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Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice in the Makerspace


Sophie Landwehr Sydow har forskat om interaktionen mellan människor, material och maskiner, i kontext av ett makerspace. Making beskriver en praktik, som handlar om att kombinera nya teknologier med hantverk.


Sophie Landwehr Sydow


Associate Professor Jacob Tholander, Stockholms universitet. Associate Professor Martin Jonsson, Södertörns högskola. Associate Professor Maria Normark, Södertörns högskola


Professor Alexandra Weilenmann, Göteborgs universitet

Disputerat vid

Stockholms universitet



Titel (eng)

Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice in the Makerspace


Institutionen för data- och systemvetenskap

Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice in the Makerspace

This thesis explores interaction between humans, materials, and machines, in the context of makerspaces. The concept of making describes a practice that deals with new technologies in combination with craft to create artifacts in physical, digital and hybrid forms. Despite substantial research, there is still a need to examine what practices of making have to offer to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research. This particularly concerns investigations of the close relations between the multitudes of different activities, materials, machines and things in such shared spaces.

Making is discussed as a practice of importance for interaction design and conceptualised as involving a particular mindset when engaging with materials and machines. Based on this, my work argues that the phenomenon calls for a deeper reflection on recent movements on material interaction and materiality on the one hand, and perspectives on machine interactions on the other. I explore how situated and embodied practices can be revealed in investigations of makerspace activities. Further, my work describes how makers experience and make sense of the materials and machines that populate makerspaces. Finally, I map out how insights on experience and practice with machines and materials can be conceptualised in a way that become useful for contemporary interaction design practices.

The presented research builds on four qualitative studies, in which I draw on investigations in the makerspace and combine an ethnographic approach with participant observation, design methods and contextual inquiry. The resulting five collaboratively written papers frame making as an experience in itself and discover particular ways of making sense of materials. Further, we study embodied and situated dimensions of 3D printing, as well as practices concerning modding and the maintenance of machines and explore how practitioners may develop a maker mindset. The papers contribute with a set of conceptualisations such as “material literacy” when taking artifacts apart, “machine sensibility”, which practitioners show in their interaction with 3D printing, and the “pliable machine” that emerged from studying modding of a laser cutter. These conceptualizations highlight new aspects and perspectives of maker activities and interactions previously less accounted for.

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