Earlier this week, Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I held a preview event for Making Social Change, our Sociology + Making course, as part of FLC’s Social Justice Spring events. We decided to create some drop spindles and spin some yarn, based on an activity Erica Tyler (Anthropology) developed as part of last summer’s Making Across the Curriculum faculty professional development program.

We cut the whorls using the laser cutter (which has been christened “Danger Scissors”)…


Note the engraved design, inspired by Gandhi’s spinning wheel.  Diane cut the dowels using a good old-fashioned chop saw…


…after which she and Erica taught us how to turn wool into yarn.

Drop Spindling

We also walked students through some other digital fabrication techniques, using the same spinning wheel motif source file to create objects using the Carvey, vinyl cutter, and 3D printer.  Looking forward to helping bring this course to life in the fall!

As part of Social Justice Spring, Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I presented a preview of the Making Social Change course we’ve been working on.  Here’s a description of the session:

Making Social Change:  Seed Bombs & Scrambled Bratz (FLC Innovation Center)
Join us for an interactive preview of a new course that will explore the intersections of social movements, technology, tools, and the maker movement.  Come create, consider, collaborate, and culture jam!


Seed bombs…

Seed Bombs


and scrambled Bratz…



Presentation slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1SJTDnYs5oQglkyKP2CmsIKoqzbnU2IGkklahQrPKVB8/edit?usp=sharing

It is perhaps easier to understand how making applies to the STEM/STEAM disciplines than to disciplines like sociology.  In an effort to foster a Making Across the Curriculum ecosystem at the college, it’s important to find ways to empower faculty and students in every discipline with the tools and technologies, and perhaps more importantly the philosophy and ethos of the maker movement.  To that end, Diane Carlson (Professor of Sociology) and I have been working on developing a sociology course called “Making Social Change.”  Here’s a draft description:

Empowerment through the development of technological skills and access to tools is and will continue to be a significant issue in social justice work and social change.  In this interdisciplinary course, students will explore social change through movements, organizations, and groups and the ways those entities use, create, modify, and improve tools and technologies to support and drive change.  Students will analyze the contexts and tactics of these movements and synthesize their discoveries with hands-on experience using tools and technologies of the maker movement to develop projects designed to address social, environmental, and economic needs.

Below are artifacts of the two most recent brainstorming sessions:

Making Social Change - Round 1

Making Social Change - Round 2

Gandhi was a maker.

Gandhi was a maker
This photo of Gandhi is in the Public Domain.