Oliver Stickel

Fab Lab Manager & Founder

kontakt@oliverstickel.de / +49 (0)234 5200 4912


2020-today Lab Manager at Bochum Makerspace. I manage two sub-labs (IT / integrated electronics and plastics fabrication) and I’m involved in the overall development of RUB-Makerspace, a 2000sqm innovation space with a team of 15 people. Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

2019-2020 Writer, researcher, consultant. Book project “Handbuch Fab Labs” and consultation work for organizations interested in Maker-/innovation spaces. Self-employed, Germany.

2015-2019 Researcher, project manager, lecturer. After graduating, I stayed at Uni Siegen as a researcher to continue building Fab Lab Siegen into a sustainable infrastructure. Apart from the Lab, I worked on/in in different projects (see below), published and did a lot of teaching. University of Siegen, Germany.

2014-2019 Guest researcher, consultant. Field research, consultations and development of joint project proposals in/with collaborators from the Middle East. University of Birzeit, Univ. of Technology Oman, Goethe Institute, others, (mostly) Palestine.

2013-2019 Founder and manager. I founded Fab Lab Siegen and managed it on its journey from a student initiative in a literal storage room on campus outside the city to a wonder- and colorful, open and community-oriented space of about 300sqm filled with people, ideas, tools and machines right in the city center. Siegen, Germany.

2009-2015 TA, student researcher. During my student times, I was a teaching assistant (mostly in HCI), assisted in different research projects (mostly with qualitative field research) and was in IT and media tech support/maintenance. Universities of Siegen and Duisburg-Essen, Germany.


2012-2015 M.Sc. Human Computer Interaction (honors) - Socio-technical systems design based on qualitative methods. University of Siegen, Germany.

1998-2002 B.Sc. Applied Cognitive and Media Sciences - Combination of Computer Science and Psychology (without the advanced engineering and clinical aspects, respectively), grounded in quantitative methods. University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Selected Publications

2021 Handbuch Fab Labs: Einrichtung, Finanzierung, Betrieb, Forschung & Lehre by Iris Bockermann, Jan Borchers, Anke Brocker, Marcel Lahaye, Antje Moebus, Stefan Neudecker, Oliver Stickel, Melanie Stilz, Daniel Wilkens, René Bohne, Volkmar Pipek, Heidi Schelhowe. Bombini-Verlag.

2021 shARe-IT: Ad hoc Remote Troubleshooting through Augmented Reality by Thomas Ludwig, Oliver Stickel, Peter Tolmie, Malte Sellmer. Journal on Computer Supported Cooperative Work 30, pp. 119–167.

2019 Fab:UNIverse - Makerspaces, Fab Labs and Lab Managers in Academia by Oliver Stickel, Melanie Stilz, Anke Brocker, Jan Borchers, Volkmar Pipek. Workshop at Fab Learn Europe Conference ‘19.

2018 Fab Lab Education in German Academia by Oliver Stickel, Anke Brocker, Melanie Stilz, Antje Möbus, Iris Bockermann, Jan Borchers, Volkmar Pipek. Proceedings from the Fab14 Conference ‘18, pp. 39-46.

2018 Computerclubs und Flüchtlingslager - Ein Diskussionsbeitrag zur Forschungs- und Bildungsarbeit aus praxistheoretischer Perspektive by Oliver Stickel, Konstantin Aal, Marén Schorch, Dominik Hornung, Alexander Boden, Volker Wulf, Volkmar Pipek. Tagungsband Do it! Yourself? Fragen zu (Forschungs-)Praktiken des Selbermachens.

2017 3D printing/digital fabrication for education and the common good by Oliver Stickel, Konstantin Aal, Verena Fuchsberger, Sarah Rüller, Victoria Wenzelmann, Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf, Manfred Tscheligi. Workshop at Communities & Technologies conference ‘17.

2016 User Integration in Agile Software Development Processes: Practices and Challenges in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises by Oliver Stickel, Corinna Ogonowkski, Timo Jacobi, Gunnar Stevens, Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf. In: Cockton, G., Lárusdóttir, M., Gregory, P., Cajander, Å. (eds) - Integrating User-Centred Design in Agile Development. Springer.

2015 3D Printing with Marginalized Children – An Exploration in a Palestinian Refugee Camp by Oliver Stickel, Dominik Hornung, Konstantin Aal, Markus Rohde, Volker Wulf. Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW) ‘15, pp. 83-102.

2014 Bottom-Up Kultur in Siegen: Ein Bericht über aktuelle Strukturen, Entwicklungen und Umnutzungsprozesse by Oliver Stickel, Alexander Boden, Gunnar Stevens, Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf. In: DIAGONAL - University of Siegen’s annual journal 35, pp. 55–70 (2014).

2014 Towards Sociable Technologies: An Empirical Study on Designing Appropriation Infrastructures for 3D Printing by Thomas Ludwig, Oliver Stickel, Alexander Boden, Volkmar Pipek. Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS) ‘14, pp. 835–844.

Full publication list: researchgate.net/profile/oliver-stickel.

Projects and funding

2019-2022 SMAPS - the center for smart production systems - was a research-infrastructure project on additive fabrication and smart systems for industrial tooling (mainly forming processes). I was part of the proposal team and briefly involved in the ramp-up phase (mostly procurement).
European EFRE-fund (EFRE.NRW), Germany, about 3m€

2017-2020 FAB 101 was a joint research project of four German universities on Fab Labs and digital fabrication in academic. It focused on cooperation, tools, education and infrastructure. I developed the core idea for the project, led the proposal and was overall project manager as well as part of the operative team.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany, about 1.2m€.

2016-2018 YALLAH - “You All Are Hackers” was a student exchange / hackathon project. Students from Palestine and Germany visited each other for multiple stays, worked on socio-economical issues using “maker-methods” and created an art exhibition. I had the project idea after my own visits to Palestine as a student, led the proposal and helped to recruit and set up the staff who took over the project.
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), about 225.000€.

2016-2018 ZEIT.RAUM Siegen was a project between a regional museum, three university chairs and Fab Lab Siegen to develop a 3D-printed, interactive city model and a regional Wiki for a museum installation. I coordinated the ideation phase, wrote most of the proposals and was part of the negotiation team. In the project, I built the first prototypes for model and wiki and recruited the project staff.
Regional societies, University of Siegen, other sources, about 190.000€ (funding brochure).

2015-2016 Internet-Cafe4Refugees was a project we set up when Uni Siegen housed hundreds of refugees. We provided tech support, hardware and internet connection together with the local freifunk.net community.
Volunteer work, hardware donations and enough local funding for student aids to cover daily opening hours.

2013-today Fab Lab Siegen was my baby for many years and my first real experience in regards to being a founder and the world of fundraising. My old team is still running and growing the Lab and it has become local infrastructure.
Calls for student projects, donations, other sources, about 100.000€ in money during the first 2-3 years (later, funding strategies changed). The spaces for the lab were/are co-sponsored by private-public partnerships and there were/are hardware donations as well.

2012-2015 CUBES was a research project on community-based innovation in software and usability for small and medium sized enterprises. I was involved as a student, then researcher, then (interim) project manager for the project reporting and closing.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, about 800.000€.

Community roles

I co-organized Fab:UNIverse multiple times and maintain its website - it’s a conference for Fab Lab managers at universities. I’ve also (co-)organized a lot of different events, temporary (Maker)spaces and meetups such as the Usability Day Siegen (2014-2018).

I have been an elected member of different bodies of (self)-governance such as the Senate commission on Strategic University Development at Uni Siegen and head of the student representatives (“Fachschaftsräte”) at Uni Duisburg-Essen and at Uni Siegen respectively. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to fill roles in regional and national expert committees (mostly in relation to innovation and community spaces).

As a researcher, I was reviewer/chair for conferences and journals like CHI, JCSCW, C&T or M&C.


I enjoy teaching and learning a lot. At Uni Siegen, I’ve been responsible for the practical part of the mandatory introduction to Human Computer Interaction for many years - i.e. mentoring up to 40 students per iteration through big, semester-long projects ending in submissions to and wins in national student challenges. Additionally, I’ve held many different seminars ranging from reading classes on literature about “Making” to very practical seminars on rapid prototyping methods. I’ve made it a point to try and be open in teaching and have frequently had students from other faculties or external guests in my seminars.

As a thesis advisor and co-advisor, I have accompanied about 8 Bachelor and Master Students along their paths to graduation. Topics have varied from participatory-design-oriented field investigations to studies about Makerspaces in teacher training to engineering and fabrication of additive tools for industrial processes. Additionally, I’ve been involved in co-advising state-certified technicians as a pilot project between a university and a technical vocational college.

Nowadays, I’m less involved in structured, academic teaching but mostly teach and learn whatever is needed to help many different Makerspace community members from (many different) disciplines with their - many different - projects.

Awards and honors

2015 Honorable Mention Paper Award, “Mensch und Computer” (M&C) conference of the German Informatics Society (GI).

2015 Best Graduate of the faculty, University of Siegen, Germany.

2014 Scholarship Tallinn Summer School on research methods in Human-Computer interaction, University of Siegen, Germany.

2013 First Prize Student Usability Challenge, German Informatics Society (GI).

Skills in Keywords

Making - Rapid Prototyping (many different methods), CAD/CAM, general (basic) coding, (traditional) web development, electronics and integrated systems for rapid prototyping. Makerspace operation / management / safety.

Human Centered Design - UX design, HCI, usability methods, design thinking, convergence of agile and user centered methods.

Projects and People - Project development, social innovation, fundraising, agility / Skunkworks, community and team development, operations (with)in public service and public administration.

Methods - Constructionism, human-centered teaching and learning, mixed-methods, action and field research, participatory methods and participatory action research, (Maker-)space(s) as a method.


Native: German

Fluent: English

Basic: French


fablab-siegen.de and Fab Lab Siegen on GitHub



yallah.exchange and exhibition.yallah.exchange

Interview “Deutsche Welle” about Fab Labs

News article on 3D printing with children

News article on working with refugees at Fab Lab Siegen

Interview “Deutschlandfunk Kultur” on Makers

A talk by me about Fab Lab Siegen (from way back when)

Guest lecture on Socio-Informatics at RWTH Aachen

Usability-Methodenfinder / Usability Method Finder

My old blog posts on the Fab Lab Siegen website


Birth date: 12 June 1987

I enjoy camping, kayaking, cooking and good books.

Last updated: October 2022