Nurturing a Culture of Making & Design at Wakandacon

Chicago is rooted in a rich African American history. From The Great Migration to former President Barack Obama’s presidential election victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago’s long been a place of cultural significance in the African American community.  Hence, it came as no surprise that Chicago would also be the birthplace of Wakandacon, a utopia where culture, technology, education, activism and community meet and thrive.

As part of our engagement activities, we saw this event as the perfect place to engage the community in an authentic way through compelling making and design experiences with Tinkercad.

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Public school administrator, Wakandacon producer and tech innovation consultant pose for a candid shot

Wakandacon was a 3-day inaugural convention to celebrate in the fandom of the all things pop culture, gaming, tech, womanhood, politics, and creativity within the Black community. It was an inclusive space for people of all types to come together, educate each other, dress up, connect, and imagine futures where they can be positively represented in media through narratives like that depicted in Black Panther.

While the convention was happening during the weekend of Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Wakandacon was determined to establish its territory in a secret location at the Hilton Hotel, in downtown Chicago. We were given access to the convention to host a “Maker Mixer” in order to connect and engage with the community. We also presented our Black Panther-themed projects & YouTube series to help build awareness of resources we’ve developed for passionate Black Panther fans to learn how to make anything in pursuit of their own Wakanda.

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Autodesk & Mbadika kickoff Maker Mixer

With the support of our youth engagement collaborator, Mbadika, we presented 4 hands-on activities like: build an LED Tinkercad pin, make a Kimiyo bracelet, assemble and Black Panther keychain, explore Tinkercad and SketchBook. At the same time, participants were encouraged to decipher messages written in the language of Wakanda for a chance to win cool Autodesk swag like hoodies, t-shirts, tote bags, and much more.

Wakandacon was a memorable experience for our team because we were were able to successfully connect with kids, parents, teachers, public school administrators and talented natives from the Chicago area.

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Father and son bond over Tinkercad
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Older Chicago native shares her 3D stamps designed in Tinkercad

As a memento from the Maker Mixer, we stamped attendees with a #WakandaForever blacklight tattoo, a prototype we designed and 3d printed in Tinkercad! This was a truly unique experience for the attendees to have the secret tribal mark like a true Wakandan, as you see below on toddler Erik Killmonger.

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We’ve even released a 3D model for you to download and 3D print for yourself!

Who knows, maybe you could create your very own unique invisible art using Tinkercad. Also, stay tuned for a step-by-step Instructable on how to make your own on stamps!

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3D model of the Wakanda Forever stamp