The 20th century was defined by consumption. Production left the household and became concentrated in distant factories, a throwaway culture took hold that did away with notions of mending and fixing objects, and our identity came to be shaped not just by what we did but by what we bought.
Our belief is that the 21st century can and should be different. Thanks to the advent of new technologies, it is increasingly feasible for individuals to play a part in creating objects they once only consumed, and for communities as a whole to develop more localised models of manufacturing.
The good news is that as a nation we yearn to consume less and make more. Our recent poll with YouGov found that 78 percent of people think our society is too materialistic, and that 57 percent would like to learn how to make more things which they are their families could use.
The question is whether and how these attitudes can be turned into real world behaviours. What are the skills, tools and resources that people need to become makers? Can the maker movement encompass all sections of society? And is redistributed manufacturing economically feasible?
The Making and Manufacturing project seeks to answer these and other questions.
Our latest report – Ours to Master – tries to make sense of the growing number of makerspaces – why they are emerging, what impact they are having on their users and communities, and what challenges they are likely to face in the future.