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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Kat Braybrooke

Visiting Researcher
Re-imagining the economies of technologically-mediated spaces, practices and processes


  • Re-imagining social infrastructures (from museums to housing projects to schools) through hacking, making and peer production processes
  • Using ethnographic and action research approaches to collaborate with local producers who are building a more circular economy in the Global North and South
  • Examining the global power-geometries (Massey) of mobility, agency and access that negotiate our relationships with our built and natural environments


Kat Braybrooke is a PhD candidate on scholarship from the University of Sussex Digital Humanities Lab in the U.K., where she is about to submit her thesis. For this project, she undertook an action research ethnography of the institutionalisation of once-grassroots hacker- and makerspaces within public museums in London like Tate and the British Museum, examining how the digitally-mediated spatiality of these sites affected institutional power relations. She worked in particular from a framework that conceptualised the production of co-creational spaces themselves as a form of power.

Kat also has long-standing expertise in projects that enable greater digital access for marginalised groups through peer production. She has worked as a community design practitioner for social justice and open technology organisations in Canada and the U.K. like the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation and the Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue for the past decade, and received a MSc Digital Anthropology (Distinction) from University College London in 2011 for an ethnography of gender subjectivities and power relations amongst female hackers in Europe.

Kat’s next phase of research aims to build on this work by exploring the potential of digital transformations that address climate change in nations of the Global South, in particular India and China. She will return to China as a delegate of the British Council in the summer of 2019 to explore how local maker communities in Chengdu are engaging in circular economy practices that re-imagine consumption and production. By collaborating with, and learning from, the interdisciplinary environment of IRI THESys and its researchers, where she is hosted by Dr. Timothy Moss, Kat looks forward to enriching and broadening these perspectives.

Selected Publications

Braybrooke, K & Smith, A (eds) 2018, Special Issue 12: Makerspaces and Institutions, Journal of Peer Production.

Braybrooke, K (forthcoming), ‘’Placeless’ making? Reframing the power-geometries of digital platforms in China through tactical co-creation’, Critical Makers Reader, Institute of Network Cultures.

Braybrooke, K 2018, ‘Hacking the museum? Practices and power geometries at collections makerspaces in London’, Journal of Peer Production no. 12, pp. 40-59.

Braybrooke, K & Jordan, T 2017, ‘Genealogy, culture and technomyth: Decolonizing Western information technologies, from Open Source to the maker movement,’ Digital Culture & Society vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 25-46, DOI 10.14361/dcs-2017-010.

Braybrooke, K & Flint, J & Murphy, I 2018, ‘China: Making as national transformation?’, British Council Creative Economy.


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