Research into The Role of Makespaces in the Circular Economy and Urban Manufacturing for Sustainabiliy

The Circular Makespaces project was one of two Level 1 feasibility studies on Future Makespaces in Redistributed Manufacturing, a two-year ESPRC funded research project run by the Royal College of Art in London.
The Circular Makespaces research developed new insights and knowledge of circular practices within makespaces, supporting a more holistic understanding on what current circular practices exist, the wider role of makespaces (and their stakeholders) within a circular economy and redistributed manufacturing. It acts as the first step in the development of further work in this area.
Makespaces are seen to have the potential to contribute – through physical and relational goods – to a new economy that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. While we expect that Makespaces are characteristic in our vision for a circular economy, there is little evidence to support this.
The overarching research question driving the Circular Makespaces project seeks insights on: ‘How can we prevent the proliferation of ‘crapjects’ and encourage the integration of effective, economic-, environmental- and social sustainable strategies in emerging makespaces?’

This research looked to uncover triggers for circular practices to become embedded within Makespaces, to inform the wider context of ‘systemic’ redistributed manufacturing that is connected to it’s local, as well as it’s global, context.  As a 2 stage feasibility pilot study, it was exploratory in nature, interviewed experts and documented pioneering cases to begin to uncover insights on circular makespaces – ‘Setting the CE Lens’ and then ‘Focusing” it

OSCEdays London debateOutcomes: Real world case studies; testing ideas and sharing insights through insitu workshops and identification of key areas for further developed.

A key element of this was also the collaboration with the OSCEdays in London and wider global network.

Sustain RCA Overview, Blogs & Papers

The Circular Makespaces Team :

  • Grit Hartung –  Research Associate, (Communication) Designer Researcher
  • Sharon Prendeville – Research Associate, Design Researcher
  • Erica Purvis – Sustainable Design Engineer
  • Clare Brass –  Co-Investigator, Head of SustainRCA
  • Ashley Hall –  Co-Investigator, Professor of Design Innovation and deputy head of the Innovation Design Engineering programme at the RCA