Open design and manufacturing paradigms have been recently embraced for promoting technological appropriation as well as enablers for transforming traditional fabrication. In this panel we explore the role that these concepts can have in a post-industrial society.
With the popularization of the Web 2.0 paradigm, digital platforms have become cultural intermediaries in a growing technology mediation environment that has been framed by various scholars as "platform economy". This recent phenomenon has favored the establishment of different "black box" systems that impede us from discovering the inner workings of these new socio-technological brokers.
Different self-organized communities and grassroots initiatives have simultaneously appeared thanks to the Internet and the emergence of new makerspaces that have a subset of digital fabrication tools. These groups promote citizen empowerment through technological appropriation and rely on digital commons such as open designs, software and knowledge. In this sense, especially relevant has been the emergence of new discourses aligned with these non-proprietary technologies like open design and manufacturing, which are conceived to promote a radical change in the fabrication towards a more sustainable relationship between production processes and goods.
How can digital platforms be designed in order to facilitate encounters between people, things and environments within open design & manufacturing? How can we understand the impact of such digital platforms on society? In this panel we would like to invite authors to analyze the emergence of these phenomena and critically examine the opportunities, contradictions, challenges and tensions that this combination of new tools and mindsets bring for technological appropriation in a post-industrial society. We welcome submissions that can explore alternative paths for R&D systems and innovation policies but also for reconfiguring design and production processes.