Soldering the Disciplines

with Krista Caballero, Spring 2015

“Boundary objects are objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites” (Star, S.,  & Griesemer, J, 1989. 393).

Different disciplines and fields approach soldering in very particular ways with different intended results — some aesthetic and some practical. In this workshop soldering tools become the boundary objects through which we explore links to unexpected relationships between material, concepts and outcomes. Soldering the Disciplines is an experimental workshop in ways of applying knowledge(s) across interests so as to enhance, augment, and expand a student’s own disciplinary practice.

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other” (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the oppressed.)

Our pedagogy is founded in collective learning; no one is the ultimate expert or authority. Throughout this workshop, faculty take turns teaching and learning alongside students, recognizing that each brings specific skills with regard to the tools being utilized as well as the theoretical practices being explored. With faculty setting the stage for an open collective learning environment, students recognize their role as active participants and then take it upon themselves to co-learn and share with each other and with faculty. In upending the traditional relationships between teacher and student, student is no longer ‘passive object’ but rather becomes a collaborator within various knowledges, lending some skills while absorbing others.
Students were introduced to this methodology at the beginning of the workshop to set the foundations for collective learning. This two-part workshop specifically links the soldering  practices of stained glass with basic electronics to create an Arduino-based
Stained Glass Shadow Box.

Topics covered in Soldering the Disciplines:

•    basic circuits
•    basic Arduino code
•    how to cut and foil glass
•    soldering stained glass
•    soldering electronics
Included in this module are introductory lessons plans for electronic circuits, stained glass (copper foil method), electronic soldering, and how to read code using Arduino.


Star, S.,  & Griesemer, J. (1989). “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39”. Social Studies of Science, 19 (3): 387–420. doi: 10.1177/030631289019003001
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.