Call for Participation

International Workshop on EUD for Supporting Sustainability in Maker Communities

In conjunction with IS EUD 2013, June 11-13, 2013, IT University of Copenhagen, DK 

There has been a recent proliferation of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) communities that can broadly be included under the maker movement umbrella. Many of these groups are engaged in DIY projects in areas that relate to sustainable living, such as urban gardening groups engaged in growing their own food in urban areas, home energy monitoring communities interested in improving their homes to support a more energy efficient living, and textile crafts people who engage in home production, as well as recycling and upcycling of textiles. Spurred by the possibilities of digital fabrication and the Internet, the maker movement has a great potential to support sustainable living by fostering related innovations, fostering their appropriation and propagating their practical use. However, technology-driven maker communities associated with FabLabs or Hackerspaces are often perceived as places for tech-savvy people and have difficulties to instantiate a sustainable dialogue with the society at large. Hence, attracting wider categories of public, as well as sharing innovations created by users are still seen as challenges.

End User Development (EUD) as research field focuses on methods, techniques, and tools that allow non-professionals to create, modify and extend technologies. Tools for EUD include for example visual programming environments, mash-up editors and service orchestration tools. EUD concepts can play a big role in supporting sustainability in maker communities by facilitating sustainable access to digital fabrication, in order to support user innovation and leverage knowledge sharing across communities.

In particular, we believe that EUD research could contribute at several different levels:

  • At a technical level, EUD concepts can help to support the appropriation of DIY by making it easier for non-professionals to create, modify or extend digital and material artefacts in DIY projects.
  • At a social level, EUD approaches can contribute to popularize DIY with the help of social media in order to make local DIY initiatives more visible, provide new opportunities for lurking and legitimate peripheral participation, and support knowledge exchange and appropriation of related innovations, technologies and ideas.
  • At an empirical level, EUD oriented ethnographic studies can contribute to understand and analyse practices of DIY/maker communities in minute detail to get a better understanding of their practical needs and opportunities for innovation.

In the workshop, we want to discuss examples of DIY activities that are of interest in the context of sustainability and End User Development. Related questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What are good examples of EUD and DIY tools that support sustainable innovation or could be adapted in this respect?
  • How can EUD principles be leveraged to include a more diverse user group, particularly across generations, cultural backgrounds and among people with different levels of technical knowledge?
  • How can more citizens become aware and be attracted to use digital fabrication technologies for projects that address their own needs? What are the tools and infrastructure needed to do so?
  • How can domestic activities be a trigger to establish a sustainable use of personal fabrication technologies? What are the potentials to attract new user groups in order to reach inclusive participation and foster broad discussion and evaluation of potential and challenges?
  • How can traditional crafts be integrated in the context of maker communities? How can knowledge about crafts and traditional techniques be included, given that the people holdin it are not amongst the usual participants?
  • What tools are needed to anchor digital fabrication as a widely accepted possible extension to current fabrication and making routines?
  • What are the new production and consumption patterns developed through sharing and collaboration of diverse groups of makers on a local and global scale? How can these be extended to the context of repairing, extending the life-cycle of existing products, recycling and upcycling?
  • How can practitioners be supported in documenting their work in order to allow knowledge sharing and diffusion of innovation? How could creative forms of documenting be established to better fit the maker culture?