I’ve written a practitioner reflection for the Journal of Peer Production Issue #12, where I talk about the efforts that maker communities around the world are making to be more inclusive and accessible. It’s a special journal issue on the institutionalisation of makerspaces, so check it out for a bunch of other interesting papers too!
Earlier this month the Tate Modern hosted a mini exhibit on shared machine shops (i.e. makerspaces) as part of its Tate Exchange program. It featured a couple of photos from my fieldwork in the USA this summer alongside an audio piece featuring recordings from my hackerspace back home in Brighton. Read more about the exhibition here.
The Factory, part of the Knowle West Media Centre, is a makerspace offering digital fabrication courses and product design and manufacturing services from a shiny new business park on the edge of the Knowle West housing estate in Bristol.
I’m currently working as a research assistant for a team at UCL’s Institute of Education that’s investigating the educational and identity equity potential of makerspaces for young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Back in July we organised a research symposium at UCL’s Institute of Making. Read their write-up of the event here.
Seattle Attic is a feminist makerspace in the suburban Fremont neighbourhood in Seattle. Since opening in 2013 they’ve inspired various other feminist hackerspaces to open around the US. Its founders decided to start their own makerspace built around a strong Code of Conduct after being involved with other local makerspaces in Seattle and feeling like they didn’t really fit in there.
Mothership HackerMoms is a women’s makerspace in Berkeley, California, just across the Bay from San Francisco. Its aim is to provide a community and co-working space for women with childcare responsibilities who otherwise would find it hard to have time to work on their own projects and may end up staying at home and becoming isolated. It opened in 2012, making it the first women’s makerspace in the world.
Surrounded by technology startups and artisan coffee shops in the hip area of Bethnal Green in East London, Machines Room is a makerspace and FabLab that provides workspace and machine shop access to local businesses, artists, designers, technologists and engineers.
A key problem created by gender imbalances in the tech and engineering industries is that it means fewer women than men have access to the means of designing and producing technological artefacts. If most programmers and engineers are men, then most software and hardware is going to be designed by men.