Maker Movement, FabLabs, Hackerspace and improvisation: Science, Technology and Education by other means?
Location 123
Date and Start Time 03 September, 2016 at 11:00
Sessions 3


  • Rodrigo Barbosa e Silva (Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná) email
  • Luiz Ernesto Merkle (Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná) email
  • André Alessandro Gomes de Souza (Alliance Manchester Business School) email

Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

Maker Movement/DIY in education, social spaces and collectives, maker and hacker culture, and the socio-technical basis of hands-on and constructionist learning. It aims on all practitioners, social scientists, educators, policy and tech makers, designers and researchers .

Long Abstract

Maker movement has gained public attention in recent years. FabLabs, Hacker Spaces, Maker Spaces are only a few examples of the many places where people are 'making' technological artifacts. These collectives are constructing tech spaces and envisioning a future. But, what future? This track is a venue to discuss the Maker Movement/DIY in education, social spaces and collectives, the maker and hacker culture, and the socio-technical basis of hands-on and constructionist learning. It aims on all social scientists, educators, policy and tech makers, designers, researchers and students.

The Making/DIY in a STS perspective deals with questions such as minorities, gender issues, empowerment and equity. We are also calling for papers on marginalized and/or underrepresented societies in computing and making, and/or those with limited democratic access to digital technologies.

We are seeking submissions for papers - reflections, ideas, findings, projects and hypothesis - on:

- Maker and Socio-technical perspectives;

- open source 2.0;

- developers/makers motivation;

- implication for theory and practice;

- free software and open hardware experiences;

- STS research and Maker Movement/DIY;

- maker experiences in arts, music, literature, design;

- engaging women and minorities through making;

- engaging STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics through making;

- Makerspaces, Hackerspaces and Fablabs as citizenship spaces;

- civil society, private and NGO actors ;

- hands-on in the developing world.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.


BioHack*Kolding : bringing science to citizens and citizens to science

Author: Danielle Wilde (University of Southern Denmark, Kolding)  email

Short Abstract

BioHack*Kolding explores the potential of do-it-together biology to support community building in a town that lacks strong science representation, assisting participants to reflect on the bio-potential of their personal, social and political ecologies and to translate their ideas into action.

Long Abstract

Organisations that support lay people to practice bioscience alongside experts are proliferating. They enable interested people to join the global discussion on Bio Engineering by supporting them to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to do it themselves. Such organisations play an important role in facilitating informed debate around the biological sciences. Yet they cannot reach everyone. BioHack*Kolding asks how community-focused biology initiatives can reach people in smaller towns that lack science representation, so that they too can join the debate and ensure that its development is relevant for the full spectrum of society. Using Participatory Innovation - an approach that expands the repertoire of how to support change processes - we expand the space of action to reach diverse participant groups. We discuss initiatives designed for different communities in response to questions such as: How might we empower people with perhaps radically different perspectives to come together in a Do-It-Together BioLab? Can engaging with science in this manner facilitate connections between communities? Can it empower participants to engage directly with scientists? Can their ideas and experiments inform emerging science to ensure that science is societally relevant? If so, how? Members of BioHack*Kolding gain knowledge through experience, discussion and practice in an evolving, responsive process. This approach is enabling us to gain deeper insights into what design can do to help scientists and citizens engage with each other through reflections, discussions and actions that emerge directly from the civic imaginary.

Do-it-yourself but do it together: Interdisciplinary Design Studio

Authors: Arsev Aydinoglu (Middle East Technical University)  email
Pinar Kaygan (Middle East Technical University)  email

Short Abstract

This qualitative study explores design process in a collaborative educational setting at METU Design Factory. The prominent themes that emerged are peer-learning, hands-on experience, interdisciplinarity, soft skills, and shared space.

Long Abstract

Background. This study explores design process in a collaborative educational setting. Design Factory @METU is an interdisciplinary research and education center whose primary objective is providing space and equipment infrastructure required for design projects that are conducted in teams. Interdisciplinary student teams (engineering, design, architecture, and business students, 42 in total) were given a theme -emergency- and asked to develop an artefact addressing it using the DF spaces and tools. The teams were mentored by a diverse group of faculty. Two groups developed apps while four groups completed conceptual designs for tangible products.

Methodology. This exploratory study aimed to understand the dynamics of collaborative work better. Data was generated through semi-structured interviews and naturalistic observation. We conducted 50 interviews with students (multiple interviews with some of the students). In addition, we had spent observing students for four weeks. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed. The observation memos were integrated into the analysis.

Findings & Arguments. 1.Through peer-learning and hands-on experience students become something other than consumers of education. 2.Students from different departments have different mindsets, approaches, and workflows that are sometimes irreconcilable. 3.Skillsets (using 3D printer, coding, etc.) are important, so are soft skills (communication, conflict management, etc.). 4.Shared space (or lack thereof) hindered collaborative design process. Interaction does not happen in vacuum.

Contribution. There is limited literature on the teamwork aspect of maker culture in STS, this study addresses that gap. Moreover, it explores an educational model for engaging STEAM and hands-on experience in the developing world.

Critical Making: Amish Innovation for Community Empowerment

Author: Lindsay Ems (Butler University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper contributes to our understanding of critical making practices in Amish communities. Amish makers are repurposing and creating new technologies that better adhere to their community values. Such practices help protect Amish cultural autonomy in our capitalistic and digital social world.

Long Abstract

Based on recent ethnographic fieldwork in Indiana Amish settlements and artifact analyses, this paper explores the political implications of everyday socio-technical making practices in Amish communities. In particular, this paper explores socio-technical innovations that reflect and protect Amish religious and cultural values in a capitalistic high-tech information economy.

The Amish have a long history of deciding which new technologies to accept and which to reject. Generally a conservative religious group known for its members living pre-modern lifestyles, the Amish do not take a hard line against all new technologies. Interestingly, the Amish do not seek complete isolation from the rest of the world. Like us, they participate in the global network society today to make a living, travel and maintain relationships. One way they accomplish this is to create new information communication technologies that better adhere to their values.

For example, a device known as "the black box phone" is a landline phone with an attachment (a "black box") that connects the phone to the local cellular network. It is powered by plugging it into an automobile's cigarette lighter (making it a mobile telephone). This device is preferable to cell phones, because it only allows public, verbal conversations—no texting or internet access. This unique modification is in better alignment with Amish values. It forces public communication so peers can hold each other accountable for their actions. It also prohibits the flow of outside ideologies into the community, which could result in individualism, pride and dissolution of close-knit community bonds.

The Construction of Makers and Digital Fabrication Technologies, The Case Study of Israeli Makers

Author: Noa Morag Yaar (IDC/ Bar Ilan University)  email

Short Abstract

The Makers' movement defines Makers and delineates their practices. This article will present the construction of Israeli Makers. I argue that the unique link between craft and digital practices allows a diversity that is overlooked by the Makers' movement.

Long Abstract

Personal Digital Fabrication technologies serve as a vehicle for the Makers' movement, as they increasingly invade our homes and communal spaces. The movement promotes statements and produces definitions for who uses this technology (aka the "Makers"), their practices, places they produce at and their values and beliefs.

Following STS literature on co-construction of users and technology, this article will show how statements of the Makers' movement create a narrow definition on the nature of the technology, its users and their actions (Cowan 1987; Woolgar 1991; Akrich & Latour 1992). The article will show how these meanings are inconsistent with my early findings of women crafters who make at home, or in the academia, or in communal spaces in Israel and express a variety of meanings and motivations. Through their stories, I will show how they use the technology, what they produce, what their motivations are, and how they incorporate the technology into their existing manufacturing process.

I argue that personal digital fabrication tools develop a new productivity space, a space that allows for new productive technological work due to the unique link between digital and material practices. The space allows more people, in particular crafters, to join. The space consists of distributed practices, new roles, allows for diverse doing and asks for creativity that relies on prior material knowledge.

Public Network of Digital Fabrication Laboratory of São Paulo City

Authors: Artur Vasconcelos Cordeiro (City Hall of São Paulo)  email
Juliana Silva (São Paulo City Hall)  email

Short Abstract

This work presents the creation of the Public Network of Digital Fabrication Laboratory of São Paulo - Fab Lab Livre SP. It investigates the potential of twelve laboratories for the cultural, technological and economical development of the local communities and also in the city scale.

Long Abstract

In 2015 the City Hall of São Paulo created the public network Fab Lab Livre SP with twelve laboratories of digital fabrication. The laboratories are strategically located in São Paulo, allowing people of different regions to have free access to digital technologies and knowledge to develop and build objects. The laboratories Fab Lab Livre SP are placed in cultural and educational centers, bringing the culture of digital manufacturing and design processes for local communities. The Fab Lab Livre SP are provided with 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC milling machines, computers with open source software for digital drawing, electronics and robotics equipments, and carpentry and mechanical tools. The laboratories have a dynamic team that encourages learning and creativity through making, with regular courses and guiding development projects. This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of the network Fab Lab Livre SP as public policy, investigating how the democratization of access to digital fabrication enables the creation of opportunities that benefit the community and the individual, as well as new professional perspectives. In this context, it analyzes the potential of digital manufacturing environment in the education field, relating technology with educational practices. It performs a reflection about the shared knowledge applied to creativity and making as a mechanism of empowerment and strengthening community ties.

The Brazilian Reception of Computer Laboratories by Educational Institutions: controversies about their determining contributions to actual communities

Authors: Rodrigo Barbosa e Silva (Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná)  email
Luiz Ernesto Merkle (Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná)  email
Paulo Blikstein (Stanford University)  email

Short Abstract

The role of digital spaces, such as computer laboratories, "making" spaces, and other similar arrangements within educational institutions, showing how they can contribute to teaching and learning, though not determine their progress.

Long Abstract

Laboratory studies have critically elaborated the understanding of laboratories for scientific development, showing how cultural, historical and political dimensions interfere in knowledge construction processes. Coetaneously, Papert raised several critiques of delimiting one single space for digital learning, pointing to the restrictions of this form of control. We discuss in this article the role of digital spaces, such as computer laboratories, "making" spaces, and other similar arrangements within educational institutions, showing how they can contribute to teaching and learning, though not determine their progress. Learning outcomes depend of broader factors than those naively and instrumentally associated with digital technology, mostly in times of large-scale initiatives, geared toward digital inclusion in different contexts, such as under served communities. Weblogs, authored by teachers and learners, present several traces of these broader political and pedagogical factors, but are scattered through the web. We present an ongoing research, akin to digital anthropology, which explores data collection techniques, to gather information, seek patterns and categorize the actual reception of these spaces within educational Brazilian endeavors. We aim to: a) contribute with the gathering of data of actual digital spaces, in Brazil; b) reflect on the implications of these situated and circumscribed receptions, from a STS critical perspective, in order to better inform the development of educational policies in and by this same country.

Crafters, Makers, and Takers: A Critical Look at Maker Rhetoric

Authors: Dawn Neill (California Polytechnic State University)  email
Coleen Carrigan (California Polytechnic State University)  email

Short Abstract

Through critical examination of the meaning of Maker rhetoric and action, this paper seeks to describe variable actors constructing the Maker movement. We identify these actors as crafters, makers, and takers, paying special attention to the impact of capitalist motivations on increasing diversity in Making.

Long Abstract

The Maker movement is often described as a burgeoning tech-inspired catalyst for grass-roots social change motivated by the sharing of ideas and information, democratization of expertise, and engagement of diverse perspectives. The movement impacts emergent conceptualizations of science, education, technology, and citizenship. Despite its global reach and undeniable impact, the movement continues to lack cultural cohesion. Through critical examination of the meanings and motivations of Maker rhetoric and action, this paper seeks to describe variable actors constructing the Maker movement. We pair participant-observation with discourse analysis of spoken and print material gathered in Maker-oriented spaces in Portland and Seattle. In doing so, we contribute to a growing critical perspective in anthropology and Science and Technology Studies that interrogates the emergent Maker discourse in light of information sharing and diverse participation. Our analysis identifies thematic Maker rhetoric focused on diversity, equality, imaginative possibility, and community. Upon closer inspection, however, Maker culture reveals in itself strong capitalist-oriented goals, which undercut support for community and diversity and may ultimately re-orient Maker culture as the antithesis of grass roots social change. Our analysis identifies three sets of actors: Crafters, who rely on the tools and expertise available through Makerspaces to produce; Makers, who own, manage, operate, and guide Makerspaces through an array of modalities; and Takers, the omnipresent capitalist infrastructural interests impacting Maker rhetoric, purchasing innovation, and impeding social change.

The disabled maker subject and the future of DIY Adaptive Technology

Authors: Cath Duchastel de Montrouge (York University)  email
Melanie Baljko (York University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper argues that an examination of maker spaces and subjects would be enriched, nuanced, and augmented by key concepts and framings from critical disability studies and Assistive Technology. How can the disabled maker subject reframe access to the maker movement as also a conceptual shift?

Long Abstract

Maker movement advocates have made claims as to the potential of DIY communities to democratize design and technology (Gershenfeld, 2007). Maker spaces have also been critiqued as exclusionary to most marginalized people and as elitist in their focus on cutting edge technological knowledge (Bardzell et al., 2014). We explore these conflicting ideas through the hands-on design and fabrication of TalkBox, a prototype for a DIY communication board for non-verbal users (Hamidi et al., 2014). TalkBox is a community-based project, incorporating a special education teacher, disabled contributors, and GaMaY Lab at York University. Its goals are to take the insights and needs of its users as the core and leading principle of technological design, evaluation, and end product utility. This has led to numerous iterations of TalkBox, and a continuing involvement of disabled contributors in the research and design process.

This paper argues that an examination of maker spaces and subjects would be enriched, nuanced, and augmented by key concepts and framings from critical disability studies and Assistive Technology (AT). Disabled people as makers, participating in maker spaces and practices, challenge narratives of the maker as normative, autonomous, and independent. The domain of AT proposes a compelling rationale for ongoing, sustainable changes to modes of research and design production. However, maker spaces offer more possibilities for participation and valuing than corporate design and production practices. How can the disabled maker subject and disability as design and fabrication opportunity (Pullman, 2011) reframe access to the maker movement as a needed conceptual shift?

Open Source: Precipitating Events of Change

Author: André Alessandro Gomes de Souza (Alliance Manchester Business School)  email

Short Abstract

Considering the subject matter of this track, it is of extreme value to open a discussion about what drives the motivation of hobbyists and practitioners to take part in F/OSS projects.

Long Abstract

Free and open source software (F/OSS) has grown from an ideology to a major value proposition for organisations. As digital networks enabled by information and communication technologies (ICT) have become increasingly reliable, faster and omnipresent in most societies, peer production has expanded its remit. In line with this, hobbyists and practitioners have combined strengths to generate cultural contents such as F/OSS. F/OSS has become a major economic, social, and cultural paradox, stimulating debates for academics and professionals alike. The paradigm change is marked by innovative means of value creation in post-modern societies. F/OSS resulted from the developers' freedom to craft new goods and service. In this respect, it is important to understand the motivations for these digital craftsmen.

Social Manufacturing: Towards the popularization of personalized fabrication

Authors: Raúl Tabarés (TECNALIA)  email
María Teresa Moreno (TECNALIA)  email
Amaia Sopelana (TECNALIA)  email
Jorge García Valbuena (Tecnalia Research & Innovation)  email

Short Abstract

Due to the development of new open technologies, many social technology-based movements such as “Do It Yourself,” “Hackers” and “Makers” have stand up in recent decades. Our goal in this paper is to perform a comprehensive analysis of all these trends.

Long Abstract

Due to the development of new open technologies, many social technology-based movements such as "Do It Yourself," "Hackers" and "Makers" have stand up in recent decades. Our goal in this paper is to perform a comprehensive analysis of all these trends and propose "Social Manufacturing" as a term which comprises a new paradigm of personalized manufacturing based on new open technologies. We describe the main features of this movement after reviewing the existing literature, ending with the results of qualitative research completed with the collaboration of different makerspaces based in Spain.

Furthermore, we also describe the opportunities and challenges that are starting to be unveiled for this movement. Paying special attention to policy makers and other stakeholders that might benefit from the innovative and regenerative impact of this new movement on the urban environment.

Technology Enthusiasts' Organizational Platforms of Innovation: Hams, Hackers, and Makers

Authors: Sophie LeBlanc (University of Toronto)  email
Chen-Pang Yeang (University of Toronto)  email

Short Abstract

This paper compares the maker movement with radio hams in the 1920s and computer hackers in the 1970s. While the received view portrays the technology enthusiasts as free-spirited and loosely connected individuals, we argue that their organizations play an essential part in their technical innovation.

Long Abstract

This paper is a comparative study of the ongoing maker movement and two predecessors that manifested its deeper cultural and social roots in the twentieth century: radio hams in the 1920s and hackers craving for personal computers in the 1970s. These technology enthusiasts are often portrayed by media and themselves as mavericks, or free-spirited activists or entrepreneurs. Although social scientists and historians note the relevance of organizations to the enthusiasts' technical work, the scholarly focus is on their decentralized communities, commons, or assemblage comprising loosely associated individuals, who are united by their common interests and cultures but act independently. Here, we argue that the makers', hackers', and hams' technical explorations have been considerably more organized than what the received view acknowledges. Their major contribution to invention and innovation has been to experiment (try, tinker, extend, alter, recombine) with novel technologies. These experiments have often been done in a collective manner; and the technologists' organizations have played a crucial part in initiating, planning, coordinating, and promoting such experiments. To develop our argument, we examine three empirical cases: the American Radio Relay League's plan of long-range short-wave radio transmission trials in 1920-25, the Homebrew Computer Club's attempt to enact a standard for the personal computer Altair 8800 in the late 1970s, and the technical activities promoted by the Maker Festival in Toronto. While the ways of managing collective experiments are different in these cases, the three organizations all serve as technology enthusiasts' platforms of innovation.

LudoMaker : How to Equip Creativity Through the Making of Games

Authors: Vinciane Zabban (Experice - Paris 13 University)  email
Vincent Berry (University Paris 13)  email
Nicolas PIÑEROS (Université Paris 13)  email

Short Abstract

Fablabs are developing in many contexts, and the way they are designed to equip creative process varies greatly. In this talk, we propose a reflexive analysis of a Fablab project hosted by the department of Education Sciences at a French University, and dedicated to the creation of games.

Long Abstract

Fablabs are developing in a large variety of contexts, including education. Most of them are built on the idea that autonomous creative activities may have individual and collective benefits in contemporaneous societies. However, depending on their context and orientation, the way they are designed to equip creative processes vary greatly. We are presenting the project of a Fablab dedicated to the creation of games. It is embedded in Paris North University's department of Education Sciences. Ludomaker was founded in 2015 and is currently in development.

Playing is one of the most common expressions of creativity. It has been defined as a "world building" activity, since it relies on the creation of alternative frames of meanings to objects and actions (Goffman, 1961). Games may then be considered as sociotechnical devices that are conceived to encourage situated learning and creativity through fun.

Ludomaker is linked to the Experice Laboratory where researches are carried out on the informal occasions of learning. It aims at providing space and tools for the creation and experience of games in an educational context. By focusing on the specific constraints of the project, we present a reflexive approach of the design and development of this space. We ground this analysis on the observation of how students seize Ludomaker and carry out game designs

This track is closed to new paper proposals.