A quiet revolution has been underway in material production, in agriculture, construction and manufacturing. A global design commons now provides people with opportunities to draw on a global legacy of human creativity. New technologies allow people to produce locally what was previously only possible by large companies.

There is an emerging body of ideas and practices around distributed manufacturing / production. P2P Foundation researchers recently articulated the “design global – manufacture local” (DGML) model. Last year I followed up with this essay for the P2P Foundation on “cosmo-localization“. Meanwhile Fab City launched its initiative to drive localized city based open design production. New communities like Farm HackL’Atelier Paysans and enterprises like OSvehicle are making practical strides.

To explore this further, I am organising an event in Melbourne, Australia, that will bring together experts in the areas of additive manufacturing, industrial design, the maker movement, and ecological economics. Together we will explore the emerging outline of this new economic model. Join us if you would like to find out what this revolution means for industry, for government policy and for society. You may discover opportunities to connect with the people driving and playing in this emerging space.

DATE AND TIME: Fri, May 12, 2017, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM AES

LOCATION: Kelvin Club, 14-30 Melbourne Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia

  • Five speakers will present, each for 10 minutes (descriptions below).
  • This will be followed by a Q&A for any guests to ask questions.
  • Food and drink can be ordered from the Kelvin Club before, during or after the event.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite – Book Now

Symposium Presenters and Topics 

Sharon Ede will present on Fab City, an example of ‘Design Global Manufacture Local’ based in Barcelona, which seeks to leverage the digital and traditional production infrastructure of Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories) and open source design to help bring production and making skills back to cities. Barcelona, Paris, Boston, Detroit, Santiago, San Francisco and Shenzhen are among the cities which have taken a pledge to relocalise 50% of their production of energy, food and manufacturing by 2054.

Rob Eales will discuss his current work including, developing tools for small acre and organic farmers, the farm hack model as a way to drive the development of new tools, the opportunities in the development of better internet access for Victorian rural and regional communities, the OSVehicle project and what it could mean for local production, the drivers and opportunities for his practice and current issues that exist for these approaches including scaling up or across, the funding and documenting of Open Source Hardware (OSHW) projects and R&D in the context of these projects.

Dr. Mark Richardson will discuss four core principles that tie together his practice-based design research – openness, modularity, design for reuse and making. He is interested in how tangible expressions of these help create the narratives that shift culture, inspire systems renewal, develop communities of practice and provide new and optimistic senses of self, space and place.

Alison Kershaw will talk about how makerspaces are places of opportunity and possibility. As local and global economies change makerspaces are going to play a vital part in providing low cost, low risk and supported access to new technologies and communities of people wanting to create, learn, share, solve both local and global problems. Current policy and thinking regarding makerspaces is short sighted. It predominantly focuses on makerspaces in educational institutions, to the exclusion of community makerspaces, which are more than educational but communities of makers exploring new ways of working, doing business and creating value.

Dr. Jose Ramos will talk about the transition to a design global, manufacture local approach to production, what he calls “cosmo-localization”. This shift includes a number of critical elements: the human right to produce from global designs, the elaboration of a circular economy to complement industrial micro-clusters, a “partner state” model where government will support both localized manufacturing, peer production communities and makerspaces, the development of anchor organizations that protect the design commons, and entrepreneurial coalitions capable of scaling production from niche to market.


Sharon Ede

Sharon Ede is an urbanist and activist working to build the sharing and collaborative movement in Adelaide, Australia and beyond. In 2012, she set up Share Adelaide to document and inspire local sharing activity. In her public servant role, she initiated and collaborated on a project that maps community sharing assets, which was funded and open sourced by the State government.Sharon is a co founder of the Post Growth Institute and a catalyst for the FabCity Global Initiative.

Rob Eales

Rob Eales is an Industrial Designer working with Open Source Hardware and Software as a way to explore new approaches and methods for the development of products and services that seek to address critical societal issues such as climate change. He is interested in how the development and distribution of open source products could redefine the work that communities do and where they do it. Recently he has been working with small-acre, organic farmers to develop new tools, organising farm hack events and discussing the possibilities of open source vehicle design with his network.

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is formally a senior designer at Ford Motor Company, he was involved in both conceptual and global manufacturing projects, such as the R7 show car, Territory, European Mondeo and Asia Pacific Fiesta. Mark now lectures in Industrial Design at Monash University, having completed a PhD seeking evidence to support the advance of ecologically and socially sustainable mobility systems through hands-on practices of making. His research now investigates how we can transition from current design and production methods to more sustainable, resilient and accessible systems of creating, making, sharing and learning.

Alison Kershaw

Alison Kershaw likes to work at the edges and at the beginning of things. She relishes collaborating and working with others to find solutions to problems and making great things happen. Alison loves the interface of community development activities and technology to build inclusion, participation and change. Alison is happiest when she is brining ideas to life. Alison has produced large scale events, directed plays, set up an accessible internet café, designed and implemented policies and currently facilitates community development and engagement initiatives. Alison is the founding Chair of the volunteer not for profit SA Makers Inc, which promotes makers and making in South Australia. SA Makers manages Fab Lab Adelaide and produces Maker Faire Adelaide.

Jose Ramos

Jose Ramos is director of Action Foresight, a Melbourne-based business that focuses on bridging transformational futures with present-day action. He has taught foresight, public policy and social innovation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Sunshine Coast and Victoria University. He is senior consulting editor for the Journal of Future Studies, and has over 50 publications spanning economic, cultural and political change. He is an honorary fellow at the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing in Melbourne.

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