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Restart Radio: repairing across generations

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Every generation has a different attitude to gadgets, but skills don’t become obsolete the same way gadgets do. To have a functioning repair economy, it’s important for generations to learn from each other.

This week, we hear from people of different ages – including a father-son duo – about their view of repair. Restarter Alvin Hardy shares his perspectives on how repair education has changed. Janet and Ugo also share some of their own experiences with children, nieces, nephews and parents.

One commonly-raised concern is the fact that young people seem to be lacking in the DIY training their parents had. Too many young people appear to be calling on ‘toolbox mum and dad’ when things go wrong. Will we eventually be left in a world where few people know how to change a plug?

Gadgets are changing, too. Shiny new smartphones and laptops do not open up as easily as old radios and hand-blenders. And while there is now much more information out there in the form of YouTube tutorials and online forums, these resources are not necessarily easy to access for all generations.

It is tempting to draw general conclusions about how older generations are more skilled with DIY repair, and do not know how to work the internet. But from our experience, this is not always true. Many of our older volunteers serve as a ‘bridge’ between these two worlds. And our recent work with Archer Academy has shown us that not only are students more than capable of learning hands-on repair, they are also actively interested in it.

It is important that younger people are made aware that only a few years ago, it was common that each new gadget was an investment, and products were made to last. Similarly, we need to make sure that emerging tech landscapes are accessible for older learners.


[Image by Flickr User Open Minder is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]


3 responses

  1. Michael

    So happy to hear people are still so passionate about this. I grew up in a home where it was “waste not, want not!” and as a result developed a rather unhealthy habit of hoarding. However I do think that if I’d learnt to properly repair things I would never have hoarded in the first place! I’m really keen to get in touch with someone from because I think the community where I live could really benefit from an event/s like fixfest, something similar, workshops to share these skills across generations! I look forward to hearing from you soon!?!

    1. James Pickstone

      Hi Michael, thanks for your comment and glad to hear you’re a fan. We’d be more than happy to chat about ways you can get involved! The best way to get in touch is probably to join our community over at – once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to see whether there are any active groups near you. You can also head over to the ‘Discussion’ area to meet us and start up a conversation about how to get stuck in. See you there! – James @ The Restart Project

  2. Michael Lowe

    Brilliant, thanks James. I will sign up right away! Cheers

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