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Restart Party Host Profile: Meet James

Restart party host James Diamond at a Restart party in Hackney


Tell us a little about yourself.

I help organise restart parties with the Hackney Fixers team, Dave, Friederike, and Bridget. I love to get stuck in and fix when I can.  Professionally I work as an adviser for businesses helping with environmental management, resource efficiency and energy projects.  I’m also involved in a number of local projects, EcoActive, Hackney Energy and Sustainable Hackney.

When did you start repairing electronics and electricals?

I’ve been tinkering since I was small.  I remember aged about 8 a friend of my parents gave me an old camera to play with and was astonished when I promptly took it to pieces. Later I had a succession of dodgy motorbikes and old cars, rebuilding a motorcycle engine myself to save garage fees. I didn’t have much experience of electrical repair when I started. I’ve learned from the other restarters and applying some school science.
What is your favourite kind of repair?

It is always satisfying to fix something, but I love it when the person you are working with gets involved and learns something. Or when it really means something to them – getting a favourite gadget working again, or being enabled to do something important to them, like making healthy smoothies.

What do you do when you are not Restarting?

I love singing with my choir, and I keep active with rowing, cycling and yoga. I would love to do more walking, especially in the mountains.

What inspired you to host restart parties?  What inspires you to keep on?

We were inspired by the Restart Project which ran an event in 2013 called “How to run your own Restart Party” and we’ve never looked back. They gave us tools at the event and we felt we had to do something with them! When we started out I thought Restart Parties were about reducing our environmental footprint, but I’ve learned it’s also about skill sharing, empowerment, direct action and community. It is great to be part of and contribute to the Restart Project’s mission.

Did you know anything about tech or electronics before hosting Restart Parties? Have you learned more?

Not really, though I’ve always been interested in how things work. Any fixing is an opportunity to learn and I’m learning a lot from everyone at Restart Parties. Part of me just wants to fix and not do any organising!

How did you go about finding volunteers? 

The Hackney Fixers came about when people from two local environmental groups joined together, so we can call on volunteers from both groups, Sustainable Hackney, and HTH Friends of the Earth. We are also lucky to have several regular restarters who are local.

Describe a really memorable moment at a Restart Party

I remember a woman who brought her old laptop along.  She needed help to replace the charger and we were able to help her source the right one.  She had befriended a refugee and he needed it to get online.  They were both overjoyed and grateful when they realised that we could help them.

See how you can host your own Restart Party with our Restart Party Kit.

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