I invite you to explore how your contribution to the project has influenced the study and what its final findings are.
From October 2016 - September 2020, I have conducted and finalised research on the Maker movement in Makerspaces in the United Kingdom, Austria and Germany. This page provides a very brief overview of my process, data, analysis and results. It has been specifically designed with participants in mind in order to give them insight into how their data has been used and what the results of the study are. All participants have been given different names.
None of the following sections are complete and comprehensive and I invite you to have a closer look at the actual thesis should you wish for more detail. Most of the following text has been directly taken from the thesis with page numbers indicating its location.
I enjoyed working on this project and I hope it will be of some use to my participants and other Makers who wish to create a more inclusive and environmentally sustainable space. Thank you for your contribution.
Does increased female participation in Makerspaces in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria contribute to an improvement of positive environmental impacts of Making practices in those spaces, or vice versa, might an increased focus on positive environmental impact by those spaces encourage more women to join into their communities? (p.60)
Devise a morphology of the Maker movement. Such a morphology has, to the knowledge of the researcher, not been established. Often studies have claimed to define the movement when, in reality, they have defined one part of it. When studying the MM, it is important to know its different aspects, potential groupings and defining features. The present study avoids this by embedding its explorations into a specific Makerspace constellation of the developed morphology. (p.66)
Assess how women are included in Makerspace communities in the UK, Germany, and Austria. Previous studies have stated that women are not very well included (Bean & Rosner, 2014; Lewis, 2015; Rosner & Fox, 2016; SSL Nagbot, 2016). But it appears as though only Lewis (2015) has spoken to female Makers who see themselves as part of a regular Maker community. The present study follows this approach and adds an equal amount of interviews with male Makers in order to explore potentially different views on inclusiveness and environmental sustainability issues. (p.66)
Identify environmental behaviours and motivations within the movement, and compare gender-related differences. Environmental motivations are crucial to this study. Whereas the environment has been mentioned in other studies as a factor in the movement, no prior study has specifically looked at environmental attitudes, behaviours and motivations, and explored gender-related differences. In achieving this objective, a link between gender and environmental practices can be established and, thus, the research question can be answered. (p.66)
b) Social Constructivism
Social Constructivism as an ontological position builds the foundation of this study. It starkly contrasts fixed, universalistic understandings of reality and discourages the establishing of universal truth. Instead, it understands reality as a fluidly perceived idea that can reach some kind of stability if agreed upon by many. The approach allows for a variety of conceptions of reality, including structures and power relationships. This idea was first broadly explored by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann in 1967. The basic idea of their book The Social Construction of Reality was this: people construct their own realities which shapes the way we live and, thus, people themselves. (p.67)
c) Convergent Multi-Level Mixed Methods Research Design
This research project draws general conclusions about various motivations and values within the movement, but also explores their underlying findings in-depth and ensures an analysis and interpretation closely linked to what Makers accept to be their truths. Therefore, an approach encompassing both qualitative as well as quantitative methods is employed. (p.74)
Within a mixed methods approach, several designs can be employed to achieve the desired outcome. This research project collected data on two levels and, therefore, used a convergent mixed methods approach (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018, p.65).
Level 1: explanatory sequential design -> starts with quantitative data collection (self-administered questionnaire) and moves on to qualitative methods (in-depth interviews) in order to explain the quantitative data (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018, p.65ff).
Level 2: mode of triangulation running simultaneously to level 1. It was, thus, constant help to inform level 1. It consisted of short interviews conducted at Maker Faires throughout the data collection period. (p.75)
Participants of this study came from the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. This section provides a brief overview over participation demographics for each method of data collection. (p.93)
Short interview events:
Mini Maker Faire Edinburgh 2018
Maker Faire UK 2018
Maker Faire Austria 2018
Maker Faire Berlin 2018
The survey was sent to Makerspaces and communities registered on in April 2018.
Interview participants were found through their participation in the online survey and a call for participation on Twitter.
So far, research on the Maker movement has been lacking a comprehensive and practical conceptualisation. With the help of political ideologist Michael Freeden's morphology of ideologies (1998) such a conceptualisation was developed within this PhD project. Freeden, when defining an ideology, defines core, adjacent and peripheral concepts all of which work together to provide a
conceptualisation that provides a flexible yet stable way of approaching an ideology. This study utilised his approach to help conceptualise the Maker movement. Just as with ideologies, social and cultural movements are viewed as consisting of a variety of important aspects and considerations. Freeden’s model allows for the existence of these aspects and their potential tensions.
The following picture provides a visual presentation of the here developed morphology for the Maker movement. This study understands the overall morphology as providing a general overview of relevant concepts. Depending on community, location, time and Makers themselves, different constellations of these concepts make up a variety of versions of this morphology. For example, some might value inclusiveness much more than digital technologies.
Re-/Creating All kinds of active transformations of the material and the non-material including processes and not just completely new forms of existence. (p.145)
Technology "Any systematized practical knowledge, based on experimentation and/or scientific theory, which enhances the capacity of society to produce goods and services, and which is embodied in productive skills, organization, or machinery" (Gendron, 1977, p.23). (p.23)
Personal Agency The self has to be involved in the process of Making. It creates, hacks, fixes, tinkers. Making is about being active in your desire to make something happen. This agency is crucial. (p.148)
Community Making within a community appears very important to many Makers, especially those in Makerspaces. They share knowledge, inspiration and skills. The social connections that develop can evolve into deep friendships. (p.152)
Creativity Many Makers value creativity whether it is the goal of their activities or a welcome side effect. It is difficult to define, so for the purpose of this morphology, creativity is seen as what Makers themselves view as creative. (p.155)
Learning Learning new skills and exploring something new to them is a motivation many Makers share. Sometimes it is viewed as a hobby, sometimes as an oppositional force to current production processes. Makers learn from each other in face-to-face and online settings. (p.157)
Digital Technology This modern form of technology is often deemed crucial for the movement, whether it is regarding tools that are used, i.e. 3D printers, or regarding ways to connect, i.e. online communities. Here, this technology is not deemed as at the core due to some Makers not focussing on these but more traditional technologies. (p.159)
Amateurism Access to technologies without professional expertise is important for many Makers. Whether a Maker is skilled or unskilled, earns a living with their projects or not, amateurism is mostly viewed as positive and admirable. (p.164)
Activism Political notions, in a broad sense, here refer to opposing current production processes and the inability of many to repair and fix things. Political theorist Andrew Heywood (2017, p.21) writes: “political activism has become, in effect, a lifestyle choice”, an observation that would fit Maker activities much better than traditional forms of activism. (p.167)
Inclusiveness/accessibility Despite the goal of being inclusive for everybody and being a democratising movement, most Makerspace communities appear to be similar in demographics (white, middle-class men). Some spaces are, therefore, particularly aimed at being inclusive, e.g. feminist Makerspaces. (p.175)
Self-actualisation Achieving personal goals and exploring ones' own potential appears to be an aspect surfacing for many Makers. For others, Making is more about political goals and livelihood. (p.177)
Traditional Technology Even though digital technologies are often the focus of Making, more traditional technologies also play a role, e.g. weaving, sewing, woodwork. Makers who talk about re-skilling are likely to refer to this kind of technology. (p.182)
Entrepreneurship The majority of Makers appears to engage in their activities mainly as a free-time activity, however some aim for or are making a living with their projects. Even though some pronounce an industrial revolution (Anderson, 2012), the majority of Makers do not seem to follow this path. (p.184)
Well-being Even though not at the forefront of most Making accounts, a few study participants mentioned Making's positive effects on their well-being. This might be more wide-spread but needs further exploration. (p.180)
Environmental sustainability Some claim Making is very good for the environment, some claim it is detrimental. This study has not assessed what actual environmental impacts are, but has explored how central environmental considerations are for Makers and most do not appear to prioritise it in their activities. (p.187)
*All these concepts are explored in much more detail in the thesis.
Gender & Inclusiveness
Within the context of this study - Makerspaces in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria - most study participants agree that inclusiveness is important to them (91% of women, 82% of men). Nevertheless, academic literature as well as study participants noticed many challenges, most notably that most Makers are male, middle-aged, white, and from a fairly affluent background. This study has specifically explored gender inclusiveness and has identified three levels of exclusion - external factors, internal physical factors and internal social factors (whereby internal refers to a Makerspace). (p.194)
Time (p.195) If Making is pursued as a hobby, it requires free time. When it comes to men and women, however, the availability of free time differs. It differs so much that the term time poverty is applied and used regularly (Chatzitheochari & Arber, 2012; Ringhofer, 2015; Turner & Grieco, 2000; Warren, 2003). The term is defined “as a relative deprivation of free time resources” (Chatzitheochari & Arber, 2012, p.452). The most common themes of how this time poverty arises evolve around (unpaid) care work, travel patterns and modes of travel. In all, women appear to have less free time than men. This prevents them from having free time available to engage in Making.
It’s a time-intense hobby, which has to do a lot with class and background. Who has the time to tinker around in the evening? There are many reasons for that and the maker scene is actually a quite homogenous bunch.
Finances (p.198) It is widely acknowledged that women, on average, still earn less than men. Economist Ricardo Aláez‐Aller and his colleagues (2011), for example, consider gender wage gaps in the European Union and come to the conclusion that “the biggest differences in hourly wages between men and women are found in the countries of northern Europe” (p.82). Consequently, women, in general, have fewer financial resources available to them to engage in leisure time activities, such as Making.
Mobility (p.200) Transportation might also have to do with why women access Makerspaces less. Firstly, some studies suggest that women have less access to a car and, thus, are more dependent on and use modes of public transport more than men (Ceccato, 2017), but with a higher fear for their safety. It can be assumed that leisure activities such as Making will be pursued more in the afternoon and evening hours which, especially during winter months, might increase travel time during dark hours. Not only could that increase women’s uneasiness about their safety while travelling, but they might decide to refrain from such a trip altogether.
"And still there are access limitations. The commonality is the passion for computers or politics and so on. But that requires that you don’t fight for your survival on a daily basis. In the sense of if you’re down on your uppers, you won’t have time to deal with things like that."
[T]he ethos that ‘anyone can be a maker’ obscures the fact that not everyone can be a maker. A single mother with three part-time jobs and no car probably cannot be a maker—not, at least, in the sense that ‘being a maker’ is specifically understood in this and other hackerspaces. Such an individual becomes literally invisible in the maker ethos, thus redefining ‘everybody’ down to a certain social class; it is presumably not a coincidence that the majority of dues-paying members are men in their thirties with professional careers, many of which are in IT.
~ Toombs et al. (2015. p.636)
Whereas Makerspaces cannot be expected to solve such fundamental societal issues all by themselves, they could consider taking measures that would make it easier for women to get involved. These issues show why waiting for women to knock on a Makerspace’s door might not be where inclusiveness work should start. Hans, a participant of the study at hand, states: “If they [women] aren’t there, we can’t please them.” This neglects people who might not be able to access the space in the first place. It seems as though some Makers wait until women step into their space in order to tackle inclusiveness issues while neglecting that the latter might be disadvantaged from the off – through time-poor schedules, fewer financial means and mobility issues. (p.202)
Internal - Physical space
The Space (p.203) The location and physical atmosphere of Makerspaces were criticised by some female Makers. Rose who has visited a few spaces, for example, states: "Here in [local space] you have to pay about £25 a month to get access. It’s just industrial and it’s really not too pleasant. It’s freezing […] I don’t particularly want to go into a dark dank really awful space. […] Some people do, they are fine with it, they think it’s really edgy. No, I’m not going to do it. If I could get involved with the community where I could sit have a coffee, that’s really inclusive, that’s brilliant and then I can have a look." Lewis (2015) also recalls interviews with female Makers of UK Makerspaces in which, for example, “the ladies’ toilet light switch was located so high on the wall that it was out of reach for most women” (p.10). Somewhat confirming of this, Maker Jack talks about his space and how its female participation has gone up since moving into a nicer space.
“[Makers] have construed making as a process by dudes, for dudes”
~ Bean & Rosner, 2014, p.27
The Tools (p.206) That the technologies used by Makers in Western Makerspaces have a gendered dimension is acknowledged by many study participants. Some of them connect men with technology in general by saying things like “it skews techie, it skews male” (Jack). Participant A121 (man, GER, 74) comes to mind who said “You as a woman have children and I as a man have making.” The underlying assumption of his statement surfaces regularly. Megan counters this with her Maker consultancy work: "When people want to start makerspaces, they come to us and they say, ‘What tools should we buy?’ We just won’t ever give people a kit list without doing a whole load of work with them about what community they want to build. Because if they want a 50% female community, they’re going to buy different tools."
Men are often still thought of and raised to be technologically minded. The technology they use is new and exciting. They appear to be at the forefront of experimentation and innovation. Female Makers, however, are often not associated with this kind of technology. Their technological engagement – if any – typically relates to more traditional categories, i.e. textiles (albeit sometimes electronic textiles). In short, women are socially constructed as ‘different’ when it comes to technology. This is not to say all female Makers, or women in general, do not engage with digital technologies. But the overall opinions of digital technology and how it related to gender are still shaped by views of men being more technologically able than women. This problem is not only an issue in Making. As widely known, women are generally under-represented in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). However, overall Making dynamics do not appear to help tackle this issue, but enforce it.
Internal - Social space
Community Bonds (p.212) As stated in the morphology section, community often plays an important role for Makers, especially those in Makerspaces. Robert Putnam (2000) has found two forms of communities: bridging and bonding ones. Bridging communities are outward looking and encompass people from all walks of life. The ties among people within these communities tend to be weak. Bonding communities, in contrast, are inward looking and reinforce already existing relationships within the group. Those relationships are, therefore, usually strong ones and among a more homogenous group of people. Bonding communities are, thus, also more likely to have a greater sense of us-versus-them understanding of how they relate to people outside their group. Even though it needs to be kept in mind that every Makerspace is different, the data collected within this study presented picture of Makerspaces predominantly aspiring to be bonding communities: over 80% of survey participants indicate that a strong community is very important to them. Whereas this is not negative, it brings with it certain challenges, especially when it comes it inclusiveness.
A number of Makers in this study explained how they had met friends and family in their Maker communities. Also membership procedures can contribute to a community that is rather difficult to become a part of. Sarah Davies has interviewed Makers of many spaces and found that some went so far as to have a “formalized period of ‘stalking’” (2017, p.54) before a new member was accepted. She concludes that there is a strong sense within the different spaces that being part of their community was a privilege, not something to be taken for granted (p.54).
Toombs et al. (2015), equally, have discovered that entry into Making communities has not so much to do with skill and interest, but with the ability to fit into these communities on a sociological basis (p.637). Of course, a membership process like this might not mean that women are automatically excluded, but if the premise is to find members that fit in well and align to the values and peer group in the space, it might be likely that a group of predominantly men will choose men over women considering that the former will likely have experienced a similar socialisation and are more likely to portray similar technological interests and values.
Considering these aspects, a further indicator for an emphasis on bonding over bridging characteristics might be a passive approach to including more women. As much as some spaces actively pursue a more balanced gender participation, others do not. Some study participants contested the idea that their space would be responsible for making an active effort to include women. Frank, for example, has mentioned that his space does not locate the responsibility for this with the space itself, an approach others have mirrored. This approach does not automatically fall into the category of a community prioritising strong ties (bonding) over weak ties (bridging) but it can be an indicator that inclusiveness, here specifically of women, is not something these spaces actively pursue and value.
In fact, some Makers seem opposed to working in any way towards making their space a more inclusive and safer place to be. Toombs (2017) has observed discussions on the global hackerspace.org discussion list around the idea of safe space policies: one Maker wrote that any sort of rules might censor members and “signal to outsiders that the community was already rotten” (p.1084). Another person was arguing that a policy against harassment would “artificially empower those who are willing to appear vulnerable/disadvantaged/non-privileged” (p.1084).
Masculine Cultures (p.222) After having looked at Makerspaces as bonding communities, the research project continued to look at the dominant values within those communities, as portrayed by study participants. Attention is given to confidence, bragging/competitiveness, Making with purpose, sexist environments, and language/ communication.
-> Purpose Three participants, two women and one non-binary, remark on women being more purpose-driven and, thus, not being attracted by narratives of ‘just tinkering’ or ‘playing around’. Rose provides an example: "We do activities that are aligned to the UN sustainable goals, so including the environment, that we know those activities are going to appeal more to women. […] we know that that will help to address gender imbalance. […] It got purpose." Robin and their space always made sure to being design-driven, not technology-driven as the latter set-up quickly became very "geeky" and "jargon-led".
-> Sexist environment A further issue that arises within the atmosphere of a Makerspace can be a sexist environment. Firstly, two of the in-depth interview participants, Heidi and Frank, have remarked on pornography being shown in their Makerspace. Both reiterate that these “porn images” (Heidi) and “porn movies” (Frank) were shown openly/communally within the respective spaces and might be deterring for women. Other participants talk about instances where women are seen as different or difficult. Felix, for example, explains that women are welcome to his space because they might be a potential future girlfriend, but if they are critical of a male-biased Maker scene, then he does not welcome them because “They are just a bit different”. Women are welcome if they do not criticise the movement or people in the movement.
-> Confidence An attitude that has surfaced regularly during the in-depth interviews is confidence. Female interviewees in particular but also one male participant, remarked on the role of confidence in Making and how it might affect women negatively. They agree that women tend to be more hesitant and less confident when it comes to Making. Robin states: “I think men are encouraged to be confident about everything, all the time. [...] Confidence is a major trigger”.
-> Bragging & Competition Two attitudes closely connected to confidence are bragging and competitiveness. Both are elements that surface in some interviews. Robin talks of some Makerspaces where "It’s about who knows the most, who’s got the most experience about the most cutting-edge technology. It becomes very jargon-led. If you don’t know the right words then you don’t fit into the crowd [...]. I think that kind of setup can be very men-driven." Karl can relate all too well: "Especially if you have a lot of men, you have the feeling it quickly evolves into dick-comparison. I can’t be arsed with that at all." This atmosphere can be off-putting for women who might want to join in.
-> Language/communication A resulting aspect to consider is that of gendered language and communication. The interlinks between gender and language are complex and often contested, and analysing the use of language within Making is a study in and of itself. Three participants in this study have mentioned their approach to language. Megan, for example, finds it important to include women in the narrative when talking about and representing their space and its activities. Rose and Robin relates to what has been written under "Purpose", namely that they communicate Making through a purpose and design rather than through technology and tools. This approach, according to them, attracts more women.
Women coping (p.238) Those women who do make it into a Makerspace and become part of its community often adapt strategies to deal with the culture in the space or already consider themselves not a typical woman: Heidi, Jane, Rose and Megan all talked about how they were either already “a bit of a tomboy” (Jane) or “square peg” (Rose) before getting involved in Making, or how they were simply seen “as a guy with tits" (Heidi).
There is literature on this phenomenon, namely that women try to adopt masculine values in order to fit into a masculine culture (Wajcman, 1998). However, quite a few seem to cope in that they leave the space. A few women in this study have recalled sexist experiences and none of them are part of a regular Makerspace anymore. Only two of them are: Jane who does not engage in making things but is seen as the mother of the space, so in a caring role, and Heidi who is very confident and, as seen previously, often viewed as a guy.
Gender & Environment
a) Makers’ attitudes towards a potential connection between gender and environmental protection are examined
No connection (p.252) The survey found little gender difference in environmental concerns and behaviours with the only significant result being obtained relating to the question whether Makers consider the environment in their Making practice (see Connection). Of the in-depth interviewees, ten (5 women, 4 men, 1 non-binary) state that they do not see a gender difference when it comes to environmental concern. They listed a variety of aspects that are more likely to influence differences in environmental concern: education and culture, levels of confidence in certain areas, and motivations that divert from the environment. The study argues, however, that these aspects themselves are influenced by gendered dynamics, e.g. the way we are educated and introduced into our cultures is often influenced by our gender.
I don't think women like making because they want to protect the environment.
Connection (p.256) Within the survey, one significant result was obtained when asking Makers if they consider concern for the environment in their Making practice: 88% of female survey participants claimed to consider environmental factors in their Making practice compared to only 59% of the male participants. Even though other questions regarding the environment did not return significant differences between genders, women usually tended to give slightly more environmentally concerned answers than men. Of in-depth interviewees, seven participants stated they recognise differences between the genders in this regard. Academic literature on the subject of gender differences and environmental concern tends to agree that women, in general, exhibit higher levels of environmental concern (Blocker & Eckberg, 1997; Mohai, 1992; Blocker & Eckberg, 1989; Zelezny et al. 2000; Dietz et al., 2002; Xiao & McCright, 2017). Within the present study, female in-depth interview participants appear to be more concerned about the natural environment and appear significantly more likely to include that concern in their practice, as seen in survey data. Among in-depth interviewees, three areas of difference were mentioned as influencing environmental concern and behaviours: language, old vs new materials and technology, and care and empathy.
"With my husband, if something goes wrong, he just starts from scratch with new materials. He throws the old thing out and starts afresh. I don’t work like that because I always think ‘we only have this one environment, what do we leave behind?’ With him and the other boys, I realise that’s not the case."
"I like using them [modern technologies] but only if they serve a good purpose. You could also say ‘Ok there’s now a new technology that lets me dig further and deeper for my water but do I really want to do that? Does it harm the environment?’ So I’m only interested in new technology that actually fits what I’m doing appropriately."
Unclear result (p.266) Whilst there is evidence to support the view that female Makers have a greater tendency to be environmentally concerned, a clear answer within the study’s collected data has not been reached thus far. Makers have differing views on the question and neither survey data nor in-depth interviewees opinions on the issue provide a clear and significant answer. While conducting data collection, it has been noted by the researcher that the actual behaviour of interviewed Makers appeared to provide a less unclear picture. In order to avoid researcher bias and conclusions that the researcher herself constructs as suitable in her own world-view but might differ from actual data, this initial impression has not been taken at face value, but investigated in a more structural and scientific way: to explore whether this observation was fuelled by bias or, indeed, something that presents outside the researcher’s world-view, environmental profiles have been established for each participant and then compared with each other on the basis of gender.
b) Comparison of environmental behaviour of female and male Makers
Due to the unclear result of section a, section b devises environmental profiles in a systematised way through considering a Maker’s survey answers and their in-depth interview. Qualitative and quantitative categories were used:
Survey answer to Do you consider yourself an environmentally concerned person? (quantitative)
Survey answer to Do environmental concerns (e.g. waste, material, purpose of project, etc.) play any part in your making processes/projects? (quantitative)
Survey answer to When choosing materials, a Maker should always consider its environmental dimensions (i.e. recyclable, environ. friendly, etc.). (quantitative)
Survey answer to If a project produces too much waste, it shouldn’t be made. (quantitative)
Survey answer to If the process of making a project or the final project itself are likely to have negative environmental effects, it shouldn’t be made. (quantitative)
Interview statement regarding general environmental attitude (qualitative)
Interview statement whether Maker considers environment in Making (qualitative)
Interview statement regarding priority of environmental considerations while Making (qualitative)
Interview statement regarding spreading awareness of environmental aspects in Making (qualitative)
Interview statement as to whether Maker engages in repairs while Making (qualitative)
For each aspect, 1 point was given if the answer was deemed pro-environmental. (Half-points were given when the assessment had to be based on an educated guess.) These points were added up and each participant has received a final score between 0.5 and 10 with 10 being displaying the highest concern for the environment. The colours (men = green, women = orange, non-binary = purple) give a clear indication that the women in this particular sample appear more environmentally concerned and act more on that concern than the male Makers. (p.266)
Result This mixed methods approach has provided a clearer picture and provided evidence that many Maker women tend to be more inclined to act pro-environmentally. In almost all ten categories devised for the environmental profiles women appeared to act more environmentally friendly than their male counterparts. Their general attitude towards the environment was more pronounced and more engrained in their everyday lives. They seem to prioritise environmental concerns higher in their practice and engage in much more outreach and awareness raising work. Even in repair, an area traditionally associated with men, did they seem more enthusiastic than the men who were interviewed.
Does increased female participation in Makerspaces in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria contribute to an improvement of positive environmental impacts of Making practices in those spaces, or vice versa, might an increased focus on positive environmental impact by those spaces encourage more women to join into their communities?
When combining the findings of the study, then, one might conclude that creating a higher gender-diversity in Makerspaces in the UK, Germany and Austria might automatically lead, by extension, to more pro-environmental behaviour. However, it is not as easy and automatic as that. Many more complex factors add to levels of inclusiveness and environmental sustainability, thus creating a much more complex scenario than a yes-or-no question could account for. A lot depends on the space/community and how they define themselves. Also, even though this study has shown that women might exhibit slightly larger pro-environmental concern, this does not mean that all share this concern or that this concern is inherent to them, nor does it mean that no man engages in pro-environmental behaviour. Equally, this dissertation does not aim to imply that Makers in general are all sexist and misogynistic. Far from it. Anti-feminist practices and dynamics are often very ingrained in structural workings and not always easy to identify as such. Makers do a lot of amazing work, including encouraging critical engagement with the objects that surround us, pointing towards misguided global production processes and inspiring an active engagement with the world. The point this dissertation makes, then, is that there is a chance that these positive impacts could be made even better and find more widespread acknowledgement if underlying structural tendencies regarding gender inclusiveness (and likely other forms of inclusiveness) were taken and tackled seriously. Environmental issues in particular would likely be more on the agenda. Women should have the same possibilities to participate in Makerspaces as men if they wish to do so without having to give up or change part of their identity. (p.285)
In order to help determined Makers turn their space into a more inclusive and sustainable one, some recommendations for a more inclusive space and pro-environmental practice are provided. None of these recommendations on their own will automatically cause an improvement in inclusiveness or environmental sustainability. However, taken together and alongside an approach that considers gender and the environment in all Makerspace aspects, they might go a long way in improving the situation. Equally, all Makerspaces differ from each other and the necessary changes might differ slightly from space to space. (p.285)
Encourage usage of a variety of technologies, modern and traditional.
When setting up, do not only focus on digital technology, but make sure more traditional technologies are equally important. Let this be reflected in how the tools are set up (i.e. put these technologies in equally prominent positions as the digital ones).
Try to create a physical space that is warm and welcoming.
If at all possible, reconsider your membership processes, membership fees and childcare possibilities.
Prioritise a culture in your space that discourages bragging and showing off.
Prioritise a culture in your space that encourages confidence in female Makers. Do not be annoyed if they ask more questions.
Have female role models.
Communicate Making activities through the intended purpose, not through the technology used.
When considering ‘practical’ aspects, such as membership fees or set-up of workshops, be aware of their gendered nature and what that might mean for your space.
Establish a culture in which environmental considerations are automatically part of the Making process by encouraging discussions around environmentally friendly materials and processes.
Set up recycling and reusing processes in your Makerspace.
If possible, determine a member of the board specifically in charge of environmental impact considerations and someone in charge of inclusiveness.
Examine your energy and other suppliers for environmental sustainability.
Encourage those involved in upscaling of products, especially for entrepreneurial endeavours, to consider their environmental impact.
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Blog posts, articles, etc.
Engender, F-word blog series, Sept 2020
(This section will be updated regularly.)
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