Article: Making Things to Make Sense of Things: DIY as Research and Practice

I have a new chapter about the project coming out soon. Making Things to Make Sense of Things: DIY as Research and Practice
In Sayers, J. (ed) The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities 

Abstract: This chapter is about making as research or, more specifically, making things to make sense of things. I draw on a mixed method project about the cycling boom of the late nineteenth century, gender relations, and radical feminist cultures of invention. The 1890s were a remarkable period of socio-technical change. Here, the history of Victorian women’s inventiveness is rendered visible in the form of design patents for new types of cycle wear, specifically ‘convertible’ costumes that enabled the wearer to transform street wear to cycle wear when required. As a tactic for making sense of the complexity of these designs, I collaborated with an interdisciplinary research team – pattern cutter, weaver, and artist – to sew a collection of convertible cycle wear inspired by these patents. Taking a DiY (Do-It-Yourself) ethic as both a central theme in the research and my practice, I discuss what emerges in this process of learning from doing, rendering public the mess, mistakes, and tangential happenings and how making and entangling through design histories surfaces new and different ways of exploring mobilities, gender relations, and inventive practice.

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