Novel forms of public engagement in science and technology around the global movement of makerspaces & hackerspaces enable citizens to gain direct access to laboratory equipment, science protocols and involvement in research & development processes.

The direct and open access to tools, data and resources as an essential attribute of democratizing and “opening” the science  to new actors is also becoming an important development goal in the Global South.In this project we are following one particular aspect of these larger calls for open science, which is the use of open source technologies for science, especially material practices and formats of collaboration and dissemination of DIY, open source hardware and repurposed laboratory equipment. We are interested in the congruence between the North and South (global and local) networks supporting such practices as well as in the formats and modes of learning how to build such equipment (workshops and events) and the type of organizations formed around this (non profit, grassroots, informal).

Methodology

This research project revolves primarily around the production of workshops in three main sites of research: Yogyakarta, Indonesia (pop. 400,000); Bangkok, Thailand (pop. 9 mil), and Kathmandu, Nepal (pop. 1.2 mil). These countries were chosen for their burgeoning maker and hacker communities with particular interest in activities around science and hardware. The workshops in Indonesia will be focused on the intersection of art, science, and interdisciplinary practice. The workshops in Thailand will be focused on community-based design and science education. The workshop in Nepal will be focused on local curriculum development, hardware exploration, and space science. Each workshop combines local facilitators with local and international participants and experts. Workshops range from 1-17 days long. Each workshop is considered as a case study for workshop design and participatory action to generate open documentation and hardware prototypes. These case studies will then be integrated into a common framework for workshop design.