In the Making

Timeframe: Jan 2015 – Jun 2016
Funder: AHRC

Digital fabrication is a new technology which is growing in popularity. It allows us to print three-dimensional objects from computer files. We want to find out whether this technology can help to improve the lives of disabled people, their families and the communities in which they live. There are already examples of disabled people using this technology to design and produce objects, such as ramps, that make day-to-day life easier. We want to know if we can take this further. Could people make things that others want to buy? Or make things that draw attention to disability rights? Or make art? Working with disabled people, we want to offer access to, and training in, digital fabrication. We will bring mobile equipment to community venues so that people don’t have to go out of their way to use it. Disabled people will help us with every stage of the research, and the insights that we produce together will be used to explore how people can make changes for themselves, rather than waiting for ‘official’ responses. By generating positive images and narratives about the skills of disabled digital fabricators, we hope to counteract the often negative coverage in the mainstream media of disabled people as passive, deserving of ‘pity’ or relying on benefits.