This thesis is a US-based case study that analyses the evolution of a university academic
library makerspace service supporting experiential maker-learning. Tensions and
contradictions are analysed around cross-disciplinary needs, and the developing pragmatics
of practice to support inclusive, sustainable maker-learning. The research goal was to address
the twin concerns of understanding the nature of the learning occurring and to critically
appraise the particular learning affordances the library service offers in this context. Data was
obtained from students and academics across disciplines and professional staff in the research
contexts of maker-learning occurring in lessons, training, and free activity in the makerspace.
Critical understanding was achieved through an engagement with key educational concepts
relevant to maker-learning (e.g., ZPD: Zone of Proximal Development, Vygotsky, 1978) in a
Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT, Engeström,1987) framework. The key findings
include a new understanding of how maker-learning occurs through social interaction,
scaffolded support from academics and professional staff, individual cultural interests and
embodied curiosity (Radman, 2013) in the material affordances of new and older
technologies. For academic library services interested in creating a more inclusive,
sustainable, and genuinely cross-faculty makerspace service, the importance of developing a
shared ‘common knowledge’ (Edwards, 2017) between academics, professional staff and
students is observed. The potential value of critical maker-learning for all disciplines, is
argued for as a key educational tool for this and other academic library makerspaces. Lastly,
to support this argument, I propose and explain my original cross-disciplinary maker-learning
concept of ‘Critical Material Awareness’ as a theoretical model for maker-learning design in
HE, developed from Matt Ratto’s (2014) concept of ‘Critical Making’.
Permanent link to this resource: https://doi.org/10.24384/8j5h-pk19
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School of EducationFaculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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