The Well-Maker-Space

Plymouth College of Art in association with the Community21, University of Brighton and University of Wolverhampton. Co-convened by Nick Gant, co-founder of, and Fiona Hackney, AHRC-funded CARE: Co-producing Community-based Assets, Research & Enterprise, University of Wolverhampton.

By correlating research from across the Making Futures Community we hope to share new knowledge and insights and build new understandings of how ‘making-well and well-making’ may provide explicit activities that are devised, owned, championed and offered by modern makers in support of health and well-being.


Context, provocation and research questions:

Global economic and social structures creak and groan under the burden of ever increasing demand for social services in times of austerity – so can the maker community and maker spaces come to the rescue? Making is good for us – right!? If so what now for modern maker-spaces in this context? There has long since been an implicit, tacit notion that making provides benefits beyond the mere function of object, artefact or product creation. However recent research has helped catalyse a demand and opportunity to develop understanding of this idea and provide a more rigorous and explicit evidence base for how making practices support health and well-being in different number of ways. The ‘Maker Community’ is on the rise with much research evidencing the apparent growth of communal making and making places. So could it be that the maker movement could actively and more explicitly support the health of the communities? What processes and methods might be developed or enhanced to amplify their value to health and well-being? Could maker-spaces be prescribed as sub-medical provision to communities and people with a range of needs? What do we mean by making-well and well-making? Perhaps it is a twofold process that firstly reflects on making affect through a process of creative-critical (reflexive) making? It may take makers on a journey of personal reflectiveness that moves from (and through) affectual making to a cognate understanding of its cultural value for health and well-being? 



This workshop aims to bring together international perspectives on the role of the maker community, maker-spaces and making-methods in relation to promoting well-being and supporting mental health in diverse communities. The workshop will consist of applicant’s paper presentations that respond to the 'well-making' theme as well as collaborative design activities over the course of the conference.



  • To engage with critical, rigorous research that presents diverse perspectives on ‘making well and well-making’
  • To foster the development of a community of ‘well-makers’ and ‘well-making’ researchers in support of the enhancement of new knowledge and practice in the areas of ‘well-making and making-well’.
  • To prototype the ‘Well-Maker-Space’ as a vision for modern provision of healthier communities within a distributed network of makers.



The workshop invites papers responding to themes that include (not exhaustive); diverse studies on making for well-being, mental and physical health, case-studies of maker-spaces that directly engage with health issues, well-making methods and practices and the tools and processes of ‘making-well and well-making’.

During the workshop, peer reviewed papers will be presented by authors that present diverse perspectives on the theme of ‘well-making and making-well’.

Outside of the formal peer reviewed presentations periods, the workshop community will converge to discuss what we mean by ‘Making-Well and Well-Making’ and to create a prototype vision of the ‘Well-Maker-Space’. Participants will co-produce physical representations of a ‘well-making method’ in the workshop space. We aim to specify the ‘Well-Maker-Space’ through collective knowledge and collaboration. Participants will be asked to use cardboard and markers to model an object, artefact, process or machine that might be deployed in the ‘Well-Maker-Space’. This prototype will be represented and form part of the published outputs from the event.

The workshop will be chaired by Nick Gant (Community21 and University of Brighton and Professor Fiona Hackney (CARE Co-producing Community-based Assets, Research & Enterprise and University of Wolverhampton). Both have been developing research into the role of making and maker-spaces for healthier places with a range of partners and collaborating communities of practice.