On July 15, Dr. Maggie Melo, Laura March, and Dr. Kimberly Hirsh presented “A Hidden Link to Foster Equity and Inclusion? A Study on the Defining Features of Academic Makerspaces” at the 2021 Makerspaces for Innovation and Research in Academics (MIRA) virtual conference.
“Does a makerspace spatially communicate who belongs in the space?” is a question that the presenters, researchers from the Equity in the Making Lab, are investigating. What sights, sounds, and scents are attributed to makerspaces and why? This presentation unpacks the findings from year one of a five-year research program that explores makerspaces within an equity and inclusion framework. This presentation will outline two key findings:
- Why it’s difficult to isolate the defining features of a makerspace
- The role of affect, emotion, and the “intangible” features of a makerspace
These findings add insight regarding the persistent challenge of the underrepresentation of marginalized communities in makerspaces. Moreover, these findings are foundational for the next part of the research program: the development of a virtual makerspace that investigates the initial reactions and thoughts of students from marginalized communities.
This project was made possible in part by the National Science Foundation Award # 1942930.