible. TVCOG also reserves the right to offer applicants entry into a different program than the one denoted as preferred on their application. 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION The MIR/EMIR program is not an employment offer; as an MIR/EMIR, you will be considered an independent contractor. As such, you will be required to provide TVCOG with a W-9 form. The one-time $500 stipend, to be paid out at the end of the residency, is considered taxable income.

TVCOG reserves the right to request additional proof of income upon application receipt. 

MIR SELECTION PROCESS Applications will be reviewed by the MIR Selection Committee, which consists of at least one of each of the following: a TVCOG member in good standing, a current TVCOG Board Member and a current TVCOG staff member.


In an effort to remove any potential bias from our selection process, applications will be anonymous.  In order to facilitate this, page 1 of the application form, which asks for identifying information, will be removed from the copies provided to the Selection Committee.


Applicants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will automatically be removed from consideration.

BACKGROUND CHECKS All program participants may be subject to a criminal background check, at the discretion of TVCOG staff. Any program participants working or volunteering in our children’s section, the THINQubator, will be required to complete a background check.

A criminal history does not prohibit anyone from joining TVCOG as a member, or participating in the Maker-in-Residence program. However, TVCOG does reserve the right to deny membership and/or program entry to anyone convicted of a violent or sexual offense. Appeals to such denials may be made, in writing, to the Board of Directors Executive Committee.

MIR PROGRAM AGREEMENT

Program agreements are modified to fit the needs of the individual MIR. You can view a general version of the program agreement here.

Apply now

Applications for the Trimester III EMIR and MIR program are currently being accepted, due 10pm on Sep 25, 2022. The application form is available online here.

The application form for both levels of residency is the same. Applicants will be contacted about the status of their application via email within 1-2 weeks.

Online applications submitted through our forms portal are preferred. If this is prohibitive, TVCOG will provide a paper version upon request. You can view the application in its entirety in PDF form here

We highly recommend reading through the full application before starting the application. In addition, we encourage you to read through the information provided here on the program webpage, in order to better understand the program elements, requirements and benefits. Please reach out to TVCOG staff via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions or accommodation requests.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to join us from 5:30-7pm on Thursday, September 15 for a guided Application Workshop session. Learn more or register here.

Meet our current Maker Residents

We welcomed Jerry Huang, our first MIR of 2022, in February!

Jerry Huang Newsletter Photo 3

Jerry, a PhD student in Architectural Acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a lifelong maker and experimental artist whose work explores the intersection of art, community and technology.


During his residency, Jerry will be working on a monolithic, multi-sensory interactive installation piece, tentatively titled Relational Matter: Monument of Urban Connectedness. The installation was conceived as a piece of participatory art that extends beyond visual sensibility, engaging local technologies and state-of-the-art digital interaction system design.


“With its interactivity of lights, touch and sounds, the installation will become a metaphoric digital creature that not only celebrates the creativity of Troy makers, but also manifests the intimately connected nature of the city’s urban community at large,” said Jerry. He plans on hosting open workshops during the construction of the project, allowing members of the community the chance for hands-on participation.


You can find updates on his project and workshops on our "What's News" page and on our social media. For more information about the proposed installation, please see the full-length project proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help us spread the word!

Please feel free to share information about this program with anyone who may be interested! 

Links and images:

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This program is made possible by the New York State Council of the Arts.