Meeting places for researchers

There is more and more research interest in FabLabs and makerspaces but it seems we are still divided by disciplinary borders. We have a small research stream connected to the annual FabLab meetings (FABx) coordinated by Peter Troxler (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), where paper submissions range from engineering experiments to qualitative sociological studies. There is a lot of activity in ‘FabLearn’ topics and conferences, as well as CHI conferences. In Europe some of us focus on socio-environmental sustainability and others meet at Participatory Design conferences or commons-focused events (e.g. members of the P2P Foundation). Still others are interested in organizational studies, entrepreneurship and/or industrial innovation. But we haven’t yet had too much common discussion, and discussion groups on e.g. Loomio or Slack are often by invitation only.

If you want to join the discussion, here are a couple of possibilities:
-on Facebook the FabLab Research International Group (request to join):

-on ResearchGate (an academic social media platform), Howard Aldrich’s project page on makerspace research:

Let me know if there are others.

A song for tech determinists

Hello out there, all you tech determinists, all you people with “technology is neutral” on your T-shirts! And those of you with a “technology will save the world” bumper sticker on your self-driving car! Yeah, guess what? I wrote a song! Just for you!

After all, if you didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have a job!

Feel free to sing along. You’ll know the tune. I call it –

A Ditty for the Tech Utopians.

Here we go:

Blockchain and printers and circuits and power!
Teach children coding, forget reading hour!
They will start startups, the value that brings!
These are a few of my favourite things!

Mining the moon while the earth is left pretty,
Let’s put our money in space and Mars City!
Surely we prosper when new worlds we seek,
History tells us that we’ll never peak!

When the smog quells,
And the sea warms,
And I’m feeling sad…
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad!

Self-driving autos and more roads and parking!
Smart City sensors and robot dogs barking!
Walking is silly and so out of date,
Bodies need augmenting – that is our fate!

Employees in hotels and shops are for gluttons!
Keypads and screens, oh, I do like those buttons!
Humans are costly and I need the dough,
I need to spend it on screens and on blow.

When the flesh aches,
And the heart yearns,
And I’m feeling sore…
I simply go into my white privilege cave
And then I don’t feel any more!

GM technology! Hunger will vanish!
Insects and poor soil – oh, all will be banished!
All of the world will eat beef and eat corn!
These are the reasons why I’m glad I’m born…

Up in the north where we have so much water!
GMO crops will be saviours of bother.
Seeds are for companies, not for the poor,
They need to recognize markets are core!

When the shares slump,
And my kids stare,
And I’m feeling scared…
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so aware!