Craftspeople’s new identity: The impact of digital fabrication technologies on craft practice

Min Jeong SONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Since 2000, craft practitioners have increasingly adopted digital fabrication technologies. Simultaneously, the public’s engagement in making through various means has escalated, disrupting the makers’ ecosystem. This study explores craft practitioners’ motivation to acquire new digital skills in the context of informal learning and professional development in Hong Kong and how they perceive potential changes in the maker culture and creative industries. This study’s methods consisted of two rounds of semi-structured interviews with 18 craft practitioners as well as participant observations during a short-term workshop in which they learned the basics of digital fabrication technologies. The findings revealed that external variables, such as social influence and facilitating conditions, are as important as personal motivations for craftspeople’s acceptance of technology. Additionally, the study found that technology has not advanced sufficiently to meet craftspeople’s expectations, and understanding of traditional craft skills is essential to take advantage of these technologies. The participants envisioned that technologies would enhance productivity and creativity in their practice and that their digital craftspeople identity would thrive due to the rise of the maker culture. For more effective incorporation of technologies into craft practices, it is suggested that a new curriculum design customized for various types of craft makers be constructed and implemented. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2365-2383
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


Song, M. J. (2022). Craftspeople’s new identity: The impact of digital fabrication technologies on craft practice. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 32(4), 2365-2383. doi: 10.1007/s10798-021-09687-1


  • Digital craft education
  • Digital fabrication technology
  • Professional makers
  • Amateur makers
  • Maker culture


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