Alaska FABLAB

Laser etching on elk antler from a temporary Fab Lab at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks, AK, October, 2010

Laser etching on elk antler from a temporary Fab Lab at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks, AK, October, 2010

The research focuses on the intersection and interaction of Western and indigenous American perspectives on implementation of science and technology. It will inquire into how Alaska Native ways of knowing and perspectives on science and technology refract a technology bundle designed according to Western logic. It will by extension explore how implementation of this technology according to Native Alaskan/Western perspectives impacts the local community. The project will utilize the creative skills and knowledge of Togiak residents to guide planning for implementation of the Fab Lab and in so doing provide additional opportunities for local community members. Togiak leaders face a number of challenges as they strive to increase benefits to low-income residents, to foster growth and job creation, provide educational and vocational opportunities to local youth, and to ensure the sustainability of isolated rural communities that are threatened by out migration, high fuel costs and limited connections with other communities due to geographical isolation. The project team sees the Fab Lab as an opportunity to provide new opportunities to residents as well as address questions concerning digital divides and cultural approaches to appropriating science and technology.

For more information, contact Alan Craig (acraig@ncsa.uiuc.edu)