MakerCulture — an 11 part, multi-media series

Capturing the movers, shakers, doers and makers of today

Just yesterday I stumbled across what looked like a series of articles on the maker movement dating back from early 2010. After perusing a bit, I realized how comprehensive and media rich the project was and wanted to share it here on the blog.

MakerCulture: Taking Things into Our Own Hands is an 11 part, multi-media series of articles, photos, podcasts, and videos capturing the maker movement. What’s so great about this series is the way it covers all different sorts of makers — from hackers to bakers, punk educators to citizen scientists, and all sorts of artists and activists in between.

Readers of this blog may not read anything shockingly new, but you’re sure to learn more about what makers are doing in hobbies and fields you may think are very different from your own.

The premise of the project itself is also quite interesting. Directed by Wayne MacPhail, 45 online journalism students at Ryerson University and the University of Western Ontario collaborated to document the new school of DIYers, crafters, hackers, and makers using a variety of social media tools.

The final result was was co-published from January through March of 2010 by British Columbia based online magazine The Tyee and progressive online news site Rabble.ca

The students own media outlets included the project blog, wiki site, flickr stream, and YouTube channel.

As with a lot of stuff written on the maker movement, the series is criticized as being idealistic and even unrealistic. One commenter arrives at the conclusion that maker culture is “much ado about nothing.” Now a year and a half later, what’s your take?

A quick run down of each part in the series is after the jump.

Meet Your Makers, a summary of the project, defines Maker Culture as “people taking things — food, entertainment, technology, politics, and even science — into their own hands.” There’s also a 20-link Maker Oddities highlight of the craziest projects they encountered.

The Replicator, the first part in the series, introduces Neil Gershenfeld’s Fab Labs then dives straight into 3D printing.

Making a Living in MakerCulture opens with the wonderful line, “If you weren’t making things 100 years ago, you’d be dead.” This third part in the series tells the stories of five “folks making ends meet while living the DIY dream.”

We’re All Hackers Now largely discusses the threat of closed platform devices to DIY electronic and open-source culture, pointing the finger at Apple.

How MakerCulture is Reinventing Politics introduces several Canadian based political organizations including anarchist group Common Cause, anti-capitalist center Empowerment Infoshop, cycling advocacy event BikeCamp, and poli-tech movements ChangeCamp and OpenData Toronto.

From Mash-up Novels to Crowdsourced Films looks at the hybrid nature of today’s creative output — from collaborative authorship to sampled source materials — and the copyright issues that go along.

Rise of Citizen Scientists tells stories of contributing computer power to build protein models and desktop discoveries in outer space.

What’s So Great about Hand-Made? covers the cultural and environmental benefits of supporting the making of things by hand, ranging from sustainable building to Inuit traditions.

Go Ahead, Play with Your Food talks about live latte art, dried fruit jewelry, chewing gum on canvas, open-source recipes, and home breweries.

EduPunks Say School Yourself! explores the DIY reform of education and the changing expectations of the work environment when it comes to academic credentials.

Our Future Remade by MakerCulture takes a last look at makers asking “What makes a maker make, anyway?” and tells a few more stories about how makers are changing business, copyright law, and even the creation of human organs.

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