We had a huge year last year, thanks to a larger team and steady support from the Shuttleworth Foundation and our core of dedicated volunteers in London. We spent much of last year working on international cooperation, facilitating the creation of the Open Repair Alliance and hosting the world’s first global Fixfest, a gathering of community repair activists.
We made long-overdue updates to our Fixometer software, co-developed and launched “beta” enrichment materials for schools, and undertook research on the behaviour change impacts of repair events (together with Nottingham Trent University) and expanded our mapping commercial repair in London (together with North London Waste Authority and support by digital coop Outlandish).
Oh and did we mention we did another tour of London, hosting Restart Parties in a dozen boroughs with the support of the London Waste and Recycling Board? *Draws deep breath*
Looking ahead to 2018
This year, we look to consolidate much of what we started last year
- continuing to develop our open data standard for community repairs together with co-founding groups of the Open Repair Alliance and a new advisory group. With the help of our community, we will also share improved data and analysis about the barriers of repair experienced at Restart Parties.
- becoming an engine for support (some peer to peer and decentralised) for groups seeking to repair electronics in their community. Some would like to call their events Restart Parties, but not all. So we are working on revamping our Kit and our support to all community groups and aspiring electronics fixers. We hope to be able to develop an insurance product for groups in the UK, or at least England and Wales. We will also work on sharing our knowledge about safety and risk, and develop engaging, educational materials for use during community repair events together with a network of European universities.
- focusing our efforts on supporting new groups here in England (including promoting a UK Fixfest 2018), and building mechanisms for groups in other countries to support each other. We will select and support the hosts of global Fixfest 2019, and help define a mechanism to sustain Fixfests into the future.
- developing our software to support community groups – it will become more mobile friendly, and allow for participation by technical Restarter volunteers. This will help improve the quality of data collected and also give groups an opportunity to track and learn from volunteer engagement data. We also aim to offer a new directory tool that will help community groups refer participants to local repair businesses. We see virtuous links between community repair and thriving commercial repair businesses as crucial to a future repair economy.
- working closely with pioneer educators to road-test our “beta” enrichment materials and hone our offerings to schools and educators.
Given all of this, our small team at Restart HQ will be hosting fewer of our own Restart Parties in London this year, as so many other dynamic London groups have stepped up to host their own.
Our own events will be special “welcome” events for new Restarter volunteers in London, with a pre-party welcome session. We will continue to host socials and skillshares for Restarters and “Rosie” skillshares run for/by women and non-binary people.
Like our skillshares, some of the most exciting projects are ones we hope that can continue to be driven and owned by Restarter volunteers themselves: like “Pirate Box” full of digital resources for use at Restart Parties and an online mobilisation to improve, analyse and make noise about our repair data.
2018 will be a great year to get involved in our work – you can volunteer at Restart Parties and host your own!
If you already volunteer at Restart Parties, and have a comment or a suggestion, please leave it below.
I know that you began this project in London but why the focus on England? Why not on all of Britain – ie including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, too?
Hi Diana, if it happens, we will encourage all to participate in a UK Fixfest – we know we all have loads to learn from each other. We’ve always helped groups from these places who seek out advice and support (mostly Wales to the present and we have friends in Scotland), but we’re just focusing our pro-active work on England for entirely pragmatic reasons this year, linked to geography and funding.