STS Italian 2014 – Break-it, hack-it, make-it: the ‘Hack-a-Thing’ workshop series as a showcase for the integration of creative thinking processes into FabLab Genk

FabLabs are mostly known for their problem-solving approach since they allow people to develop and perfect a prototype of ‘almost any product’, using the available infrastructure, facilities and knowhow (Mandavilli, 2006). Since 2012, FabLab Genk too has become a hotbed for problem-solving activities. FabLab Genk is situated in a creative context and is used by many media, arts and design students, researchers, designers and artists, for creating a wide variety of physical objects that they could otherwise only imagine. However, we noticed that the creative thinking processes that occur before the actual problem-solving do not take place within the environment of FabLab Genk. As a way of including these creative thinking processes into its environment, FabLab Genk organised a series of workshops called ‘Hack-a-Thing’. This paper shows how ‘Hack-a-Thing’ proved to be a setup that facilitates new ways of learning and creative thinking in the environment of FabLab Genk. First, this paper illustrates that the ‘Hack-a-Thing’ workshop series allowed FabLab Genk to become an environment that fosters a new, more informal and creative form of learning. Second, this paper shows how ‘Hack-a-Thing’ stimulated a more creative way of using and thinking, particularly about alternative relationships with technological objects.

Authors: Dreessen, K., Schepers, S., Leen, D., Luyten, K., De Weyer, T.