Do-It-Yourself Technologies for Action and Empowerment: Stories, practice and perspectives.

Symposium 18th October.  Full programme and information



Chris Csíkszentmihályi is European Research Area Chair at Madeira Interactive Technology Institute, and is director of the the Rootio Project, a sociotechnical platform for community radio. He is consortium leader of the  H2020 project Grassroots Radio, launching highly connected community radio stations in Ireland, Romania, and Portugal.

Csíkszentmihályi cofounded and directed the Massachussets Institute of Technology’s  (MIT) Center for Civic Media (C4), which was dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities. He also founded the MIT Media Lab’s Computing Culture group, which worked to create unique media technologies for cultural and political applications. Trained as an artist, he has worked in the intersection of new technologies, media, and the arts for 16 years, lecturing, showing new media work, and presenting installations on five continents and one subcontinent. He was a 2005 Rockefeller New Media Fellow, and a 2007-2008 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and has also taught at the University of California at San Diego, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and at Turku University.

Adnan Hadzi, Digital Arts, University of Malta, is co-editing and producing the video book, exploring video as theory, reflecting upon networked video, as it profoundly re-shapes medial patterns (Youtube, citizen journalism, video surveillance etc.). A thorough multi-faceted critique of media images that takes up perspectives from practitioners, theoreticians, sociologists, programmers and artists, presenting a publication which reflects upon video theoretically. Adnan has been a regular at Deckspace Media Lab , for the last decade, a period over which he has developed his research at Goldsmiths, University of London, based on his work with Deptford.TV. It is a collaborative video editing service hosted in Deckspace’s racks, based on free and open source software, compiled into a unique suite of blog, film database and compositing tools. Adnan’s current documentary project focuses on his involvement in the media arts collective ! Mediengruppe Bitnik. A collective of contemporary artists working on and with the Internet. Bitnik’s practice expands from the digital to affect physical spaces, often intentionally applying loss of control to challenge established structures and mechanisms.

The ‘boattr – living on the cut’ installation (by Natascha Sturny & Adnan Hadzi) depicts the canals of the British Waterways as a digital urban commons, through the artists’ journey on the narrow boat ‘Quintessence’ and the development of the ‘boattr’ prototype in collaboration with MAZI. The photographic triptych, by Natascha Sturny, is showcasing canal life in combination with the boattr prototype by Adnan Hadzi. Experience the British Waterways through accessing boattr with your WiFi enabled device over the WiFi SSID ‘boattr’.


Denise Allan started Wee Replicators, a business and social enterprise in September 2015 after discovering a passion for making tools such as 3D printers accessible to non-designers. She felt empowered and excited by the potential of new technologies and wanted as many people as possible to have access to them. Since then it has grown into a successful enterprise, partnering with businesses and charities across Scotland. After witnessing incredibly interesting interactions between non-professionals and 3D printers, especially children she grew more intrigued and passionate about introducing children to 3D printing and similar technologies. In July 2016 she started a PhD which seeks to understand how making can be used to empower children and young people.

Denise was recently awarded the ‘Best innovation’ award and $10,000 in the Elsevier Grand 3D printing challenge for a paper she co-authored about producing 3D printer filament from ocean plastic that children collected on the beach.

Janis Lena Meissner is a doctoral trainee in Digital Civics at Open Lab, Newcastle University, and co-founder of, a group of intersectional feminists who aim to raise awareness of feminist issues in Human Computer Interaction. As maker technologies give individuals an opportunity to develop their own objects and tools, Janis is interested in exploring ways that these technologies can empower different marginalised communities. In her research she has collaborated with groups as diverse as urban knitters, quilting sex workers, makers with disabilities and older members of Men Shed interested in combining their woodworking skills with 3D-printing. Using a Participatory Action Research methodology and a portable makerspace for adapting tool(kit)s to the specific contexts of making, her aim is to develop a community-driven approach to Making. In her talk, she will focus on the Empowering Hacks project that enabled two novice makers with disabilities to produce assistive tools at a cheaper rate with customisable outcomes.

Jeremy Singer is a senior lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. His main research themes are Compilers and Runtimes for Programming Languages. He coordinates the Federated Raspberry Pi Micro-Infrastructure Testbed project (FRµIT) which aims to cluster together thousands of single-board computer nodes.

Elizabeth Wright is an artist and senior lecturer, 3D Pathway Leader on the BA Fine Art Course at CSM. Exhibiting work nationally and internationally since 1993, research on how value is attributed to artistic practices of the copy and copying informs her work. Speculating on how subtle shifts of empathic perception may occur through reproduction, she has been commissioned to make both temporary and permanently sited art projects with curators working in the public realm: Locus + and Commissions East; inter-disciplinary research centres, Tyndall Centre and the architectural practices, FAT and MUF. Recent exhibitions include: Atelier Amden, Amden, Switzerland; the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany and the Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, Spain. Since 2015 Elizabeth has been working with Louisa Minkin at Central Saint Martins to develop the Annihilation Project. Working with students, technical staff and other tutors they have been creating a flat learning platform lab to develop knowledge of 3D digital capture, scanning, modeling and output. (MAZI & Reverso)



The MAZI project is concluding at the end of 2018. To mark the occasion we are inviting you to join us as we celebrate our achievements, share our stories and the lessons we learned, and perhaps most importantly, to discuss what should happen next. The symposium will present case studies from our pilot studies in Berlin, Zurich, London and northern Greece, along with talks by invited speakers. Building on the context of our own MAZI experiences, we will broaden out the debate with perspectives from outside the project.

Where next? Future directions and challenges.

To end the symposium day, we will present a panel debate with speakers, titled: From Do-It-Yourself to Do-It-Together: Perspectives on the future use of community networking technologies for grassroots social impact.

Venue: Summerhall, The Dissection Room, 1 Summerhall, EDINBURGH, EH9 1PL


All events are free to attend.

Register for the one-day Symposium here

Register for Workshop 1 here

Register for Workshop 2 here

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