Maker-Centric, Craftspace

Design work for Craftspace & Wolverhampton University. A group of people aged 50+ worked with artist Melanie Tomlinson at Soho House Museum during May and June 2016 to create a praxinoscope (an early form of animation device) on the theme of Utopia.⁣

Soho House was home to the Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton, and was also one of the regular meeting places for The Lunar Society, a leading Enlightenment group. They exchanged ideas, discussed philosophy and conducted experiments, aiming to bring science, culture and commerce together to imagine and enable a better future.⁣

Taking inspiration from Boulton and his colleagues, Maker-Centric drew on locality, heritage objects and memories from the past to stimulate thinking about future communities, both utopian and dystopian. Melanie and story-teller Gauri Raje helped the group create their own vision of a future society in urban Handsworth through story-telling and collaborative making.⁣

Participants worked together to produce the contemporary praxinoscope, using a combination of drawing, painting and metalwork. The group also had a session at Fablab Sandwell to make digital laser cut elements.⁣ Participants said they learnt about each other’s diverse cultures and social backgrounds which informed their perspectives on speculating about the future, reflecting on ‘whose utopia?’ ⁣

Maker-Centric is led by Deirdre Figueiredo, Director of Craftspace, and supported by Dr. Fiona Hackney, Professor of Fashion and Textile Theories at University of Wolverhampton, and Hannaa Hamdache, Creative Producer at Craftspace funded by the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries.⁣ The project was showcased at Somerset House in London at UTOPIA: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, a festival celebrating the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text. ⁣

The leaflet served to document the project. Illustrations throughout were created by participants of the Utopia workshops. It was litho printed metallic gold & fluo pink.