Critical Maker Reader: Behind the Smart World – Artistic Remixing of a Global Data Breach



Published by the Institute of Network Cultures
Edited by Loes Bogers and Letizia Chiappini


Makerspaces and fablabs are popping up in community centers, schools, universities and libraries, offering access to industry-standard production methods. In parallel to this interest in digital fabrication and maker culture, there seems to be a growing appreciation of critically engaged reflexive making processes. Such critical engagements with technology are being propagated across the fields of design, art, humanities and engineering as being imperative for coming to terms with the pressing complex ecological, political, cultural, economic and social issues of our times. Substantial theories of collaborative critical making as emancipatory practice across disciplines are needed to further address the educational challenges at play in learning how to become socially engaged creative professionals and citizens of the postdigital age. The challenges we face for education in this increasingly networked era are shared across disciplines, calling for sharing knowledge of how to critically engage with contemporary issues.



With this call, the Makers Lab and the Institute of Network Cultures aim to bring together a wide variety of contributions on interdisciplinary, collaborative making practices with a socially engaged and critical perspective. The goal of the publication is to illuminate the current state of theory, best practices and case studies of critically engaged making in higher education and informal learning contexts, to make them accessible for students as well as educators, and to foster critical debate in the maker community at large.

The Makers Lab is a DIY fabrication and prototyping lab with an educational and research program at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries. An interdisciplinary research elective for undergraduate students in fashion design and branding, media design, computer engineering and communication was launched in 2018 to explore making as critical pedagogy, research methodology, and collaborative practice, in an educational context where young people train for professions in the creative industries.

The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. Their projects evolve around digital publishing, alternative revenue models, online video and design, digital counter culture and much more. A key focus is the establishment of sustainable interdisciplinary research networks: emerging critical topics are identified and shaped in a practical sense.


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