MadLab Logo


Re/imagining makerspaces to support equity and social justice

Making Spaces is a collaborative research and development project based at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) that seeks to support equitable practice within makerspaces. Little research on this topic has been conducted with makerspaces to date, and one of the aims of the Making Spaces project is to address the current gap in knowledge regarding the roles, practices, and possibilities of these contemporary places.

To mark a successful end of the first year of the project, the Making Spaces team have released a four-part series aiming to support practitioners in the process of professional reflection and to help makerspaces in building their capacity for more equitable and socially just practice. The series summarises evidence and ideas from research conducted for the project in collaboration with Knowle West Media Centre (Bristol), the Institute of Making (UCL, London), and ourselves at MadLab. The Springboard publications are primarily targeted to makerspace practitioners and policy-makers, although they may have relevance for the wider STEM education sector.

There are four publications in this short series:

  1. Springboard #1: Introduction - Re/imagining makerspaces to support equity and social justice. An introduction to the springboard series.
  2. Springboard #2: Values - Re/imagining the values and purpose of makerspaces.
  3. Springboard #3: Spaces - Re/imagining space and where making happens in makerspaces.
  4. Springboard #4: Objects - Re/imagining objects and what gets made in makerspaces.

Despite the maker movement’s early commitment to values of democracy and accessibility, in practice makerspace participants in the global north still predominantly reflect a traditional STEM demographic that is White, cis-male, middle class and able-bodied. Makerspaces have the potential to build communities, to support both individual and collective agency and to shape sustainable and equitable futures. Equally they can help tackle the under-representation of marginalised groups in engineering, science and technology.

The Making Spaces Springboard Series aims to be a useful 'jumping off point' for re/imagining practice and starting a conversation within the sector to steer the makerspace community back on course towards a more equitable future.

We hope you enjoy reading the springboards, and learning a little more about the project!

Louise, Kylo, Jen, & Esme, aka The Making Spaces Team.  


More News