This blog is written by Irene Maldini, embedded researcher of VU Amsterdam University and Waag Society:
Already in 2007 Waag Society established the first Dutch Fablab in Amsterdam. Right now, there are around 150 of these workplaces worldwide, of which 9 are settled in the Netherlands. Fablabs provide the tools necessary for open and participatory design, self-manufacturing, digital production and prototyping.
Within the research project ‘Object-user relationships in open design dynamics’, a collaboration between VU and Waag Society, I examined the characteristics of the Fablab community. During November 2012, around 200 members of the FabLab community provided information about their use of FabLab Amsterdam in the Waag through an online survey.
The users of Fablab Amsterdam appear to be mainly young adults. Interestingly, there’s a high percentage of females involved, considering the technical context: 42%. Most of the respondents have been occasional visitors whom have used the lab during an Open day (every Tuesday and Thursday) to work on a specific project. Almost 40% visited the lab more than 3 times though. The data collected in this survey indicates that the users of the FabLab Amsterdam are mostly creative professionals interested in experimenting with digital fabrication. The lab is providing innovation support for these users in a number of ways: encouraging hands-on learning and experimenting, keeping examples of previous experiences to show to other users, facilitating connections with other relevant members of the local and international FabLab community and supervising the whole creative process if necessary, including the creation of blueprints.
Download the report
The survey report is available for downloading here. Download the appendices here. This survey is the first, exploratory phase of a broader research project. For more information about this research access the project blog.