Inside the beehive of Mumbai’s central slum, skilled teams of small-scale manufacturers – from leather workers to garment stitchers – form a shadow world that the government refuses to recognise
Supported by easier and cheaper access to tools and expanding communities, maker cultures are pointing towards the ideas of (almost) everyone designing, creating, producing and distributing renewed, new and improved products, machines, things or artefacts. A careful analysis of the assumptions and challenges of maker cultures emphasizes the relevance of what may be called technological action, that is, active and critical interventions regarding the purposes and applications of technologies within ordinary lives, thus countering the deterministic trends of current directions of technology. In such transformative potential, we will explore a set of elements what is and could be technological action through snapshots of maker cultures based on the empirical research conducted in three particular contexts: the Fab Lab Network, Maker Media core outputs and initiatives such as Maker Faires, and the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).
Elements such as control and empowerment through material engagement, openness and sharing, and social, cultural, political and ethical values of the common good in topics such as diversity, sustainability and transparency, are critically analysed.
The emergence of the Maker Movement has taken place in the context of a design practice and research that is now open, peer-to-peer, diffuse, distributed, decentralized; activity-based; meta-designed; ontologically-defined and defining; locally-bounded but globally-networked and community-centered. For many years the author participated and worked in the Maker Movement, with a special focus on its usage of digital platforms and digital fabrication tools for collaboratively designing and manufacturing digital and physical artifacts as Open Design projects. The author's main focus in practice and research as a meta-designer was in understanding how can participants in distributed systems collaboratively work together through tools and platforms for the designing and managing of collaborative processes. The main research question of this dissertation is: How can we support and integrate the research and practice of meta-designers in analyzing, designing and sharing open and collaborative design and making processes within open, peer-to-peer and distributed systems?
The Maker Mile (www.makermile.cc) was mapped by Machines Room a FabLab just down the canal on Vyner Street; a cobbled cul de sac filled with wharfs and warehouses home to taxi mechanics, sign printers, and London’s oldest umbrella maker. Instigated by Clear Village and with support from Human Cities, Maker Mile launched during London Design Festival 2015 with Open Mile. For one night 12 spaces opened their workshops and the public could get involved with hands on making and behind the scenes tours of workspaces. Over 600 people collected a map, made locally at East London Print Makers, followed the trail on a rainy Monday night and experienced the thriving community, that many, including those already working there, hadn’t realised was on their doorstep.
Use Make Works to source local fabricators, material suppliers & workshop facilities.
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