Photos from Swiss Cottage Library

We had a great turnout at Swiss Cottage Library – the foyer was an excellent space for a Restart Party, we hope to pop-up there again. Thanks to everybody for getting really involved in the repairs, for rolling up your sleeves.

Our repair roll from Brixton was hard to maintain – we had some really tough laptop repairs this time. Some of the repairs we hope to finish in two weeks at the Repair Café at the Goodlife Centre in Southwark/Waterloo.

Our Midas moment in Brixton

Wow. Just wow. We left Transition Centre in Brixton after three (plus!) hours of repair last night and we had either improved or fixed everything that people brought. Everything!

This was a first for us, and just reinforced how spontaneous and inspiring community events can be. You can sense it in our photo album.

The great repair energy was thanks to our hosts, Transition Town Brixton, but also thanks to the skills and tenacity of Alan from local repair company Commtech as well as Jack and Ben who came from Brockley.

Anne, who brought a broken printer, told us she would have literally gone to the store today to buy another, had we not spent an hour with her Epson. After researching chips, ink pads, and other common problems, it turned out there was a piece of sellotape stuck on one of the rollers!

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The Power of We, consumers of e-stuff

We have started to notice what we call an increasing ‘disquiet’ with the way we consume technology. The iPhone is the most common trigger for this feeling, but it is symbolic of greater unease with short lifecycle of e-stuff, sandwiched by concerns about production, supply chains and then disposal.

You know it’s serious when one of the US’ biggest sketch comedy TV shows goes after the frivolity of tech journalism and reminds us of the human costs of our gadgets.

We are tired of feeling powerless – in some sleepwalking state of mindless consumption. Of course we want innovation, we want progress, but at a pace that makes sense to us as humans.

We decide, not some marketing and manufacturing behemoth. Continue reading

Participatory repair as an alternative to the throw-away society

The past couple of weeks have been really busy for us: we took part, presented and/or repaired things at a lot of inspiring events, such as the monthly ICT4D London Group, the Cause Meets Tech, the launch of The Great Recovery, Good for Nothing‘s social, the Transition Belsize Green Fair, the Repair Café at Goodlife Centre and the Transition Brixton monthly skill-sharing evening.

It’s been exciting and very powerful to learn more about people’s perceptions about repair and their frustrations when the products they own break. But perhaps the most interesting insight is that so many people actually care. So many people want to take part in Restart and to learn together how to make a difference. When we started this journey, we thought that repair was out of fashion. We couldn’t have predicted that so many people are actually interested in self-repair, in learning how to become a bit more independent and taking direct action. Instead, what we see more and more is real citizens desiring to regain control of the things they own, whether by learning how to manage their laptop better, so that it doesn’t become slow and unresponsive, or by learning how to keep their printers clean and make them last longer.

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