Nuggets from NOLA #7

What do you MAKE?


No, I’m not referring to the too-often-repeated story of a rude dinner party guest asking a teacher, “what do you make?” I am referring to MAKING as in, creating, crafting, you know… MAKING!

RISD President Rosanne Somerson presented some exciting ideas about making in her session Critical Making: Making the Future, ideas about design learning… ideas, I’d wager, many of us haven’t really considered.

What do we, as artists, make, and what do we ask our students to make? Would this be different if we thought of our students as designers, rather than artists? I summarize the idea with this question:

Are you a Maker, or a consumer of Maker culture?

Rosanne compared those who make things with materials and content made widely available by maker culture, and those who make the maker culture. One example of the committed maker was one who used a 3D printer to create a loom on which the maker could create a weaving, when they could have used the 3D printer to make the weaving. Another was the practice of design students creating – not objects – but materials with which objects can be made.

What would happen if we took these approaches in our classrooms, if we rejected the latest convenient and sparkly new product from Crayola in favor of engaging our students in what it means to make?




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