PDP on writing Dissertation

In the beginning the exact nature of my dissertation was not clear for some time. I took quite a while in deciding exactly what it was that I wanted to write about. This was a pitfall that would hinder me several times along my journey. It seems to have made me to resolve to ‘Just go with the first idea’ in the future. At least in the initial instance, as it gets you writing, as I found it was all to easy to get stuck in the thinking zone. I read a lot to begin with and filled the best part of a Moleskine notebook stuffed with notes and ideas, I built up a large collection of files of notes on google docs. I enjoyed the reading and the research, at times I would become very engrossed in my reading, but not really forming a critical analysis of what I had read. The problem I suppose was getting pen onto paper, and forming the ideas into constructive, critical and cohesive arguments. Needless to say I got little written in my first term, and did rather badly in my formative assessment.

I originally decided that I wanted to make an artifact for my dissertation, but found that as I neared the Christmas holiday I found myself increasingly unable to settle on what exactly I was going to make. This is a shame because now, with hindsight, I realize I could have produced a really interesting artifact using rapid prototyping. I feel this because the writing of my academic paper made me realize the subjects I am interested in, such as Rapid Prototyping and the maker movement ethos, are so current and exciting that it would have been fantastic to produce a piece of work that was part of it.Some of the ideas and note taking I gathered whilst thinking about that are collected below:

  • The digital craftsman: Algorithm meets the material.
  • Define what you mean by craft
  • – what differentiates craft from fine art or design ( could draw on ideas from first year archetypes brief)
  • The applications of digital media in the craft world
  • does the digital craftsman exist? What do they look like? how can their work be described/ categorized
  • – organic matter being created from digital algorithm
  • will this give rise to naturalistic undefinable forms? an emergence of mode of new sculpture?
  • Theory of Sculpture matters, this needs researching…
  • – Mike Hansmeyer – using fractural(?) geometries to apply an algorithm to organic architectural design – making a physical object from a computer


– Michael Eden – transforming the organic process of ceramic into a digital form

– Geoffrey Mann – flight of the moth – transforming movement (organic nature body time motion) into physical object using digital techniques.

Process of making:

Algorithmic design – grasshopper- others?

above. grasshopper definitions

  • you have a 3d print – very complex – direct cast in bronze?
  • Laser cut- layers approach to large complex object like Hansmeyer…..
  • Future 3d printers or laser cutters we are able to work in a whole range of materials – ceramic (examples)
  • rapid prototyping allows us to move on quicker, we can create more stuff/or maybe less stuff but better stuff?
  • Internet generation (everything is instant)


Your object

How can you apply this to an object. Maybe have different examples of different types of rapid prototyping applied in a craft way relevant to the definition you gave at the beginning to justify them.



Should I consider post graduate study in the future, I shall be sure to consider the academic written requirements expected of students at that level and assess whether I am ready for it and that I have something to say that I think I could convey well.

The final title of my dissertation eventually became The Industrialization of the Maker and Digital Fabrication. Ill admit it went through quite a few different variations before it finally arrived there. From the beginning I knew that I wanted to talk about Making and the Maker Movement. The rise of the maker movement to importance in the world today and its reliance on the modes of production and infrastructure that came before it is really the meat of my writing. If I were to revisit the writing I would like discuss some more specific case studies that show the progression of the maker movement revolution and the parallels that can be drawn from Britain’s industrial revolution past. I really enjoyed writing the Maker movement chapter, it felt like the structure came a little easier in that section. The research came with a little more ease than I had found with the industrial revolution work. I found the research and writing surrounding the industrial revolution content interesting but a little harder to work with, some of the texts could become a little laborious to read at times. I found the most difficultly in constructing my final chapter, it proved to challenging though – drawing from the earlier chapters in the text to formulate arguments.

In conclusion I’v learnt plenty of new skills in writing this dissertation such as researching, formatting academic text, constructing a bibliography and voicing an academic argument to name but a few. The process of writing the dissertation also reminded me of some of my weaknesses, time management, indecision and experiencing difficulty in achieving a specific focus that was required to hold the whole scope of the writings argument in its totality and see where to go next. These are things I should have to keep in mind should I venture on another attempt at writing an academic text such as this again. With focus and time I can improve. Dissertation was tough, for me it started right at the beginning starting with that indecision on what to write. This was really unfortunate as I found as time went on I was finding it harder to talk easily about it with my tutor, admittedly I found more and more awkward to cement the direction of my writing. I have had good support with the work though, with my dissertation tutor always nearby should I need some help. Discussing the work with peers a really good way to get past impasses which inhibited progress.It has certainly been an educational process this dissertation.

I found that writing things out large on a board enabled me to get a better scope on the structure of what I was trying to write.




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