[Lab] Strategies for inclusion?

Jason Cobill jason.cobill at gmail.com
Fri Apr 15 15:35:44 EDT 2016

   Super complex idea to tackle in an e-mail, but here's a few thoughts:

   I spent a decade in Winnipeg and the Prairie region (including up
North), and I can tell you from first-hand experience that there are places
that people live that you would not believe are possible in a developed
country. The "Maker Movement" often professes that any challenge can be
overcome with ingenuity and collaboration, but I don't think any of the
deeply systemic societal problems that have allowed for this to happen are
going to be solved with extruded plastic and laser-cut MDF. (More like
decades of effort from an invested government and stakeholders, possibly
*including* makers in some capacity. Ideas?)

   But I think access and exposure to tools and ideas can change individual
lives. That's one of the reasons I love the Maker Faire so much - exposing
people to the *idea* of making and agency over technology is incredibly
powerful, particularly if you catch kids at that formative age when they're
learning what they're capable of (and what society thinks they're *not*
capable of).
   There's a great (here I go again with shout-outs) organization called
Actua based here in Ottawa that, among other things, fund and run tech
workshops for kids in over 200 indigenous communities (particularly in
Northern Canada). If anyone's interested in participating in their
programming I encourage you to get in touch, they're very cool people.

   I think if we want to bring indigenous people (or anyone) into the
community, you need to capture their imagination: hands-on workshops with
enthusiastic maker ambassadors. If only 1 in 100 catches the bug - that's a
new Maker!
   So how do we bring the Maker Faire up north? A Maker Faire Shipping
Container that travels around on cargo boats? :)

   -Jason Cobill

On Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 10:40 AM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca> wrote:

> Great job highlighting some of the good work being done in the city Jason!
> I think it's a great point about being aware of the privileged place we
> speak from, but more important than recognizing one's privilege is thinking
> meaningfully about what one will do with the privilege we have. Discussion
> is key to that process and listening especially. Inflammatory discussion is
> rampant in online forms, but participating and cultivating instances of
> positive, inclusive and constructive dialogue is certainly the best
> antidote to this.
> One of the challenges the article made me think about is as Canadians, and
> as Ottawans living on unceded Algonquin territory, what kind of
> intersection do we imagine for the indigenous issues, locally and
> nationally and the maker movement? I don't think its just a matter of
> making sure we can include and educate people on making and amateur science
> because it feels like it needs to be more of a two way street... there is
> more dialogue needed perhaps between different world views. Its all very
> tricky!
> We have some great creative people on this list.
> What kind of ideas do people have about inclusion of indigenous peoples in
> the make up of community?
> Cheers
> Ryan
> ___________________________
> Ryan Stec
> Artistic Director
> [image: Image result for artengine]
> artengine.ca <http://www.artengine.ca/>
> On Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 1:03 AM, Jason Cobill <jason.cobill at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>    I'm really excited to share that the maker gang I work with
>> inadvertently hit gender parity without ever explicitly setting out to. (5
>> women, 5 men)
>>    Certainly gender disparities exist in the Maker Movement here, but I
>> think Ottawa (maybe more than other places), has tremendous women role
>> models and leadership in the tech community and consequently the local
>> maker movement benefits from their efforts. I could spend all day sending
>> shoutouts, but people like Ladies Learning Code, GirlForce, Carleton WiCS,
>> Algonquin WEET, etc, etc are organizations that should be celebrated and
>> supported. Not forgetting the awesome gang of women instructors at the
>> uOttawa Makerspace and the volunteers at RHoK, Pens and Pixels, IGDA, Game
>> Jam, WordCamp, DrupalCamp and other local hackathon events.
>>    The issue of race in the Maker community is really complex, and I
>> think inseparable from issues of class, income and privilege. "Making" is a
>> hobby that requires a considerable investment of time and money that's out
>> of reach for most. Again, we have some excellent organizations in Ottawa
>> that deserve a shoutout, in particular Brittania Woods Community Center,
>> who packed up a busload of people from Ottawa's poorest neighbourhood to
>> shuttle them to last year's Maker Faire.
>>    https://www.facebook.com/erica.bregman/videos/10201113737722576/
>>    Brittania Woods is also running a code mentorship program called Kids
>> Can Code, and have invested heavily in maker toys (Lego Mindstorms,
>> arduinos, robot kits, etc) to get into the hands of kids who don't have
>> them at home. They're doing really amazing work - the kind of work more
>> people should be hearing about.
>>    I think it's really important to reach out and support these
>> organizations, many of which need volunteers and mentors more than they
>> need money (but they need that too). It's easy to drop a 3D Printer on a
>> poor neighbourhood (which seems really trendy right now), but it's an
>> enormous investment of time and effort to actually run workshops and
>> facilitate exploration.
>>   ---
>>    Playing Devil's Advocate a little: I was disappointed when O'Reilly
>> started producing "Craft" magazines and events separated from the Make
>> brand - I felt like they were being intentionally divisive. The Crafting
>> (as defined by O'Reilly) community is very heavily female-dominated but the
>> distinction is entirely arbitrary. I feel like we could reach gender parity
>> overnight if we just broadened the (already hazy) definition of "Maker" to
>> include textile artists, culinary explorers, horticulturalists, etc, etc. I
>> mean ultimately the thing that defines a "Maker" is a passion for creating
>> things, right?
>>    Consider that there are *4 million* Ravelry users. What is knitting
>> if not a kind of manual 3d Printing process? And have you seen some of the
>> machines they're using? There are some crazy innovative quilters out there
>> (seriously).
>>    There's another *47 million* users on Pinterest. You'd better believe
>> these people are making things.* I think it's petty* to try to separate
>> them from the Maker community because of some arbitrary corporate
>> manipulation to isolate a demographic to sell soldering irons.
>>    PS: I'm always a little scared to wade into these kinds of discussions
>> publicly because I'm a perfect example of a person with multiple levels of
>> privilege and these kinds of discussions so often turn explosive online. I
>> don't mean to trivialize the ongoing diversity problems in STEM, but I feel
>> like we rarely celebrate the great progress that we're making and the
>> enormous efforts people have invested to get us here. *highfive* To all of
>> the awesome ladies, LGBT, and people of colour making super cool stuff in
>> Ottawa.
>>    -Jason Cobill
>> On Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 11:49 PM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca>
>> wrote:
>>> Came across this fascinating read about race, gender and class as it
>>> relates to the Maker Movement. I wondered about the work we all do together
>>> as a community and what kind of strategies we will embrace to make our own
>>> community and city more inclusive?
>>> http://tascha.uw.edu/2015/03/power-access-status-the-discourse-of-race-gender-and-class-in-the-maker-movement/
>>> Thoughts anyone?
>>> ___________________________
>>> Ryan Stec
>>> Artistic Director
>>> [image: Image result for artengine]
>>> artengine.ca <http://www.artengine.ca/>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Lab mailing list
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>>> 2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list
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