What’s The Trend:
Maker Culture refers to the contemporary return to the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) phenomenon, in a whole new way. The “maker movement,” as it is also known, revolves around creationist activities through the application of cutting-edge technologies. It has close ties with open source principles, an innovation method which gives universal access and redistribution to a product’s design or blueprint, thus encouraging collaboration.(1) It’s also loosely connected to the “green” movement as makers often look for new uses for old items and inventive new uses for existing resources.(2)
DIY, the Maker movement, is experiencing a revival and has evolved with modern times thanks to technologies that support the spreading of ideas and collaboration not limited by geography. Traditional Maker Culture used to be characterized predominantly by activities such as arts & crafts, woodworking, metalworking, etc., but with the proliferation of technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutters, Makers can create and manufacture complex products from their homes. 3D printers, for example, can be used to produce a needed car part or for making food. YouTube has also played a part in providing a platform for people to discuss, share and even create step-by-step videos detailing a DIY project, giving anyone who watched the video the opportunity to learn the craft or skill.
Hackerspaces, Makerspaces, TechShops and FabLabs are a result of Maker Culture. Although subtly distinct from each other, the basis of these is a community space to offer public and shared access to high-end manufacturing equipment along with the exchange of ideas. People are able to come together, learn and use collective experience to advance projects.(3)
Why It Matters:
This evolution of the maker culture is highly pertinent to the Hispanic population for a number of reasons. First, this new form of DIY gives Hispanics the opportunity for easy entry to entrepreneurship, even without a college degree to legitimize a skill.(4) Through sites like Etsy, a virtual marketplace where people connect to buy and sell goods, Hispanics are able to sell their innovations and discuss tips with like-minded vendors. Secondly, Hispanics overall have a naturally strong predisposition toward DIY activities, particularly in home improvement situations. They can now engage in more high-tech, efficient ways for home improvements.(5) Historically, artisanship is strong in Hispanic cultures.(6) In maker culture, tradition has the opportunity to meet technology for interesting ways to bring Hispanic culture and traditions forward.
- Ibanez, Luis. (2014, March). “Makers are the new industrial revolution.” Open Source.
- Schischa, Rebecca. (2009, April). “’Reuse It Yourself’ Movement Could Revolutionise DIY.” World Changing.
- Cavalcanti, Gui. (2013, May). “Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?” Makezine.
- Graham, Rod. (2012, April). “Minority Men as Makers.”
- Bremer, Cassandra. (2012, October). “Hispanics DIY: Build and Acquire, Don’t Hire.” San Jose Consulting.
- Mad Museum. “New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft, and Art in Latin America” (Exhibit, 2014-2015).