Do-It-Yourself Empowerment as Experienced by Novice Makers with Disabilities

Janis Lena Meissner, John Vines, Janice McLaughlin, Thomas Nappey, Jekaterina Maksimova, Peter Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Recent HCI research has highlighted the potential afforded by maker technologies for supporting new forms of DIY Assistive Technology (DIY-AT) for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the popular discourse surrounding both the maker movement and disability is one of democratisation and empowerment. Despite this, critics argue that maker movement membership lacks diversity and that within DIY-AT, it is seldom the people with disabilities who are creating such designs. We conducted a qualitative study that explored how people with disabilities experience the empowering potential of making. We analysed online videos by makers with disabilities and conducted fieldwork at two makerspaces. These informed the design of DIY-Abilities, a series of workshops for people with disabilities in which participants could learn different maker technologies and complete their own maker project. Through analysis of participants' narratives we contribute a new perspective on the specific social and material capacities of accessible maker initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherACM Association for Computing Machinery
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781450349222
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017
Event2017 Conference on Design of Interactive Systems - Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jun 201714 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameDIS '17
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


Conference2017 Conference on Design of Interactive Systems
Abbreviated titleDIS2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • empowerment
  • disability
  • making
  • DIY


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