Heterogeneity in making: Findings, approaches, and reflections on inclusivity in making and makerspaces

Verena Fuchsberger, Dorothé Smit, Nathalia Campreguer Franca, Cornelia Gerdenitsch, Olivia Jaques, Joanna Kowolik, Georg Regal, Emma Roodbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Making, that is, the hobbyist and technologically based creation of things, has been associated with many benefits. It is considered to contribute to the development of skills and to enable participation in innovation, and even democracy. At the same time, institutionalized making (in makerspaces, FabLabs) is known to be exclusive as members of such spaces are very often young well-educated white men. This is in contradiction to the promise and self-understanding of the maker culture, which aims to be open and inclusive. In the past 3 years, we, a group of researchers, makers, fablab employees, hackerspace operators, and artists, have engaged with such disparities in a collaborative research project. We inquired into barriers that women* and other underrepresented groups experience, created visions to change the status quo, and implemented smaller and bigger interventions in different spaces (fablab, hackerspace, and makers' homes) to explore their impacts. This article discusses findings, approaches, and foremost, reflections and experiences. In addition to presenting selected insights from our explorations, we pay particular attention to the tensions and challenges that we encountered during our research endeavors. Many of those are rooted in our own roles, perspectives, and backgrounds, which are multiple, sometimes conflicting, troubling, frustrating, yet enriching, and rewarding. In the form of a written conversation among project members, we present those different viewpoints, connect them where possible, and oppose them where needed. We conclude by articulating tensions that we see as characteristic regarding making and the research around it.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Human Dynamics
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023

Research Field

  • Experience Business Transformation

Keywords

  • making
  • makerspaces
  • inclusion
  • diversity
  • women

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