We’re currently doing some research to test some of ideas about fostering economies of repair, and we thought why not share some of what we found.
In this south London neighbourhood, like many, there are a number of mobile unlocking/repair/accessory places. Laptop repair is advertised in a couple of unexpected market stalls, storefronts or cyber cafés.
We talked to a handful of these, and all said they get business from passers-by and from word of mouth referrals – they said their clientele was diverse, all ages, all races, and interest in technology. We noticed that the more visible places had more customers and a diverse group at that.
We’re thrilled to announce our first grant and a real vote of confidence from Project Dirt and Timberland UK. Their “Earthkeepers” grant scheme is really excellent for green initiatives that have just started to bud, like ours. This small grant is just the boost we need for more and better repair, and for us to start planning how to bring the other parts of our ambitious vision to life.
(And as slow foodies ourselves, always with one hand in the dirt, we are happy to be in the company of so many food-related projects.)
Next month we will be repairing again at another Restart Party at Belsize Community Library (Aug 14th, 6-9pm), but we will also be focusing on building another network in Lambeth Council – focusing on the Brixton area.
Our idea all along has been to focus on two “nodes” of community e-repair in London before we scale: one in the Camden-Belsize area, and the other down in Brixton.
The Restart Project is all about changing consumer behaviour in the ICT industry, about facilitating the collective learning that will demand hardware and software manufacturers to adhere to open standards, to allow for openness at all levels, to design for durability and compatibility. To look forward with progressive new features, without leaving behind users with slightly older hardware.
Repair is an essential component of our vision. It is instrumental in transforming our obsessions about technology into sustainable technology ecosystems, where owners can claim back control over the very tools at the heart of our digital lives.
On Wednesday at Belsize Community Library, we had a great turnout of people of all ages, with all kinds of mechanical and electrical problems for our third Restart Party.
Perhaps it was the library atmosphere that inspired people, but we were most impressed with the spirit of those who came – pry it open, test it, and hack it! The spirit of “real people fix things, not just geniuses” really prevailed. And made for lots of fun!