Restart Parties spread

People who love the idea of Restart Parties are helping to spread them from our original communities of Brixton and Camden. We’re quite thrilled to see the results of our September “Start your own Restart Party” workshop. Community repair is catching!

This month in London, two new events inspired by our Restart Parties will happen – one in Hackney (Nov. 16) hosted by Sustainable Hackney and Friends of the Earth Hackney and one in Camberwell (Nov. 24) at House Gallery.

Also this month is the first North American Restart Party, at Hackerspace Tampa, where they have added a great reuse and recycling component. The Restart Party has even made local headlines.

In our Facebook group to support Restart Party Hosts, we now have 37 people from 5 different countries sharing tips, getting our advice, and preparing to host events together. Continue reading

We are the “inner circle” of the circular economy

We were privileged to get a slot at TEDx Brixton in July and we thought we would try to  say something that has been on our minds for a while.

The global conversation for sustainability in manufacturing is shifting to the “circular economy”, like at Davos, where the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has promoted the concept and the opportunities for companies in this field. Up until now, the focus of the circular economy has been primarily on design products for easier disassembling and recycling – the outer circle – which implies creating a closed loop of materials and in the case of electronics, recovering metals in our gadgets.

This is something only feasible at scale, something the big companies can profit from. The mainstream activities of the outer circle of the circular economy – shredding and melting — are very energy intensive, and the jury is out about how efficient they are. But more importantly, this kind of “outer circle” is hard for people to relate to on a human scale.

The “inner circles” of repair and reuse seem to have been fairly mute in these public discussions on the “circular economy”. For us, these are the circles where we can approach a future economy on a human scale: making sure that the products we buy are more repairable, long-lasting by focusing on creating local opportunities flourish for repair, reuse and refurbishing. This is where we can transform our reality.

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The most #ethicalmob

At The Restart Project, our favourite – and surprisingly uncommon – message is:

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We were amused to have dozens of friends and supporters sending us the Phonebloks video a few weeks ago. It is a very compelling concept for a modular, upgradeable mobile phone – inspired by Legos and very well communicated. It is a great idea, but it will remain a charming design fiction until a whole lot of things change in the electronics industry. Continue reading

A repairable, hackable lamp named Clyde

In April, I saw an old friend at the Reclaiming Repair workshop in Paris. After years in quite separate directions, Amanda and I marveled at how our projects are related. Hers: a hackable and repairable lamp. Small projects like this help us envision a different future, where we take back ownership of domestic electricals like the loveable lamp.

Amanda’s lamp, named “Clyde” reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, got some great press, and will go into production soon. It’s not too late to pre-order your own!

We interviewed Amanda to learn more and share her inspiring approach. Continue reading

#Mozfest pt 1: The politics of making the future

We attended Mozfest this weekend – and as we still do not even have anything web-related to show (hopefully next year) – we were there to gain inspiration and really push our thinking forward.

The Mozilla Festival is a radically “open” geek paradise, where hundreds of people from around the world came to co-create and share ideas and tools, including online media, gaming, educational tools.

Photo of Joi Ito by Flickr user Paul_Clarke used on a CC license

We left really challenged to build a truly open community (which we will get to in our second post), but we also left with some lingering disquiet with blindspots in the “politics” of the community.

This post is intended to be a contribution to the “writeable” society and intended to start a conversation, so please read on and let us know what you think. Continue reading

Our first Restart Party – repairing and learning

Thanks to everybody who attended our first Restart Party repair event in north London on Saturday – you made it a real success.

We had an excellent turnout – more than 30 people came by, from many generations, and the space was buzzing the full four hours. We had 4 humble repair heroes offering their skills in computer and electronics repair – sometimes this meant we could not help everybody immediately, but people were quite happy to meet each other, have a brownie and a coffee and talk about their electronics, green and local issues.

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