Craft in Makerspaces: The Potential for Social Change for Sustainability
Kingston University, London
Year of enrolment: 2019
This research focuses on the potential role of craft in makerspaces, and the extent to which it can be a driver for social change directed towards sustainability goals. “Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.
In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.” (Halligan & Charny, 2016:2) The project considers craft as a particular mode of making, in a particular type of context, and its potential relation to social innovation and sustainability. It explores what influence can an understanding of the role of craft have on a makerspace mission for ecological sustainability via social change? The project develops prior work into the cultural role of makerspaces, which examined what makerspaces are for, and the roles of craft in makerspaces, which identified a useful typology via a mapping of makerspaces. An explicit consideration of sustainability in relation to craft in makerspaces is both vital and innovative and will constitute the significant new knowledge produced by this project.
The working premise of the project is that environmental sustainability is best addressed via social change. This informs the research question: What is the role of craft in makerspaces, and what influence does/can it have on a makerspace mission for ecological sustainability via social change? The project will commence with an audit of existing makerspaces that focus on craft, social change and sustainability. This will provide a platform for work with/in makerspace(s) to develop, implement and evaluate programme/s for craft-led pro-sustainability change. The project is practice-based and practice-led, involving action research, and the generation of design interventions and design outputs.