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︎︎ Dr KitKat


Living Research China
British Council
London, UK
Chengdu & Xi’an, China
2018, 2019


Focus groups
Critical making
In 2018 and 2019, I joined a national delegation of maker-researchers exploring Chinese maker and craft ecosystems with the British Council Living Research project in China. We began fieldwork in the cities of Chengdu in the province of Sichuan and Xi'an in the Shaanxi province, investigating the local dynamics and possibilities of over 40 collective spaces for making, craft and design in both regions, from corporate design labs to open hardware factories and rural villages focused on maintaining intangible cultural heritage. Our first field study analysed the close relationship between maker cultures and national government policy, which positioned makerspaces and other sites of digital innovation as catalysts for economic transformation. In 2019, our research team was awarded a £15,000 grant from the British Council to return to Chengdu, where the socio-ecological model of the circular economy was being instituted through compulsory recycling laws for the first time, to explore how creative practitioners interpreted circularity in their daily lives. We found evidence of a rich legacy of informal approaches to sustainability, working  alongside makers, crafters, designers, businesses and government officials to envision new economic models that would invite creative participation.

“I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” - robin well kimmerer