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Fostering creative citizens through co-design and public makerspaces

This project was a collaboration of two universities, Brunel University London and Tongji University, with support from various partners, e.g., The Glass-House Community Led Design. 

The aim was to develop a novel combination of 1) design interventions, 2) public makerspaces and 3) online design resources as a means of fostering creative citizens in China in an inclusive and bottom-up manner.

The rationale was that human capital increasingly became the most important asset of a country and experts argued that the key to sustainable economic growth of a city/country was an ability to attract, nurture and retain a creative workforce. One effective way of promoting and fostering creativity is to actively engage people in creative activities, such as co-design and hands-on making activities. The project was spread across three years (October 2018 – September 2021). 

In Year 1, the team focused on identifying good practices of creative communities and finding out key requirements regarding public makerspaces in China in order to create suitable strategies. The key findings were written up as short case studies. In Year 2 and 3, the team worked with Tongji DESIS Lab to turn their existing makerspace on Fushun Road Community Centre, Shanghai into a Community Creative Hub. The team also collaborated with Tongji DESIS Lab to create community co-design projects to introduce the co-design process to the local communities. The processes and outcomes of community projects have been extracted to develop suitable strategies and action plans for scaling up. The outcomes of the project are available via the links below.


List of Publications:

case study 1 1
case study 1 2
case study 1 3
2 case study
case study 21
case study 2 3a
case study 3 1
case study 3 2
case study 3 3
case study 4 1
case study 4 2
case study 5 2
case study 6 1
case study 5 3
case study 6 3
case study 7 1
case study 7 3

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Busayawan Lam
Dr Busayawan Lam - Dr Busayawan Lam is the Senior Tutor and Deputy Head of Brunel Design School (Teaching). She specialises in the areas of New Product Development (NPD) process, Innovation Strategy and Management, and Design Strategy. She was trained in Industrial Design at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and practiced as a product designer in a small-and-medium-sized exporter company in Thailand. She later obtained MSc Industrial Design at University of Salford and PhD Design Research at Brunel University London. She worked as a researcher at the National Metal and Materials Technology Centre (MTEC) Thailand. She has many years of experience studying user requirements, ascertaining design trends and recommending strategic design directions for a variety of organisations ranging from a domestic general hospital equipment producer to a global electronics company. Her current research interests include co-design, community-led design and social innovation. 

Related Research Group(s)


Digital Design Lab - User-centred research, innovation, consultancy and knowledge transfer aimed at design, development and evaluation of innovative digital and digital-physical systems, products, services and experiences.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 13/10/2023