STS Helsinki seminar 9.3. with Cindy Kohtala

We’re kicking off the seminar series again this spring! For our upcoming seminar in March, STS Helsinki will host Cindy Kohtala. Welcome to the talk, which will be held at Unioninkatu 35, room 113, at 14–16!

Studying Fab Labs as an Industrial Transitions Movement 

DIY makers are grassroots translocal groups whose activities, strategies and visions are directed at localizing design, innovation and production. They develop their own open-source projects, products and inventions in shared spaces (fab labs, hacklabs and makerspaces); contribute to open software and distributed web development; and engage wider publics in material experimentation. Discourses and practices in maker culture are fragmented and shifting over the previous two decades, at times critiqued for being techno-utopian and at others explicitly oriented to environmental sustainability, material circularity and social justice. At the same time, European Commission funding calls are increasingly attracting fab labs and distributed manufacturing interests into strategic coalitions, design research and education is experiencing an identity crisis with regard to its origins in European and US “industrial design”, and the utopian promises of initial world wide web peer-to-peer culture are now being experienced as social media capitalist enclosure, mass surveillance and threats to democracy. In this talk I will discuss my experiences as a design researcher examining maker culture and sustainability material activism as an industrial transitions movement, after David J Hess’s framework bridging Science & Technology Studies, transitions studies and social movement studies.

Cindy Kohtala is Professor in Design for Sustainability and Programme Director of the MFA programme in Interaction Design at the Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University, Sweden. She received her doctorate from Aalto University, Department of Design, and was a postdoc in Aalto’s INUSE Users and Innovation research group.

Join the talk on Zoom: