Doctoral candidate Lo Lee successfully defended her dissertation, "Understanding Information Activities of Hobbyists in the Making of Arts and Crafts Across Space," on April 4.
Her committee included Assistant Professor Melissa G. Ocepek (chair), Associate Professor Kyungwon Koh, Professor Michael Twidale, and Assistant Professor Rachel M. Magee.
Abstract: Making is an information rich process in which a wide variety of information phenomena can occur. Although the maker culture has been widely discussed regarding its potential to foster learning and knowledge production, little research on making as a leisure pursuit is conducted. Accordingly, I carried out an exploratory study to investigate the making process of adult arts and crafts hobbyists, seeking to explore their information activities and how they configured space in a making context. Combining diary studies and semi-structured individual interviews, I present the findings on making motivations, factors that impacted the crafting progress, and a series of information activities in which intangible and tangible information were at play. Through the spatial lens, I show that space does not merely serve as a passive container but a social product, arguing that making is not a discrete localized practice but can cut across space. This research has scholarly significance regarding its theoretical, methodological, and practical contribution to our field. Theoretically, it contributes to information science by using a cultural theory and its view on human practice and space and place to expand the discourse on making and information creation. From the methodological aspect, I leverage the benefits of diary studies to embody their fun and flexible nature, highlighting their value to capture aesthetic data and enrich the research participation experience. Finally, this study makes a practical contribution by providing information professionals with design opportunities to inform service and system development to support creative endeavors in everyday life.