We are very happy to announce that the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria (UVic) has received support from the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) for “The Makerspace for Desktop Fabrication and Physical Computing in the Humanities,” in partnership with the Department of English at UVic and the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington, with additional support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council / Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines. The British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund helps public post-secondary institutions, teaching hospitals and affiliated non-profit research agencies to invest in research infrastructure.
Across a period of three years, this BCKDF support will provide the Maker Lab with the foundational infrastructure to scan, model, fabricate, customize, network, and share three-dimensional (3D) objects across digital and analog environments. More specifically, the Maker Lab aims to: 1) foster a new research environment (at UVic) in humanities physical computing and desktop fabrication; 2) articulate and share best practices for digitizing, modelling, manufacturing, and networking 3D objects in humanities contexts; 3) develop easy-to-adopt workflows for digitally delivering cultural materials in 3D; 4) train highly qualified personnel for collaborative fabrication and physical computing research in non-STEM fields; 5) extend the field of digital humanities through fabrication and physical computing research; 6) blend aesthetic and cultural innovations with technical innovations; and 7) actively contribute to Canada’s digital economy by reducing waste and manufacturing costs, increasing awareness of new technologies, and deepening popular understanding of fair and ethical uses of 3D modelling, fabrication, and interactive physical systems.
The requested infrastructure will help the Maker Lab achieve this vision by: 1) providing it with essential equipment not currently available to humanities researchers at UVic, 2) augmenting and diversifying the Lab’s existing infrastructure, 3) attracting researchers in desktop fabrication and physical computing, 4) maintaining a humanities makerspace at UVic, 5) fostering maker culture and digital literacy, 6) breaking new ground in humanities lab practices, 7) growing the fabrication and physical computing industries, and 8) allowing the Lab to better engage and inform the public, while increasing its opportunities to publish and share its findings.
The Maker Lab would like to thank the Ministry of Advanced Education for taking the time to review our proposal. Thanks, too, to everyone at UVic and beyond who supported our BCKDF proposal, including Joaquin Trapero, Christine Humphries, Bill Turkel, Ray Siemens, Stephen Ross, Robert Miles, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Doug Jarvis, Janelle Jenstad, Richard Lane, Allan Mitchell, and Nicole Shukin. We’re looking forward to the next three years!