Philip Hector Design as continuous repair
Experimentation, negotiation, and expertise in DIY spaces


With the phenomenon of citizen engagement at alternative production and consumption spaces proliferating, this dissertation presents analysis from the perspectives of participatory design (PD) and science and technology studies (STS) to investigate how these spaces are established and sustained as infrastructures for a 'make, test, and repair' culture. Employing semi-structured interviews and participant observation with seven 'DIY spaces' this study asks 'what forms of design are enacted, and how do they support reproduction of the space and circulation of socio-material resources?' and 'how do these resources affect the negotiation of relevance and expertise at participant, collective, and institution level?'

The dissertation highlights the spaces' nature as emergent and relational infrastructures providing access to workshop equipment, knowledge, social meeting places, and ways of materially pursuing utopian ideals. The material engagements span a broad range, from products' adaptation for local settings to, for more invested practitioners, means of collective organising such as negotiation of decision-making tools and responsibilities. While most are far from radical, the engagements are shown to be demonstrations that things might be otherwise – a form of ongoing, immediate future-making. Be they products, guidelines, or visualisations, these demonstrations further matter for stabilising experimental sites that, being in 'constant beta mode', mirror on organisation level the DIY ethos present at the level of the individual.

Read the doctoral thesis here

€0.00 / pcs

Page count

Product added to cart