If you want to participate via Zoom, please contact Jakob Tholander (jakobth@dsv.su.se) for passcode. 

Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice at the Makerspace


Respondent: Sophie Landwehr Sydow, DSV

Opponent: Ylva Fernaeus, KTH/School of Design, Umeå

Main supervisor: Jakob Tholander, DSV

Supervisors: Martin Jonsson and Maria Normark, Södertörn University

Professor closest to the subject: Teresa Cerratto-Pargman, DSV



This thesis revolves around interactions and the experience of engaging with materials and machines at the makerspace. These shared workshops facilitate creative and hobby-based activities of people worldwide who make artifacts. Making hereby includes digital fabrication machinery and bridges traditional and emerging materials drawing both on craft and technology. Hence the socio-technical phenomenon may present an alternative and more democratic path to technology production. Work for this thesis involved studies at multiple sites such as a community-driven makerspace as a major site for ethnographic involvement, other minor sites included a municipality driven makerspace within the educational setting, comparative work from industry through research collaboration and wider observations of national and international activities to situate local findings. This thesis aims to contribute to third wave human-computer interaction and design research with insights on experience and situated, embodied practice in the context of the makerspace beyond those of instrumental purposes, such as learning, innovation or community building. Instead, it explores how makers experience and understand materials and machines in the makerspace close and unpack the relation between several entities, that constitute making. Here makers surface particular abilities and skills when experiencing technology, valuing materials, making sense of processes of production, and caring for machines, while engaging in hands-on creative maker practice. Outcomes of the papers included in this compilation thesis resulted in conceptual work such as ‘material literacy’ when taking an artifact apart, ‘machine sensibility’ that practitioners demonstrate when analysing the 3D printing process and the ‘pliable machine’ that emerged from studying modding of the laser cutter. Moreover, contextualizing work raised similarities in how practitioners tend to 3D printing in the industry design lab and the makerspace as well as offering a more applied perspective to material and machine understanding when studying newcomers to making from an educational perspective. The overall results of this research hence demonstrate close human-technology relationships by unpacking interpretative practice of material qualities, experiential dimensions and hidden aspects of processes that may not be solely technologically solved. Thus, this thesis aims to better understand the emerging roles and the agencies that the maker, the materials and machines within this interplay bring to the fore.