MAPPING POBLE NOU'S INVISIBLE MAKERS
Context Departing from the premise that the historically industrial area of Poblenou has been designated as the maker district of Barcelona, this research project seeks to problematise the term maker and investigate how far the term can be stretched mainly because the current maker movement tends to be centred around tech-savvy or data literate people and is strongly male oriented with which relevant local communities are excluded or unable to participate in meaningful ways when it comes to decisions regarding area development plans.
Project Mapping Poble Nou’s Invisible Makers is a project performed by students of Elisava’s third year design degree for the course Producto, Contexto y Usuario. In this course, students are introduced to (design) research methods with which they learn to do field research, such as mapping, ethnography, and interviewing. A mapping interface was specifically designed for this course and allows the students to explore the value of collective digital mapping as research methodology. Additionally, each group of students writes an essay about their research process that is published in Ciutat Nova Magazine.
Actions and tools After doing a first exploration in the area, the legend of the map was collectively defined by students, consisting of invisible makers that are to be found in the area. Each group of students then focuses on one (invisible) maker collective and uploads relevant data is to the collective digital map. Mapping, here, is explored as tool to come to a closer understanding of the subculture that a maker community is part of and seeks to make visible how these invisible collectives relate to other/more formal or institutionalised collectives. The digital map, this way, generates alternative narratives around the dominant maker movement and can be seen as a tool for storytelling.
Research question Who are the Invisible Maker collectives of Poble Nou, how do they move around and what spaces and resources do they use? These questions help answer these bigger questions: In what ways do these invisible makers relate to or form part of the maker movement and what social capital do the invisible makers in Poble Nou generate?
The project forms part of Design for City Making (DxCM) initiative at ELISAVA. With this three-year project, Elisava aims to put itself on the map as an institution that offers design students a more bottom-up and inclusive approach to design for social innovation.