Join us for a special prsentation by Maggie Melo, PhD candidate and an American Association of University Women Fellow at the University of Arizona, titled “The Makerspace is Dead, Long Live the Makerspace!,” onThursday, Jan. 18, at 3:30 pm in Manning Hall 01.
Abstract: Makerspaces—collaborative learning areas supplied with technologies such as virtual reality studios, 3D printers, and laser cutters—have been increasingly integrated into public and academic libraries over the last decade. In this talk, Maggie Melo argues that while the Maker Movement has contributed importantly to a larger conversation in higher education about the importance of experiential learning, the Movement’s Silicon Valley roots have infused it with a set of discourses that are almost inescapably gendered, classed, and raced. Melo will concentrate her remarks here on the ways makerspaces reproduce gender bias, consequently displacing woman-identified makers and entrepreneurs who, according to the Movement’s promotional materials, are actually meant to be especially welcome. Such ironic rhetoric, Melo proposes, helps explain why the Maker Movement’s considerable popularity is having little impact on making STEM disciplines and the digital arts and humanities more gender inclusive. Melo will conclude with a consideration of the future of library makerspaces and how the next iteration of makerspaces will have people, not the tech, at the forefront of their design.
Bio: Maggie Melo is a PhD candidate and an American Association of University Women Fellow at the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in portal: Libraries and the Academy; Hybrid Pedagogy; Computers and Composition Online; Writing Commons; Craft Research and Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal on Popular Culture and Pedagogy. She co-founded the University of Arizona’s first publicly accessible and interdisciplinary makerspace—iSpace— and strategically facilitated its growth from a modest 400 square foot room in the Science-Engineering Library into a 5,000 square foot facility soon to be housed inside the University’s Main Library. Melo also founded the Women Techmakers Tucson Hackathon, the Southwest’s first women’s-only hackathon, and has given keynote addresses and invited-talks at several regional and national conferences, including the Google Developer Group’s North American Summit.