Design with and by Marginalized People in Humanitarian Makerspaces
Lucia Corsini, Santosh Jagtap, James Moultrie


There is a growing demand for humanitarian aid around the world as the number of displaced people has reached an unprecedented level. At the same time, the number of community-based design and fabrication makerspaces has been growing exponentially. Recently the humanitarian sector has become interested in how these spaces can help marginalized populations, including migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. However, there have been few efforts to document what types of design projects marginalized populations develop in these spaces. More broadly, knowledge on design with and by marginalized people remains underdeveloped. This study responds to this gap in knowledge, by analyzing cases from three makerspaces that support migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Greece. Ethnographic studies are conducted of twenty-three design projects emerging from these spaces. These projects are analyzed using the framework of Max-Neef’s fundamental needs to show how they simultaneously address functional and non-functional needs. For researchers, this study contributes to knowledge on design with and by marginalized people. For practitioners, this study helps to document the impact of humanitarian makerspaces by showing how design projects emerging from these spaces can address the needs of marginalized people.

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