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Sharing Insights at Making Futures Sept 2015
The Circular Makespaces (CMS) project is one of two Level 1 feasibility studies on Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing, a two-year ESPRC funded research project run by the Royal College of Art in London.
Grit Hartung – Research Associate, Designer Researcher
Sharon Prendeville – Research Associate, Design Researcher
Erica Purvis – Sustainable Design Engineer
Clare Brass – Co-Investigator, Head of SustainRCA
Ashley Hall – Co-Investigator, Professor of Design Innovation and deputy head of the Innovation Design Engineering programme at the RCA
“Eventually, everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se. …” (Eames)
[Abstract] Makespaces have the potential to contribute – through physical and relational goods – to a new economy that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. While we presume that Makespaces are intrinsically engaged in a vision for a circular economy, there are few studies that support this. Likewise, anecdotal evidence from managers of such spaces, and their maker networks, suggests many are struggling to sustain themselves economically. While some research has already been undertaken to map out and review the activities and value of Makespaces today, little of this research explores the Makespace communities from a circular economy viewpoint. The current discourse lacks both the overarching theoretical insights and the practical tools, models and frameworks to assist Makespace actors with circular practices. This lack of knowledge sees the Makespace movement risk transferring the negative impacts of our current linear economic model to a redistributed form. In light of this research gap, the overarching aim of this research is to uncover triggers for circular practices to become embedded within Makespaces, thereby informing principles of redistributed manufacturing. The research will take an exploratory approach using contextual mapping to undertake case studies with selected exemplary Makespaces. The case study methodology will combine generative research techniques with design probes. The case studies, as part of the first stages of Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing (FM RdM) at RCA, will uncover insights on people, ideas and objects for circular practices within exemplary Makespaces. Furthermore it will support systematic understanding on what current circular practices exist, the wider role of Makespaces (and their stakeholders) within a circular economy and redistributed manufacturing. The research will contribute to a wider conversation on embedding circular practices within Makespaces and their role in redistributed manufacturing. The findings will inform the next stages of the FM RdM project and wider context.