Meet you at the MadLab

by Ashley Allen

On a cold Tuesday night in February, looking for something interesting, and unique to do in Manchester, I stumbled into “MadLab” where a graphic-novel meet-up was underway. After shyly refusing some delicious looking pizza and taking in the minimalist white concrete, and comiccrazed atmosphere, I started to ponder all the potentials this practically hidden gem in the Northern Quarter, could offer.

The Manchester Digital Laboratory, affectionately known as “Mad-Lab” is a non-profit community hub which caters to ‘creative-types’ and technology-enthusiasts by providing a meet-up space for people to come together, share skills, and ideas.

“Whether you work with art or technology, knitting or sustainable living, the MadLab provides a stable base for your group, oneoff or regular events…”

By providing resources, such as internet connection, and affordable workspace, (free, if your group is non-profit) MadLab aims to be a melting pot for interesting people, an encouraging site for exploration, a net-working flurry, a space for events, and a place where opportunities can be born.

Though graphic-novels is not a primary interest of mine, the group was open and friendly, the space humble and atmosphere relaxed, an ethereal feeling that it was a ‘home’ conducive to creativity could not be ignored. Perhaps this feeling could be located in the energy that is created by the numerous, and diverse groups that come together at MadLab.

From a landscape architecture workshop, to an experimental film course, from a “Dr. Sketchy’s live-drawing night, to a sewing group, from a soup-day, to hacking-meetup, a writers-workshop, and ‘shareable’-music night, the MadLab provides a broadly inclusive hotbed for an assortment of groups, ideas and interests!

In our ever-growing cities, shared with more and more ‘strangers’, the MadLab is a place where community can be formed, where like-minded people can meet, and re-meet and work on whatever it is that interests them!

For more information and a list of events, please visit:

Which meetup places do you love to go to? (Feel free to comment in a constructive way)

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