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About Adrian Smith

Researcher

Adrian specialises in critical analysis of environmental policy processes, and research into relationships between technology, society and sustainable development.

All posts by Adrian

A woman unscrews a laptop with a screwdriver.

Power to the people: making & politics at the Science Museum

by Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith The maker movement in the UK, and globally, has grown rapidly over recent years. Hundreds of maker spaces, equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, design software, as well as old-fashioned hand tools, have popped up in cities, towns and on university campuses, potentially promising new forms of re-distributed and…

Close up image of circuit board lines.

What can we learn from digital transformations?

by Nathan Oxley and Adrian Smith With climate change, inequality, and injustice putting pressure on societies around the world, it often seems that incremental change towards sustainable development is not enough. A growing number and variety of alliances between organisations across civil society, business, politicians and states are calling for something more transformational. So are…

What are we doing when we do open science and inclusive innovation?

Last week I participated in the ‘launch’ event of STEPS América Latina, as part of ongoing work with researchers in the region. There, as elsewhere, we are exploring the politics of technology and science in society that support pathways to sustainable development. The event was by turns a fantastically rich, stimulating, humbling, troubling, and inspiring…

Moving beyond products to material culture

Prototyping or debating sustainable developments in makerspaces? In the previous blog I introduced some of the diverse ways that makerspaces are helping cultivate sustainable developments. Admittedly, these initiatives do not represent the totality of makerspaces, where many projects and activities are oblivious to demands for sustainable developments. In this blog I discuss some of the challenges…

Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the claims and aims people bring to this collaborative flourishing of tool-based creativity is an argument that makerspaces can become experimental sites for the pursuit of…

Mind your (innovation) language

by Adrian Smith and Saurabh Arora, SPRU At the STEPS Centre, we recently organised a couple of workshops looking at the topic of alternative innovation and its proliferation of innovation prefixes, such as social, inclusive, frugal, and sustainable. Our workshops were prompted by the observation that a variety of interacting cultural, social, economic, and technological…

‘Thousands of models’: Planetary boundaries, values & power

The role of current patterns of human habitation in earth systems processes is pushing beyond planetary boundaries; which is to say our impacts on climate and biosphere risk tipping our environments into states dangerous to our societies. As Katherine Richardson from Copenhagen University puts it, “Earth is familiar with large environmental changes, but modern human…

A day with Argentina’s ‘street engineers’

They take pride in what they do at the Reciclando Sueños co-operative. Situated in the La Matanza district of greater Buenos Aires, the workers describe themselves as cartoneros profesionales (professional recyclers) and ingenieros callejeros (street engineers). Whilst some in the city see waste picking as a lowly activity, these workers consider themselves to be providing…

Why STEPS is creating a new research hub in Latin America

I am in Buenos Aires for the ESOCITE/4S conference, which is bringing together Latin American scholars in Science & Technology Studies and visitors from the USA, Europe and other regions of the world. It is an exciting moment to convene in Argentina. The government is mired in controversy over payment of debts, vulture funds, nationalisations,…

Recordando el Plan de Lucas: que nos puede decir el movimiento para producción social útil sobre la innovación inclusiva hoy?

This post is a translated and edited version of an article first published in English on the Guardian’s Political Science blog En enero de 1976 los trabajadores de Lucas Aerospace publicaron un plan alternativo para el futuro de su empresa manufacturera. Fue una respuesta novedosa a los anuncios que miles de despidos porrazones de reestructuración…