Nelson Series Lecture: “Making in the Open,” DK Osseo-Asare

November 14, 2019 Add to Calendar

7–8:30 p.m.


Shanahan Center, Auditorium
320 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711


Office of Stewardship and Events


Assistant Professor of Architecture and Engineering Design, Penn State University
Co-founding Principal, Low Design Office

Osseo-Asare is cofounder and principal of architecture at integrated design studio Low Design Office (LOWDO), based in Austin, Texas, and Tema, Ghana. He holds a triple appointment in humanitarian materials at Penn State as an assistant professor of architecture and engineering design. He is a TED Global Fellow, Fulbright Scholar and Africa 4 Tech Digital Champion. He cofounded the design agency DSGN AGNC (2009–2011) and the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, an open-source maker tech initiative geared for Africa. He also led urban/strategic design for the Koumbi City and Anam City new town projects in Ghana and Nigeria, which were featured at the Clinton Global Initiative (2012–2014). He has presented his work internationally at the Royal Institute of British Architects, University of Basel, TU Delft, TED Global, Smart City Expo, World Bank CitiSense, AfriDesignX, University of Ghana, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Next Einstein Initiative/African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, MIT, Harvard, Columbia University and on BBC. Osseo-Asare received his bachelor’s degree (engineering design) and his master’s degree (architecture) from Harvard University, where he studied kinetic systems and network power.

"Making in the Open"

Technology now enables people to collaborate on the design and making of virtually anything in ever-larger groups organized in increasingly non-hierarchical fashion. The ways in which free and open-source software have transformed not only computer and mobile applications but also their design are revolutionizing how we co-create our physical environment and the constellation of products which populate our lives and world. At the same time that models of consumerism and planned obsolescence threaten our planet’s climate and ecological dynamics, more and more people are demanding that we design better, more sustainable and more equitable paradigms for living together on Earth. What does making mean (what and how) in this new regime of open design and collaborative production? Osseo-Asare presents lessons learned making in the open at and around the Agbogbloshie scrapyard in Accra, Ghana, as he co-developed the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform—an open-source maker tech initiative geared for Africa—together with grassroots makers and 2,000 youth from West Africa, Europe and the United States.

About the Nelson Series

Maker Cultures is about making and STEAM. The series is intended to inspire the Harvey Mudd community to create a culture for the new makerspace in the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center that is inclusive, creative, playful, sustainable and builds upon the College’s liberal arts environment. Maker Cultures invites the community to think beyond traditional makerspaces that make tools and materials available in a dedicated space, to maker cultures that are mobile, use living materials, re-make with recycled parts and cross disciplinary boundaries.