Celebrate community, technology, and repair by starting a repair community and hosting repair events.
Everyone's heard of "DIY" ("Do It Yourself"). Well, it's high time we independent fixers and tinkerers band together and reach out to our communities to evangelize the value of community repair with collective tools, knowledge, and effort.
Community repair is a celebration of the great things we can do when we pool our skills, knowledge, and resources. And, you can't overlook the value in building community by simply making new friends.
A community repair event is a fun and unintimidating space where broken devices are explored and, with a little luck, repaired.
We take a page from personal finance guru and model our requirements after her own beliefs:
- People First! - Identify and network with those who are willing to share their skills and teach and train others how to repair and maintain the things in their lives. People need to come first because that will help shape the ...
- Space - Once you've gathered your team members, then you can decide what the space should look like. At the least, it needs to accommodate the entire team of fixers and the items they're repairing. It should also have table space, electricity, and lighting. Maybe members have free access to a particular space because they belong to an organization owning that space (VFW? American Legion? KofC?).
- Tools - We'll discuss a basic set of tools later, but for now, we would recommend at least two sets. One set will be used at your regular space. The ultra-portable set is a subset of the regular space set and is designed to be used outside the regular space (like Maker Faire!). While not a tool, we would suggest photographic and video equipment to capture opportunities visually.
- An adventurous spirit (or at least a willingness to try something new)
- Something that's broken (if you want)
These requirements will change constantly, and will require frequent reality and gut checks. Your people will change, and that may change the space you will need and, to a lesser extent, the tools you will need and use.
Objectives (in no particular order):
- Making friends
- Demystifying technology
- Skill sharing
- Enhancement of forensic and investigative skills
- Project-based and self-determined learning - That broken item is the project. How it needs to be fixed will shape the learning curriculum.
- Learning how things work (and hopefully fixing things, too)
There are many groups across the world building repair communities. Visit their websites to see how others are growing community repair.
- Fixit Clinic across the United States
- Repair Café in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Fixers Collective in Brooklyn, NY, USA
- The Restart Project in London, UK
- Fix It Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia
- West Seattle Fixers' Collective in Seattle, WA, USA
- Netzwerk Reparatur-Initiativen in Deutschland
A slight variation on the repair community theme is Bike Kitchens. They're incredibly well organized and their programs are well documented. Check out their Bike Collectives hub and look through their resources for building a new Bike Collective.
If you don't have a local repair community, start your own!