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Restart Radio: Repair in the U.S. with Fixit Clinic

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Today, Ugo is joined by Restart’s IT team lead Dave Lukes and Peter Mui from Fixit Clinic, a U.S. based ‘troubleshooting and discovery workshop’.

The Restart Project and Fixit Clinic are a bit like twins separated at birth. We share their belief in the value of teaching repair, rather than just providing a free repair service. Peter Mui talks to us about his vision of the ‘ideal Fixit clinic’, in which the role of the coach and the participant blur and become one’. Dave is a long-time volunteer at Restart parties, and talks about the importance of community to successful repair events, which provide both new and experienced fixers with the chance to motivate and learn from one another.

Successful repairs at a Fixit Clinic in Albany

Peter’s view of the current attitudes of manufacturers in the U.S. is not so bright: too often faulty products are replaced rather than repaired under warranty. In the future, he speculates, digitisation of design files may allow manufacturing to occur locally rather than being outsourced. But this needs to be paired with an attitude change, so that the demand for durable products replaces our current complacency with poor quality.

Fixit Clinic have been asked to pair with hazardous waste disposal schemes, but have refused: they want people to think harder about the possibility of their products surviving, and to reflect on what goes into making them. Repair is more than just a useful and enjoyable new skill to be learned: it also forces us to think about the things we own in a much richer way. We can learn to take into account their whole lifespan, rather than just the blip in time that they spend in our use.

[Photos courtesy of Fixit Clinic]



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