Technology networks for socially useful production: Shared Machine Shops

Journal Article

Abstract

Though largely forgotten now, Technology Networks were community-based prototyping workshops supported by the Greater London Council from 1983 until 1986. They emerged out of a movement for socially useful production. Recalling the radical roots and conflicted experiences of the workshops brings to the fore issues still relevant today: tensions between prototyping activities for business development as distinct from more critical technological agit prop for political mobilisation; working at equitable relations between codified, formal expertise versus tacit, experiential skills; and the influences of broader political and economic changes and wider movements for alternatives. After careful historical contextualisation, lessons are drawn for workshops today, but which will inevitably play out differently, hopefully after learning from the past.