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Saturday, November 12, 2016

On 2:57 PM by Rachel Preston Prinz in , ,
My maker friend Meredith suggested that our team watch this talk from renown maker Leah Buechley, so that we could chat about diversity and make a plan to really engage girls in the Makerspace project we are working on together.

Today I finally had time to watch it, and I was really struck by what Leah had to say, especially the reality of who Makers are in today's world.

Today's Makers consist of:
  • 80% are males
  • 44 years average age
  • 97% have a college degree
  • 80% have some post-grad work as well
  • median income is $106,000 a year: a higher annual salary than 80% of US households and 96% of individuals
*Leah shares these metrics and who measured them in much greater detail in the video below.

This is great data from which to build a more sustinable, culturally-relevant platform for our upcoming project. 

But what most intrigued me was the way that Leah looked at "outsiders" - the "base" culture of can-do-it-ive-ness that has been cultivated by ALL people, including people of color and women - and realized that they too, are worthy of being recognized as Makers. She highlights the importance of people like Lady Ada Lovelace, who realized that knitting machines (looms) could be used for computation; and Grandmaster Flash, who realized that two turntables could be wired together and records could be played in new ways, thereby becoming the grandfather of rap as we know it today. She even highlighted some interesting New Mexico examples: the low-rider culture, which interestingly is being featured in an exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum RIGHT NOW, and of course, Acoma Pueblo pottery. 

I loved seeing a new perspective on who the audience is for Maker movement, and thinking about how we might make strides to make the Maker culture (which is being actively brought into our schools) more relevant for the diverse children we are trying to reach. 

Did this talk inspire you?
What will YOU do to make what you love to do more relevant for your community?
Share your thoughts with us!!


2015 Closing Plenary by Leah Buechley from The UTeach Institute on Vimeo.