The joy of fix: a festival for repair-lovers will take place in London

Tom Lawson

The first ever Fixfest will celebrate a surge of interest in community repair groups across the globe

Makers, tinkerers and anyone interested in making ‘stuff’ more sustainable are invited to attend a new festival in London in October.

Fixfest – thought to be the first international gathering for the community repair movement – runs from 6-8 October and will bring together fixers from Argentina to Norway, as well as across the UK. Organisers The Restart Project hope the event will help “galvanise an emerging community repair movement” and promote a more sustainable consumer economy.

“Fixing requires skill, teamwork, ingenuity, perseverance. It is also a hands-on way to learn how our throwaway economy fails people and the planet,” said The Restart Project co-founder Ugo Vallauri. “The most exciting thing about Fixfest is connecting with other groups from around the world with a similar experience.”


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The Restart Project is a London-based charity which works to help people learn to extend the life of their electronic gadgets and prevent ‘unnecessary e-waste’ through practical community repair events. The three-day festival marks five years since the charity’s first community repair event.

Fixfest will host a series of talks, discussions and workshops. Those from the ‘repair community’ will be encouraged to share experiences, skills and frustrations, such as the barriers to repairing certain products. On the night of Saturday 7 October, a Restart Party will be held at the Museum of London. The event will be open to the public to learn new skills and to bring along broken items for fixing.

It is a hands-on way to learn how our throw-away economy fails people and the planet

Speakers over the weekend include designer Leyla Acaroglu, science writer Lewis Dartnell and the Repair Cafe founder Martine Postma. Topics will range from the origins of the community repair movement, to how we could create a ‘more resilient world’.

Image: Heather Agyepong

Since its first event in 2012, The Restart Project, along with partner organisations, have seen 3,800 people attend repair parties to save their devices from waste and volunteers have put in 5,100 hours of time to share their fixing skills. As a result, those behind The Restart Project estimate that a total 3.7 tonnes of e-waste has been saved from landfill.

“We expected frustrated owners of broken gadgets and appliances in need of help, but we never expected to unleash such a generous and engaged technical community,” said Vallauri.

 

Fixfest runs 6-8 October at the London School of Economics and the Museum of London.

Discounted early bird tickets are available until 15 September. Free tickets are available to community repair activists and discounts are available to those who need them.


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