Community Making: An Expansive View of Curriculum
Making as a term has gained attention in the educational field. It signals many different meanings to many different groups, yet is not clearly defined. This project’s researchers refer to making as a term that bears social and cultural impact but with a broader more sociocultural association than definitions that center making in STEM learning. Using the theoretical lenses of critical relationality and embodiment, our research team position curriculum as a set of locally situated activities that are culturally, linguistically, socially, and politically influenced. We argue that curriculum emerges from embodied making experiences in specific interactions with learners and their communities. This study examines multiple ways of learning within and across seven community-based organizations who are engaged directly or indirectly in making activities that embedded literacy, STEM, peace, and the arts. Using online ethnography, the research team adopted a multiple realities perspective that positions curriculum as dynamic, flexible, and evolving based on the needs of a community, its ecosystems, and the wider environment. The research team explored making and curricula through a qualitative analysis of interviews with community organizers and learners. The findings provide thick descriptions of making activities which reconceptualize making and curriculum as living and responsive to community needs. Implications of this study expand and problematize the field’s understanding of making, curriculum, and learning environments.