Melanie Swalwell, Maria B. Garda, David Murphy

We seek proposals for papers on user hacking and making with a range of analog and digital media/technologies in a variety of temporal and regional contexts. From model railroad clubs in North America to coffee shops in India, technologies are being repurposed and reimagined through an expanding set of practices which require coding and engineering knowledge that users are not supposed to have. And while the Maker Movement would like us to accept its rhetoric of rupture and discontinuity (Hatch 2014), current user practices are not without precedent, so we are interested in placing them into longer historical arcs. As such, we invite papers that explore aesthetic, social, cultural, policy/political, and legal etc aspects of user hacking and making, or parallel practices on the peripheral of the current discourse. Both contemporary and historical case studies are welcome, and dialogue between the past, present, and future is encouraged.

Possible research questions include:

What are the contemporary correlates of early digital hardware hacking?
How useful is it to identify certain platforms, e.g. Raspberry Pi, as the ‘spiritual successors’ to 1980s microcomputing practice? When does the analogy break down?
How ought the relation between hardware and software be conceptualised, when hacking is under discussion?
How do the motivations of different actors such as hackers, makers, crafters, etc compare and intersect? How should any tensions between these be understood?
To what extent are concerns about privacy motivating new levels of user (dis)engagement with creative computing?
What about DRM? Is it driving new levels of (dis)engagement, or greater interest in the open-source hardware movement?
How do user practices relate to ecological concerns, such as thrift, and the repair and fix-it movements?
Do practices differ by locale, and if so, how?
Do hacker and maker cultures intersect with game and meta game activities, and dark and light forms of play?
What new frontiers are being explored using the hacker and maker mindset? Where are the boundaries of the current discourse?

Abstracts will also be considered for an edited volume.

Please send up to 2500 character (max) abstracts with 3-5 supporting bibliographic references to by August 12, 2017.

It is our intention is to also run panels on this theme at future conferences, as below, so please be in touch if you would like to participate, or like to propose a chapter.

DiGRA — Turin, Italy, 25-28 July, 2018.

NECS — Amsterdam / Utrecht, The Netherlands, 27-29 June, 2018.

CEEGS 2018 — TBA.

SHOT 2018 — St. Louis, Missouri, 10-14 October, 2018.