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