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Explore tinkering activities inspired by artists

“Good tinkerers borrow, great tinkerers steal.” - As A. Kleon emphasises in his book “Steal like an Artist”, "no idea is original and all creators and their output are a sum of inspirations and heroes…”. Art & artists can inspire children, visitors and us to think about museums in new ways. As more and more science centres and museums explore possibilities for tinkering activities, artists can also play their part. Join us in our Tinkering Pop Up Space to explore the process of art-inspired activity design and investigate how imitation, inspiration and adaptation play a significant role in the creation of projects for science centres, schools and libraries. We’ll hear from museum professionals about how their collaborations work and get first-hand experience with tinkering activities: computer-controlled drawing devices, solar powered machines, and more.

The Tinkering Space at the 2022 Ecsite Conference is sponsored by the LEGO Foundation.


Tinkering Studio R&D lead
San Francisco
United States

Session speakers

Founder and Director of AlElieh for Science Environment and Art Science and Maker Educator / consultant
AlElieh for Science Environment and Art
East Jerusalem
Palestinian Territory
Samar is an art science educator who gets inspired by artists. She explores bridges between the worlds of art and science with high consideration to the environment and the impact of learners' context on it. Her experience resulted in strong belief in the trio of the SEA (Science, Environment and Art ) to build interactive meaningful and relevant learning while allowing learners to express and build position towards what they learn. She will talk about her process as well as share art inspired tinkering activities.
Aarhus University
Amos Blanton is an educator specializing in the design of open-ended creative learning experiences and environments, and is currently researching collective creativity as a PhD Student at Aarhus University in partnership with Dokk1 Library in Aarhus, Denmark. He ran the Scratch online community at MIT Media Lab, designed learning through play activities for LEGO House and LEGO Foundation, and helped land the FujiFilm Blimp. Amos will speak about the the role of aesthetics in tinkering and engage participants in an activity from "Playing with the Sun," a collection of activities under development at Dokk1 that invite tinkerers to explore sources of sustainable energy.
Fab Labs are multidisciplinary spaces where contaminations between subjects and approaches happen on a regular basis. Artists play an important role in this rich ecosystem because they share with makers the creativity, the openness to new ideas and the search for custom solutions and projects. Onl’fait activities are often inspired by art and an excellent example comes from the expo “Low-tech” organised by the Ville de Meyrin in autumn 2021. Onl’fait was asked to develop tinkering and technical workshops for children based on the artworks showcased in the exhibition area. The school sessions were fully booked to prove the interest towards the theme and the approach.
Co-Founder, Education
Wonderful Idea Co.
Freiburg im Breisgau
Over the past fifteen years of designing activities and programs at the Tinkering Studio and Wonderful Idea Company, it’s clear to me that following the work of artists and adapting/remixing their ideas provides the most fruitful avenue for creating engaging and personally meaningful experiences that combine art, science and technology. Ryan will share the process of developing 'uftes' or unfacilitated tinkering activities and how artist inspired projects can provide multiple entry points and learner defined outcomes. There will be the chance to take a look and try out a balance exploration inspired by Alexander Calder and other artists.
Makerspace educator
Norsk Teknisk Museum
Jon loves geometrical patterns. In this session he will invite you to use block based programming to control a kinetic sculpture called Sisyphus, to create beautiful geometrical patterns in sand. Sisyphus is made by the American artist Bruce Shapiro.