Wow, time flies, we look at the calendar and we will have had over a dozen Restart Parties in our six short months of life. We’ve learned tons and met so many great people.
And we’ve had so many “hallelujah” moments – like this one, in our very first Restart Party:
We have three events this month, so please get involved.
Let’s get in the repair spirit on the eve of our society’s mid-winter consumer binge!
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!
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.
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.
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.