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Managing making and makers in open-access craft studios: the case of Turning Earth

Lauren Elizabeth England (Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King's College London – Strand Campus, London, UK)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 27 February 2020

Issue publication date: 5 May 2020



The aim of this paper is to develop understanding of how open-access (OA) studios as creative social enterprises (CSEs) can negotiate coexisting creative, social and economic missions, and manage the motivations of stakeholders. In particular, it explores how this affects management practices and ways in which diverse social actors engage with the organisation and each other. This paper expands on the existing literature on social enterprises in relation to multiple value and stakeholder management and also contributes to the makerspace and wider creative industries literature.


This paper uses a qualitative, single-case case study of an OA studio established as a social enterprise based on analysis of secondary texts, interviews and observation.


It is identified that a multifaceted value system creates both challenges and opportunities in relation to communal resource management and community development. Tensions between the creative and economic priorities of members and both the economic imperatives of the organisation and its social mission are also highlighted. It is suggested that despite these challenges, the OA model presents an opportunity to develop more collective forms of creative practice and support a reframing of the creative economy.

Research limitations/implications

As a single case study in the geographical context of the United Kingdom, limited generalisations on OA management in other countries can be made without further investigation.

Practical implications

There are practical implications for OA and other CSE founders in relation to resource and membership management and facilitating inclusive access. There are creative industries policy implications in the encouragement of more sustainable collaborative approaches.


This paper contributes to the literature on social entrepreneurship, makerspaces and the creative industries by developing the understanding of OA studios and CSE management and the internal dynamics that influence organisational and social outcomes.



This research was funded by King’s College London through a PhD scholarship awarded to Lauren England and supported by Crafts Council UK. The author thanks the special issue editors Dr Roberta Comunian and Denderah Rickmers and the reviewers for their valuable feedback.


England, L.E. (2020), "Managing making and makers in open-access craft studios: the case of Turning Earth", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 159-177.



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