ReMaker Society (Research Group) 2016-2017

Working with colleagues across several departments and three faculties, Stephen Quilley led a series of research initiatives and funding applications, centred on the possibilities of a reMaker society. Initial research involved a series of Maker workshops (working with local Maker spaces, KWARTZLab, DIYODE and the Maker Club for Kids) as well as developing links with social psychologists at Wilfrid Laurier University. A CFI-funded Critical Media Prototyping Suite was developed.

In relation to the Metcalf grant ( this group was exploring issues of meaning and ontology in relation to art, fabrication, making and DIY and maintenance activity.  This work was framed in terms of ‘terror management theory’ and linked to WICI’s wider projects on the dynamics of ideological change and ‘alternatives to conventional economic growth’. It built also on a relation with Prof. Sheldon Solomon established in the wake of his WICI talk ‘Afraid of the Dark: Humanity at the Crossroads’; and connected with Sarah Wolfe’s agenda around water-related governance and behaviour. The intersection of the reMaker Society project with the issue of non-rational drivers also attracted some interest outside academia. Following Steve Quilley’s keynote presentation to the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (Nov 2013), CANSEE President (and senior OMNR Economist) Andreas Link connected with his Ph.D. student Katie Kish with a view to involving her in the organization in an official capacity and she now serves on the Executive Committee.  Link’s rationale was that CANSEE needed to engage with our work on participatory fabrication and meaning frameworks. In 2017 this activity resulted in a special issue of Alternatives on the reMaker society and a workshop and presentations for the CANSEE 2017 conference in Montreal. The focus of this work was the application of complexity systems perspectives to linked issues of: (i.) rapid and non-linear environmental-political change; (ii.) ontological transformation; (iii.) a state-space model of alternative political economies defined by the domains of market, state and livelihood/reciprocity; and (iv.) material-energy throughput.