Communal repair workshops is a great place for people to meet up and troubleshoot repair solutions together. During The Commons event at ECUAD in February, the theme was “Community” and we got the opportunity to set up a space for Repair Matters in the Concourse Gallery. During the one-week event we had an installation on the wall showing examples of repaired objects and various tools that can be used for repairs. On the Tuesday and Thursday we invited people to bring a broken object they had and participate in a repair workshop. The Commons was a great way for us to get valuable feedback on our project.
We hadn’t asked any repair experts to come in for the workshops. Instead we chose to facilitate communal repair troubleshooting between all participants. Amongst the objects that were repaired were jeans, MacBook feet, a zipper and a phone cover. We asked participants to write a comment about what repair means to them on a note that we handed out, which were displayed on the wall afterwards and later used as a part of the Repair Matters Manifesto.
An interesting point that was brought up in discussion with a few of the participants was the difference between performing a repair using the specific spare part needed versus using something found around you that can do the same job. The people we spoke with were more excited about repairing something when they managed to do it using a part or component they already had laying around. For us, this was an important insight from the discussions during The Commons as it relates to our approach to troubleshooting repairs and promoting creative problem solving . We’re interested in how people make use of the things they already have at hand.