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Maker culture

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Maker culture

Silicon Valley billboard

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools,[1] as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping.[2] There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively.

Philosophical emphasis

'Maker culture' emphasizes learning-through-doing (constructivism) in a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment.[3] Maker culture encourages novel applications of technologies, and the exploration of intersections between traditionally separate domains and ways of working including metal-working, calligraphy, film making, and computer programming. Community interaction and knowledge sharing are often mediated through networked technologies, with websites and social media tools forming the basis of knowledge repositories and a central channel for information sharing and exchange of ideas, and focused through social meetings in shared spaces such as hackspaces. Maker culture has attracted the interest of educators concerned about students’ disengagement from STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in formal educational settings. Maker culture is seen as having the potential to contribute to a more participatory approach and create new pathways into topics that will make them more alive and relevant to learners.

Some say that the maker movement is a reaction to the de-valuing of physical exploration and the growing sense of disconnection with the physical world in modern cities.[4] Other scholars including Raymond Malewitz and Charles Jencks have examined the Utopian vision of Maker culture, which they link to myths of rugged individualism, the possibility of a counterculture and libertarianism [5][6]

In reaction to the rise of maker culture, Barack Obama pledged to open several national research and development facilities to the public.[4]

Hackerspaces and Fab Labs

The rise of the maker culture is closely associated with the rise of hackerspaces, Fab Labs and other "maker spaces", of which there are now many around the world, including over 100 each in Germany and the United States.[7] Hackerspaces allow like-minded individuals to share ideas, tools, and skillsets.[8][9] Some notable hackerspaces which have been linked with the maker culture include Noisebridge, NYC Resistor, A2 Mech Shop, Pumping Station: One, Artisan's Asylum,[10] and TechShop. In addition, those who identify with the subculture can be found at more traditional universities with a technical orientation, such as MIT and Carnegie Mellon (specifically around "shop" areas like the MIT Hobby Shop and CMU Robotics Club). As maker culture becomes more popular, hackerspaces and Fab Labs are becoming more common in universities.[11]


Some media outlets associated with the subculture include MAKE (a magazine published since 2005 by O'Reilly Media) and the popular weblog Boing Boing. Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow has written a novel, Makers, which he describes as being "a book about people who hack hardware, business-models, and living arrangements to discover ways of staying alive and happy even when the economy is falling down the toilet".[12]

Maker Faire

Since 2006 the subculture has held regular events around the world, [15][16][17][18] Maker Faire provides a Mini Maker Faire starter kit to encourage the spread of local Maker Faire events.[19]

Maker Film Fest

The annual Maker Film Fest, taking place at the Powerhouse Science Center in Durango, Colorado, features "Films About Makers, and Makers Making Movies." Those who have a maker film they'd like to have shown are encouraged to contact the Durango Maker Club.[20]

See also


  1. ^ "Maker Stuff"
  2. ^ Thomas MacMillan (April 30, 2012). "On State Street, "Maker" Movement Arrives". New Haven Independent. 
  3. ^ "Maker Culture (chapter in Innovating Pedagogy 2013)". The Open University. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  4. ^ a b Noelle Swan. "The 'maker movement' creates D.I.Y. revolution". 2014.
  5. ^ Malewitz, R. (2014) "The Practice of Misuse". Stanford University Press. Retrieved 20 Oct 2014. 
  6. ^ Jencks, C. (1972) "Adhocism". MIT Press. Retrieved 20 Oct 2014. 
  7. ^ Justin Lahart (November 13, 2009). "Tinkering Makes Comeback Amidst Crisis".  
  8. ^ Kalish, Jon (November 21, 2010). "DIY 'Hackers' Tinker Everyday Things Into Treasure".  
  9. ^ Minsker, Evan (March 9, 2009). "Hacking Chicago — Pumping Station: One brings the hacker space movement to Chicago". The Columbia Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "Artisan's Asylum". Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  11. ^ "New student club inspired by maker subculture". Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  12. ^ Doctorow, Cory (October 28, 2009). "Makers, my new novel: free downloads, donate to libraries and colleges, signings and tours". Boing Boing. 
  13. ^ "More than just digital quilting". The Economist. December 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Maker Faire Bay Area 2012: Highlights and Headlines". On 3D Printing. May 20, 2012.
  15. ^ "East Bay Mini Maker Faire"
  16. ^ Ken Liebeskind (April 28, 2012). "Mini Maker Faire Brings Innovation to Westport". The Weston Daily Voice (Westport, Connecticut). 
  17. ^ Molly McGowan (May 1, 2012). "Burlington's first Mini Maker Faire a success". Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina). 
  18. ^ "Maker Meetup! Saturday July 14th 2012". The Reuseum. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  19. ^ "Mini Maker Faire Starter Kit"
  20. ^
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