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Top 5 Restart Radio episodes from 2021

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This year was yet another year of remote interviews. We covered a lot of ground, both thematically and geographically, starting the year interviewing Electrowatch’s Omana George in India, and ending the year interviewing Mathew Lubari about his work promoting repair skills in Rhino Refugee Camp Settlement, in Uganda. We also dove into depth on a couple of technical and policy-related topics including the climate, and talked about our community work refurbishing laptops with partner organisations in London.

It was hard to pick our top five – but here they are! The first we just published this in December, but we loved this interview. LOVED it. And interviewee Lubari himself asked us to “make it go viral”.

Thanks to Dave (producer) and Holly (Restart’s Communications Producer) for another great season.

1. Fixing at Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement

We spoke to Mathew Lubari, a repairer from the Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement. Lubari is the founder and a team leader at CC4D, an environmental initiative promoting repair skills. Lubari first got interested in repair by watching his father and then while at university in Uganda, but when he had to flee his home of South Sudan, repair took on a whole new role in his life.

2. Reusing laptops for digital inclusion with Mer-IT and Hackney Fixers

We discuss the incredible work that repairers are doing to get laptops in the hands of students during the pandemic. Two organisations that have been supporting the laptop reuse effort are Mer-IT and Hackney Fixers. We talk to Mercedes Oli and James Diamond from both of these groups, to find out how it’s going and what we can do to help.

3. Saving memories and exposing ‘branded’ repair with Jessa Jones

Jones is the founder of iPad Rehab and has carved out her own space in the repair world as a self-taught microsolderer and logic board repair teacher. We found out what makes her approach to repair and teaching unique, why she is so impassioned in her work, and what tools repairers in the US have to advocate for themselves.

4. Helping electronics workers improve conditions

Omana George has dedicated herself to supporting workers’ safety for years. She is now the Monitoring Coordinator for Electronics Watch, an organisation that monitors manufacturing and supply chains in order to support “public buyers” to make more ethical and informed decisions. George informs us that many of the long-existing problems in supply chains are only getting worse during the Covid pandemic. Hearing about the circumstances of workers can make us feel powerless to help but there have been some wins, which we discuss.

5. An epic journey through climate history with Alice Bell

We talked to author and activist, Alice Bell about her recent book entitled, Our Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate Crisis. Bell’s immense historical knowledge helps us understand the massive impact that the UK has had on the world trajectory towards huge consumption of fossil fuels and other damaging practices.

 

And in a great “Top 5” tradition, we’re cheating and adding a bonus track because now is a good time for some introspection, and for us to take action to be more radically inclusive.

Inequalities in UK craft and making, with Dr Karen Patel

We spoke to Dr Karen Patel from Birmingham City University about her work on Craft Expertise, a project researching inequalities in the craft sector and documenting experiences of makers from marginalised backgrounds. Dr Patel interviewed over 20 women on their experiences in craft. Her research pertains specifically to the craft sector but we found that there are many similarities to the repair community – both positive and negative.

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