Makerspaces are subjects in a plurality of institutional advances and
developments, catching the imaginations of a wide variety of organisations
and other actors drawn to a buzz of enticing possibilities. Depending upon
the nature of the encounter, makerspaces are becoming cradles for
entrepreneurship, innovators in education, nodes in open hardware networks,
studios for digital artistry, ciphers for social change, prototyping shops
for manufacturers, remanufacturing hubs in circular economies, twenty-first
century libraries, emblematic anticipations of commons-based, peer-produced
post capitalism, workshops for hacking technology and its politics,
laboratories for smart urbanism, galleries for hands-on explorations in
material culture... not forgetting, of course, spaces for simply having fun.
What kinds of hybrid arrangements emerge through these encounters, and what
becomes of the occupied factories for peer production theory? How are
institutions reshaping aspirations for autonomous, even democratic,
fabrication and experimentation – aspirations that were – and are –
important parts of makerspace narratives? And what do these encounters mean
for institutions, whether in education, culture, business, development or
some other sphere; how are they too evolving through their exposure to
grassroots and community making practices?
This is a mega issue, exploring institutional developments in all their
complexity through 13 research articles (each of which have been peer
reviewed and revised through the Journal’s particularly transparent
process, which makes all review steps public) and 7 practitioner
contributions from key leaders working in the field.
Please take a look, tell us what you think, and help us spread the
discussions through your networks. This project is the result of a long
labour of love for the many makers and thinkers involved, and we look
forward to hearing your thoughts.
With thanks, Issue 12 Editors
Kat Braybrooke and Adrian Smith