How to cultivate sustainable developments in makerspaces


By Adrian Smith, Professor of Technology & Society at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, and Ann Light, Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the Department of Informatics, University of Sussex.

This report provides an overview of a workshop on Makerspaces held in London, which involved around 80 participants from the UK and Europe. The workshop was made possible with support from the Centre for Innovation and Energy Demand, the STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability), both at the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University, and the European Framework Seven project TRANSIT (Transformative Social Innovation Theory).

The workshop was motivated by the following questions:

• How can makerspaces sustain and expand their commitment to sustainable developments?
• Should sustainability initiatives scale-up or circulate more widely, and if so, how can they retain their core aims when moving beyond prototyping?
• How can makerspaces work with others to generate conditions for sustainable developments in the wider world?

Thought-provoking speakers on the first day talked about how they worked with makerspaces to promote sustainable developments. They raised issues that participants on the second day explored in greater depth through workshop activities.