Whose Revolution? Utilising Makerspaces as Locations for building Sustainable Communities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

As the concept of the fourth industrial revolution has continued to gain prominence in recent years (Bloem et al., 2014), the rapid proliferation of Makerspaces, Fablabs [defined by (Gershenfeld, 2012) as locations for nurturing a model of a democratised maker culture] and to a lesser extent Hackerspaces, has been depicted as an engine of globalised creativity, innovation and individual entrepreneurial endeavour that enables wealth generation in a changing industrial landscape. However, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces and Fablabs also have the potential to affect profound change in terms of social and environmental sustainability by encouraging alternative views of material culture and experimental fabrication methods (Smith et al., 2013). This is particularly pertinent in the face of growing environmental emergency, when decentralised methods of repurposing and remanufacturing might provide novel ways in which to utilise waste materials and environmentally ethical production methods for local communities. Drawing on a series of site visits to Makerspaces in diverse geographical locations, ranging from Scotland to Kenya, this paper outlines how Makerspaces and Fablabs can act as hubs for building local communities that focus on fostering sustainability, inclusivity and ethical working practices in diverse contexts. It concludes by outlining strategies for enabling the successful integration of these characteristics into the design principles of sustainable manufacturing, speculating how the Makerspace could act as a lynchpin for encouraging social and environmental reform within the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
EventAfrica and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Defining a Role for Research Universitites - The University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Duration: 18 Nov 201920 Nov 2019
http://arua.org.za/%EF%BB%BFcall-for-papers-for-2019-international-conference/ (Link to conference information)
https://web.archive.org/web/20191204134147/http://arua.org.za/wp-content/uploads/Call-for-Papers-for-ARUA-International-Conference-2019.pdf (Archived link to conference)

Conference

ConferenceAfrica and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Abbreviated titleARUA 2019
CountryKenya
CityNairobi
Period18/11/1920/11/19
Internet address

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  • Cite this

    Vones, K. (2019). Whose Revolution? Utilising Makerspaces as Locations for building Sustainable Communities. Paper presented at Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Nairobi, Kenya.