RE:FORM has now officially finished – though perhaps we might argue that we’ve just started!
We were funded by the Royal College of Art to carry out a feasibility study, and over the last six months we’ve explored some really exciting areas. We’ve held three workshops, carried out interviews and had a successful practical trial of our ideas through a ‘summer school’ with pairs of learners from the Open University (graduates of the T217 ‘Design Essentials’ module) and MAKLab’s community of makers. These were highly successful activities and we’ll now be writing up our findings and publishing both here in the blog and elsewhere.
We’ve found that makespaces can play an important role in providing educational opportunities that could lead to better skilled makers and designers working in redistributed manufacturing, answering a real need from industry. There are a range of current initiatives already under way, and a range of ways makespaces and universities can work together to provide broader educational experiences for their learners, and transitions between informal and formal learning environments.
It’s possible to replicate authentic redistributed manufacturing tasks through a partnership between a makespace (MAKLab) and a university (The Open University) with communications completely carried out online and clear evidence of peer learning. We’ve seen breakthroughs by both maker and designer learners, and a range of innovative approaches to problem solving – resulting in a wide range of practical prototypes, including one entered for a design competition.
We’re now considering where we go next: our study has put us in contact with a wide range of educators, industry representatives and makespaces who would like to investigate topics in more detail. We’ll be putting up some of the scenarios we’ll be exploring, and we’re keen to get in touch with organisations and individuals interested in extending the conversation and considering further research and practical applications.
Please get in contact!
Our thanks to the Royal College of Art, the EPSRC (the funding body), and all those who participated in our workshops, interviews, and summer school.
The RE:FORM team (Gary Elliott-Cirigotis, Mark Craig, Delphine Dallison, Mark Gaved, Iestyn Jowers, Alan Rochead).