Culture, Power and Learning in Makerspaces: Enacting Equity at the Crossroads of Arts, Humanities and Science

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Making is a deeply cultural and historical practice that often lives at the intersection where science meets the arts and humanities. As a portal to practicing various ways of knowing, inquiring, creating and relating, making is increasingly shaping educational spaces, both inside and outside of the classroom. Yet efforts to expand access to “makerspaces” often treat making as a normative or ahistorical practice, and tend to reproduce individualistic and economic narratives with regard to the purposes of making. In this talk, Vossoughi offers a critical framework for design, practice, and research on making in educational spaces. This framework draws from cultural-historical theories of learning, literature on educational equity and justice, and Vossoughi’s long-term ethnographic research on afterschool tinkering programs that merve students in non-dominant communities. More specifically, Vossoughi argues that a framework for equity in making ought to include: a) critical analyses of educational injustice; b) historicized approaches to making as cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary activity; c) explicit attention to pedagogical philosophies and practices; and d) ongoing inquiry into the sociopolitical values and purposes of making. Offering examples of each of these principles, Vossoughi considers the specific theoretical and pedagogical sensibilities that animate transformative visions for educational equity.
education, makerspaces
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