My aim for my Design Enterprise Dissertation is to use enterprise to facilitate social empowerment through making.


This week I need to decide on my final concept for my dissertation on Design in Enterprise – and so I’ve decided to write about what I already know about my aims for the module.

I began by listing my desired outcomes from writing my dissertation

  • Meet people and groups who’ve done interesting/ inspiring things, embracing the incredible creativity I’ve discovered in Scotland
  • Learn more about the fascinating link between making and social empowerment
  • Give something back – to get my name noticed as someone who has contributed to our creative community and the world of social enterprise. 


Success Through Doing

The main thing I learnt at MAKLab is success comes through doing things. This was also the recurring theme of our introduction to Design Enterprise last Friday – our tutor told us that when we are marked on our research it will be on how much we’ve done and achieved to through our research, for example running trial workshops, and how we reflect on that. I want to spend my time writing my dissertation doing things, getting out there and meeting and working with people.

I want to have an impact

Something I’m very aware of is that I want to have an impact through the research that I do through this module. This may mean that I don’t, in fact, design a hypothetical social enterprise but perhaps a guide to starting a social enterprise or a study of social enterprise that people can actually use. It could also mean that I do my project on a live social enterprise.

Mentor Session no. 1

Going into my first mentor session on Wednesday, I tried to define very clearly to myself what my aims were and also what my options were for writing my dissertation.

While introducing myself to the group, I explained my passion for Social Enterprise. I explained that I spent my summer working for both MAKLab Glasgow and Skill Share Dundee and also travelling in the Faroe Islands and learning about communities and community makers.

I presented four possible projects to my mentor group:

  • Skill Share Orkney – sharing Orkney’s culture and empowering it’s community through sharing traditional crafts
  • Redesign Skill Share Dundee – redesign Skill Share’s current charity model to one following and learning from the many inspiring social enterprises around Scotland
  • A Guide for Social Enterprise – to make something useful to new social enterprises combining the experiences of the inspiring groups around me
  • MAKLab Dundee – Looking at how MAKLab Dundee will grow and how it fits into Dundee’s thriving creative scene

The feedback from my group was unanimous – MAKLab Dundee was a live project and I’d be able to contribute to something real. My tutor explained that doing this as my dissertation could really help to bring together all that I’ve worked on over the summer and that it would also be a very interesting topic to learn about as it is very much about the future of Dundee.


After presenting my aims and options for my design enterprise dissertation to my mentor group, the feedback was unanimous – The offer of me doing a live project on MAKLab moving to Dundee was definitely the most exciting and also really continues what I’d been interested in during the summer.

This talk was given by MAKLab’s director Richard Clifford at Creative Dundee’s Pecha Kucha night in November last year. It was during this talk that he introduced the concept of MAKLab Dundee to its citizens. He explained that there is the possibility to open two spaces in Dundee, one a simple space in Dundee Central Library (which will be opening in the next few weeks) and the other a huge space in one of Dundee’s old industrial buildings that would also bring together and provide a home to many creative Dundee groups.

I have begun researching this in the last few days and I have discovered that there are interesting issues around MAKLab opening a space in Dundee because it is, of course, run from Glasgow. Dundee has this incredible thriving creative community, supported through fantastic groups such as Creative Dundee, that has very much grown out of the city, yet MAKLab would be coming in without that inherent integration in the community.

This topic would allow me to really explore how Dundee’s creative scene works and how to best support it from the point of view of a group who are in a very good position to actually make things happen.

MAKLab Logo Large


I think that my research will be all about perceptions: the perceptions of the small groups in Dundee towards MAKLab and also the perceptions of the less fortunate communities of Dundee towards the creative scene in the city.

Through talking to Dundee MakerSpace’s Grant Richmond I’ve been thinking about the contrast between groups which form organically from a place (such as FABLabs) and groups which expand into different locations. How can MAKLab still learn about Dundee and fit into (and add to) its creative community? Through doing this project I can be involved in MAKLab Dundee Library’s trial phase during which they’ll try to discover this.

The project would also provide me with the possibility to think about the duality within Dundee. The community students like myself typically come in contact with: rich, knowledge based, forwards thinking; and the other half: the 42 thousand people almost living in deprivation. What will MAKLab do to benefit this group?

Things to Think About

What’s the scope of my project? I only really have three months to do write my dissertation – with three weeks at the end to compile everything together and print it. What can I hope to explore in this short time?

How Will I do it? – How can I continue the model of doing then analysing as a platform for developing ideas throughout this project?

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