Conceptualizing the Maker

Empowering Personal Identity through the Act of Creative Appropriation

The following paper was the culmination of my masters of science thesis paper completed in May 2010 at Indiana University.


This research thesis attempts to define an existing subset of end users as makers. These makers bridge the gaps between technological gadgets, creative appropriation, and identity through their bricolage of hacking, crafting, online tutorials, and the materials and knowledge ready at hand. Further, in studying makers this thesis refers to the exploding online and offline culture of Steampunk as a case study.

The physical aesthetics of Steampunk-appropriated technology rebel against our always-connected-with-my-super-high-tech-homogenized-gadget culture by finding inspiration in the past. Specifically, the Victorian era, when industrialization did not mean homogenized yet.

What can the field of Human-computer Interaction learn from the Steampunk makers? What will you, as an interaction designer, do to empower and facilitate such personally identifiable creative acts?

What will you, as an interaction designer, do to make appropriation possible?

Presentation Poster (8.2MB PDF)

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