Makerspaces and institutions – a special issue of Journal of Peer Production

Developing out of research into grassroots appropriations of digital farbictation, Kat Braybrooke and Adrian Smith recently guest edited the publication of the Journal of Peer Production dedicated to research articles and practitioner reflections on makerspace encounters with institutions. All articles are Open Access and available here.

Makerspaces have caught the imaginations of a wide variety of organizations coming from different settings, inspiring institutional actors to see an exciting buzz of organized possibilities. Depending upon the specific institutional 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, and so on and so on … and not forgetting, of course, spaces for simply having fun.

What does all this institutional recognition, attention and support mean for makerspaces? How are institutional encounters reshaping aspirations for autonomous, even democratic, fabrication and experimentation: aspirations that were an important part of the makerspace story? And what do these encounters mean for institutions, whether in education, culture, business, development or some other sphere; how are they changing through making?

The Makerspaces and Institutions issue of Journal of Peer Production explores these questions through 13 peer reviewed articles and 6 practitioner contributions. Please take a look, and help us spread the word through your networks and across social media!


Liberatory technologies for whom? Exploring a new generation of makerspaces defined by institutional encounters
Kat Braybrooke, Adrian Smith


Institutionalisation and informal innovation in South African Maker communities
Chris Armstrong, Jeremy de Beer, Erika Kraemer-Mbula, Mieka Ellis

Making in Brazil: Can we make it work for social inclusion?
Rafael Dias, Adrian Smith

Making hardware in Nairobi: Between revolutionary practices and restricting imaginations
Alev Coban

Makerspaces and urban ideology: The institutional shaping of Fab Labs in China and Northern Ireland
Pip Shea, Xin Gu

The sociomateriality of FabLabs: Configurations of a printing service or counter-context?
Cindy Kohtala

The institutionalization of making: The entrepreneurship of sociomaterialities that matters
Evelyne Lhoste, Marc Barbier

Can one size fit one? A prospect for humane custom production
ginger coons

In situ, 3D printed heritage souvenirs: Challenging conventional spaces and culture
Sam Vitesse, Constantia Anastasiadou

Hacking the museum? Practices and power geometries at collections makerspaces in London
Kat Braybrooke

Redistributed manufacturing and makerspaces: Critical perspectives on the co-institutionalisation of practice
Liz Corbin, Hannah Stewart

Achieving grassroots innovation through multi-lateral collaborations: Evidence from the field
Silvia Buitrago Guzmán, Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar

Configuring the independent developer
Tobias Drewlani, David Seibt

ReMantle and Make: A cross geographical study exploring the role of makerspaces and the circular economy in Scottish textiles
Paul Smith, Michael Johnson, Lynn-Sayers McHattie


Prototyping the future, reviving the past: Observations of two museums and their shared workshop approaches in the making
Robert Richter, Daniel Wessolek

Make Space Prod
Luca M Damiani

The distorting effect of money, and other lessons learned by a makerspace funder
Molly Rubenstein, Benjamin Linder, Kofi Taha

Creating together, learning together: Practices of YCAM in 30 years
Kazutoshi Tsuda, Kazuhiro Jo and TakayukiIto

Repair Cafes
Martin Charter

Excellence in the maker movement
Em O’Sullivan

Space, Gather, Make: Shared machine shop sound
Kat Braybrooke, Adrian Smith, Vasilis Moschas