Faith Ringgold - The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles (1991) (Read more)

“Makers and Quilters: Investigating Opportunities for Improving Gender-Imbalanced Maker Groups”

is a first-authored research paper accepted for publication in the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Conference (acceptance rate ~30%, a top venue for HCI publication). 

Download the paper here (PDF, 9.9MB).

Abstract: Recent efforts to diversify participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) activities through informal learning environments, such as hackathons and makerspaces, confirm a real desire for inclusion among potential female participants. However, understanding factors that may contribute to longer-term, sustainable diversification of such groups remains a challenge. In this paper, we present the results of a mixed-methods study of two microcosms of making: game development, and quilting. Our findings reveal parallel structures within these groups despite being highly skewed towards male or female participation, respectively. Our results shed light on attitudes, behaviours, and experiences indicating that similar desires for wider community support among other factors exist in both groups, but these needs are not satisfied in the STEM context. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings as opportunities for rethinking how we design the environments that are meant to support design itself, considering the role of technology in these spaces, and prioritizing nurturing the development of the maker community beyond the maker space.

Publication date: November 2019