The Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant received in November 2016 has helped tremendously to amplify groundwork on the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform and the AMP spacecraft. It freed us from immediate constraints and enabled us to:
Upgrade the Spacecraft in Agbogbloshie
Prototype a new roof system
Devise of an action plan for the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform mobile application
And advance plans to introduce AMP at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism— Shipping a second prototype #MadeinAgbogbloshie of the Spacecraft and showcase grassroots makers’ production while interacting with local grassroots makers, all of this as an attempt to link and strenghten different communities of makers around the globe.
The last months’ production, including the conversation with the Public Interest Design community met in Portland (AMP won the SEED Award 2017), are ground work to our next phase of AMP, which is to prototype a sustainable and viable business model so the Spacecraft operates in autonomous manner in a variety of grassroots communities.
Today Agbogbloshie scrap dealers, together with Ashesi University students from Kobby Ankomah-Graham‘s seminar, helped Belgian-Beninese artist Fabrice Monteiro and Senegalese designer Doulsy scout locations for their Prophecy II photo series. The Prophecy I series probed the issue of environmental pollution by evoking spirits of the earth, dispatched to either plead or warn humans to change our ways lest we kill our mother planet. Per panel discussion with Fabrice at Ashesi, the Prophecy II series will be a diptych contrasting the needless excess of planned obsolescence against the devastating human and environmental destruction used to extract the resources from which our electronic devices are produced out of the earth.
It was noticeable and community members confirmed that you now see only smaller stockpiles of circuit boards and plastic monitor cases, for example, because buyers are more consistent and frequent. What AMP affirms about Fabrice’s project is that it is creating a space—mythical but real at the same time—reminding us all to take action now, before its too late to save this planet.
Fabrice testing frames and Doulsy smiling upon a scrap dealer’s reveal of treasure trove of VHS cassette tapes (part of the costume design):
Download from a selection of 3E-Manuals (Electrical & Electronic Equipment) here below. You can also do a keyword search using the search bar or browse the cloud of tags. Enjoy making and let us know any edits to amplify this initial work. We look forward to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org!
(A long-term goal of the AMP digital platform ~qampnet~ is to digitize material reality and better position automation to assist with ambiance creation. A first step is to help make people aware of what is inside their devices and equipment.)
In January 2016 AMP ran a one-week #ampqamp with students from Princeton University’s PACE Center for Civic Engagement focused on making short health & safety videos for the Agbogbloshie scrap dealers community, narrated in Dagbani.
This group of students, led by Ellie Sell ’17 and Christie Jiang ’17, opted not only to volunteer collaborating on the AMP project as a form of ‘alternative spring break’, but also to spend months prior planning their trip and conducting research around issues of health and safety related to unregulated e-waste processing plus weeks after their visit to Ghana editing and producing the videos. (They blogged about it here.)
Watch the Youtube playlist of videos they produced below. For more on how this connects to the full AMP project, check out this Q&A with the Princeton PACE Center. A huge thank you to the whole team from all of AMP!
The AMP makers collective has run over 35 workshops to date around the theme of transforming the Agbogbloshie scrap and recycling ecosystem into a network for distributed manufacturing and digital fabrication.
Here is a list of the main events held as part of the AMP series of informal maker workshops to build the future of Agbogbloshie:
#ampqamp 2015—building on student work around storyboarding in the latest M&D cycle—centered on codesign of the AMP app through a participatory design process involving Agbogbloshie scrap dealers, #STEAM students and recent graduates from Ghana, Senegal/Mali, Estonia, Russia, France and USA through collaboration between AMP, Bazaar Strategies and The Cobalt Partners with support from the Fetzer Institute.
The product life cycles of electrical appliances and electronic devices impact society and the environment, given the hazardous portion present in their materials flow. Scrapping as an industry serves to decommission end-of-life (EOL) equipment, linking materials processing and recovery activities with recycling, but must be controlled against adverse environmental and human health safety factors. This work tracks an on-going effort-the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP)-to use participatory design methods to upgrade capabilities of the scrap, recycling and maker community located at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana through co-creation of technology. The authors explain AMP’s aim to reconceptualize Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE or e-waste) as Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE or 3E): not as waste, but as inter-manipulable assemblages of 3E-materials. AMP seeks to employ a hands-on Makers and Development approach (M&D) as a collaborative process to drive interclass innovation by co-designing and fabricating a makerspace, or open community workshop and lab, and networking e-waste and scrap recyclers starting at Agbogbloshie with students and recent graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics or STEAM fields. The investigation at Agbogbloshie over a period of 24 months suggests opportunities for utilizing participatory design to leverage waste management and 3E-materials processing across informal sector recycling ecosystems as inputs for popular prototyping, i.e. peer-to-peer digital fabrication and distributed manufacturing.