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5 February 2018

Living Research 2018: call for makers and academics

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED: Seeking applications from makers and academics to investigate maker cultures in China during a two-week research trip in Chengdu and Xi’an!

Mitch Altman - Link:

The British Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council are looking for three makers and three academics based in the UK to take part in Living Research 2018. The aim of the programme is to uncover the local ecosystem of creative practitioners, academics, industrial design houses, makerspaces and technology hubs, and how the UK maker culture could meaningfully engage with them. Participants will collaborate with local makers and academics to gain a deeper understanding of the maker sector in each city.

Living Research 2015

The Living Research programme was developed by the British Council and AHRC to explore the differences between making cultures in the UK and China. The first research trip took place in Shenzhen and Shanghai. This project was marked by a blog series, dissemination events and fed into the development of the maker residency programme Hello Shenzhen.

Jo Ashbridge / Wang Qianqian - Link

Living Research 2018

The previous programmes uncovered the need for further collaborative, immersive and hands-on research in this area of the Chinese creative economy. For this new cycle the programme aims to expand the scope of the research and explore maker practices in cities with different development models and craft heritage.

The Living Research delegates will start their research in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province located in the southwest of China. Chengdu with a population of over 14 million, is China's fourth largest city and host to a vibrant creative industry of artists, designers, technologists and makers. The delegates will then spend the second week investigating the maker communities in Xi’an. Xi’an is the largest city in northwest China and was once the country’s capital. It has a rich cultural heritage, a growing maker scene and is host to a large scale Maker Faire event. 

Jo Ashbridge - Link

The programme will also provide the opportunity to apply for a follow-on grant to the academics interested in carrying on the research. Through cross-disciplinary research in Xi’an and Chengdu, the Living Research delegates will produce a series of outputs that will include blogs, reports as well as a map. This map, shared as open data, will highlight the relationships between the key actors and organisations engaged in the maker sector. 

Research trip schedule

Delegates will participate in a series of activities that will include:

●   Tour of spaces and organisations across Xi’an and Chengdu’s making sector

●   In-depth visits to a number of key organisations where participants will run a series of interviews

●   Network mapping session with local makers and academics to gain better understanding of the local ecosystem

●   Public-facing event in each city to meet and engage with the wider community

What support will the delegates receive?

The British Council and AHRC will cover travel, accommodation, visa and subsistence costs. This will be given in the form of a grant and participants will need to book their own travel arrangements with guidance from the British Council. Our delivery partner in China will provide translation and logistic support during visits and events.

Mitch Altman - Link:

What is expected of the participants?

  • To work collaboratively with the other participants and with the communities of makers in China
  • To take an active part in the schedule of visits and events and to contribute to the mapping activities of the maker ecosystem in Chengdu and Xi’an
  • To write at least two blog posts for British Council Creative Economy website and document their experience through photos/videos and social media platforms
  • Complete evaluation questionnaires
  • Share outcomes of the research trip in public facing events in the UK

To apply you need to:

  • Be over 18 and a resident of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland)
  • Be proactive and a self-starter
  • Demonstrate your interest in Chinese culture
  • Be an academic with an interest in one or several of the following subjects: design, craft, repair and making cultures, creative industries, grassroots organisations, collaborative practices and knowledge exchange hubs, open innovation, community development and enterprise 
  • Be a maker / creative practitioner looking to develop your practice

 If you’re not sure you fit these profiles do not hesitate to contact us!

Key Dates

  • Call for applications opens: 6 February 2018
  • Application Deadline: 26 February 2018
  • Living Research 2018 trip: 1 – 15 April 2018
  • Report, paper publications and public facing events: Spring and Summer 2018

What do we mean by ‘making'?

We’re talking about people who craft, design, manufacture, tinker with, engineer, fabricate, and repair physical things. Art, craft, electronics, textiles, products, robots. Hi-tech and low-tech, amateur and professional, young and old, with digital tools or by hand.

The deadline has now passsed. Successful applicants will be contacted by 6th March 2018.

The Living Research: Making in China programme is a partnership between the British Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

In China, the British Council has partnered with MakerNet to co-develop the project in Chengdu and Xi'an.