223 episodes

A bi-weekly talk show by The Restart Project, plus a monthly documentary series produced by brilliant podcaster Dave Pickering, based on fixing triumphs, heartbreaks and wisdom shared at our community repair events – called Restart Parties – here in London.

We go into real depth about good and bad design, obstacles to repair of electronics, emotional aspects of ownership, environmentally irresponsible business models, and the “end of life” of our gadgets.

This podcast is for you if you'd like to fix your relationship with electronics. Let’s rethink, restart.

The Restart Project Podcast The Restart Project Podcast

    • Technology
    • 4.0 • 2 Ratings

A bi-weekly talk show by The Restart Project, plus a monthly documentary series produced by brilliant podcaster Dave Pickering, based on fixing triumphs, heartbreaks and wisdom shared at our community repair events – called Restart Parties – here in London.

We go into real depth about good and bad design, obstacles to repair of electronics, emotional aspects of ownership, environmentally irresponsible business models, and the “end of life” of our gadgets.

This podcast is for you if you'd like to fix your relationship with electronics. Let’s rethink, restart.

    Restart Podcast Ep. 87: Exploring Brighton’s repair and reuse ecosystem

    Restart Podcast Ep. 87: Exploring Brighton’s repair and reuse ecosystem

    This month, we take a deep-dive into a local repair and reuse ecosystem. Brighton seemed like a great case study for this so we spoke to Victoria Jackson and Sam Jarman from Brighton Repair Café and Dr David Greenfield from Tech-Takeback, two of the amazing projects working together to reduce waste in the city. 

    A decade of repair with Brighton Repair Café

    Brighton Repair Café is one of the longest-running repair cafés in the UK, holding their first event all the way back in 2013. Victoria and Sam were both studying sustainable design at the time and were interested in the journeys that we take with our things, from their design inception, to when they break, to how we can reconnect through repair. They were inspired by the Dutch repair café model to hold their first repair session and since then, have been steadily running events around the city. They’ve also served as inspiration for more repair cafés popping up in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area, and are part of the Community Repair Network. 

    Victoria and Sam share what they have learned from running repair events for so long, from de-gendering repair to making sure that its a fun and rewarding activity. They believe that repair is so rewarding that once someone has a positive experience, that’s all they need for it to snowball into something bigger.

    “It is quite experiential. So as soon as someone experiences that opportunity, we don’t have to do too much work in that respect because they understand how good they feel when they fix that object with the support of somebody else. They also understand how important those communities are.”

    It’s their hope that in the future, repair will become so popular that there will be a repair cafe in every town, university, and school. They believe that the knock-on effect of teaching young people about repair would be huge, especially with how many skills have been lost over recent decades. And they’ve already started this mission, working with a local university to set up a student-led repair café. 

    Give and take with Tech-Takeback

    We then talk to David from Tech-Takeback, who were recent collaborators with Brighton Repair Café as part of Brighton council’s Circular Saturday scheme. Tech-Takeback began in 2016 as pop-up events in Brighton and London, expanding in 2020 into the organisation that they are now. They run RevaluElectricals, collecting unwanted and broken electrical devices from Brighton residents to hopefully give them a new life. David gives as a breakdown of some of their data including, the most collected devices and the massive amount of e-waste that has been saved since they started. 25,000 items have already gone on to have a second life!

    He explains their processes for reusing tech, it’s an elaborate process but worth it. Much of the collected items end up going to charities, being sold in the Revaluit shop, or being given away on Freegle. And while some items do end up being recycled, they are first stripped for useful parts and materials.

    “We need the government to start thinking about the metrics for reuse. Everything at the moment is focused on recycling…above recycling, we should be having refurbishment, repair, remanufacturing, reuse, and we should be having prevention.”

    Not only do Tech-Takeback reduce e-waste and provide affordable tech to those who need it, the data that they have gathered during their work has been incredibly informative for our own research and for the larger repair ecosystem. 

    Brighton Repair Café and Tech-Takeback, are examples of projects that we need to have in every part of the UK. These aspirations though, need a lot of support, especially from the government and local councils. All of our guests agree that not enough is currently being done, pointing to Wales as an example of a truly bolstered repair culture.

    • 38 min
    Restart Podcast Ep. 86: Why repairers need hope, not guilt, with Katie Treggiden

    Restart Podcast Ep. 86: Why repairers need hope, not guilt, with Katie Treggiden

    This month we talked to author and communicator, Katie Treggiden about her recent book entitled, Broken: Mending & Repair in a Throwaway World. Katie has put decades of thought into helping creatives and makers become more sustainable but also forgive themselves when they can’t be. 

    Back to her roots

    Having grown up surrounded by nature in Cornwall, Katie tells us about her surprising origin story. She spent over a decade working in advertising before pivoting towards her life-long love of writing. With this, she also folded in a new interest – purpose-driven craft and design. Since then, she has explored what this actually means through writing dissertations, books, and hosting a podcast on the topic. With all this experience under her belt, she decided that she wanted to help makers develop their working practices to fit the circular future that we need to build.

    How craftspeople are using repair

    Katie has previously written about waste and reuse, and her new book Broken puts the focus on repair. She shares some standout case studies from the book of artists and craftspeople who are incorporating repair into their work. These include Celia Pym, Bridget Harvey, Ekta Kaul – all artists who explore repair in entirely different ways. 

    Katie notes her interest in the different ways repair can be used for example, as a tool to restore practical value, or to add artistic value, or even for self-care. We talk about where repair and hacking fits into the larger culture of craft, and more specifically the ‘craft of use’. She notes how much more difficult electronic repair often is compared to more traditional craft and making. This is especially true now that manufacturers make an effort to conceal the craftsmanship that goes into making (and therefore taking apart and repairing) our devices. 

    Letting go of guilt in order to move forward

    While individual action is of course important, system change is essential for the scale of the problem we are dealing with. When running her courses for creatives, Katie really focuses on this point as key to forward movement. Instead of being weighed down by the personal guilt of climate breakdown, makers need to be led by curiosity and experimentation instead of sustainability perfectionism. We all have a part to play in helping the planet, but it is not our responsibility alone. 

    “I think really until companies are responsible for the things they sell for their whole lifetime, repair is not going to be the norm.”

    Additionally, she stresses the need to be compassionate. There are so many reasons why people may not repair. These include social stigma, a lack of time or resources, or that their stuff is simply not designed to be repaired. Knocking down these barriers is not something anyone can do on their own, rather, we need collective action to change the system.

    Practising ‘defiant hope’

    It’s difficult to stay optimistic about our power to enact change but Katie believes hope is one of the most important tools we have. There isn’t a one size fits all solution to being sustainable, but what can join us all together in our efforts is our common goal.

    “One of the most important parts of my job is staying hopeful and and helping to keep other people hopeful.”


    Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure by Katie Treggiden

    Broken: Mending & Repair in a Throwaway World by Katie Treggiden

    Cultivating Hope in the Face of the Climate Crisis – a free three-part mini-course

    The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

    [Photos courtesy of Katie Treggiden]

    • 29 min
    Restart Podcast Ep. 85: The local businesses giving your stuff a ‘second life’

    Restart Podcast Ep. 85: The local businesses giving your stuff a ‘second life’

    This week we’ve been celebrating London Repair Week by highlighting the heroic repair businesses all over the city. Our directory of repair shops, LondonRepairs.org, was recently relaunched with a new dedicated website. Here you can find over 300 reliable businesses to fix your stuff. In this month’s podcast, we spoke to two of these repairers about their passion for fixing, the barriers to their work and what could revitalise the repair economy. 

    Meet the businesses

    Junaid Syed is one half of the team of brothers that run Holborn-based Saras Fix. Having grown up repairing and fixing computers in their mother’s school, they have a lifetime of experience to draw on when fixing customers’ electronics. He recounts a very memorable repair that he performed during the lockdown, when he had to take a risk that absolutely paid off and helped someone in need. 

    Xenis Stylianou has been in the electronics repair trade for over 30 years and runs his business, Zen’s Electronics Workshop near Finsbury Park. Having learned his trade through training schemes and skilling up with different engineers, he explains how difficult it is to gain experience this way nowadays. He believes that a lot more support for professional repair is needed, especially in terms of training paths and apprenticeships, otherwise we risk losing these essential skills to time. 

    The state of repair today

    With so many decades of fixing experience, Xenis can give us a first hand account of how things have changed. Speaking on his area of expertise of audio-visual equipment, he tells us that not only has everything become harder to open, and therefore repair, but also products are being produced at much lower quality than in decades past. 

    “It’s a top down thing…over time manufacturers have actually reduced their build quality to come in line with the cheaper brands. And because now everything’s built to cost, the engineer at the other end repairing the equipment is not taken into consideration anymore.”

    Both Junaid and Xenis agree that the various barriers that manufacturers put on repair are not only affecting the operation of repair businesses but also the customer’s autonomy to make choices about their device. 

    Keeping repair alive

    So, if being a professional repairer is so challenging, how do they find the drive to keep it up? Xenis and Junaid care about their customers and reducing electronic waste.

    Junaid describes it as “giving back a second life to the broken devices which would’ve ended up in a landfill” and it’s an aspect of repair that he’s incredibly passionate about. He also regularly volunteers at repair events, donating his time and years of experience to help people learn to repair their own stuff. No matter if people want to try to repair their stuff at home or bring it straight to a professional, he stresses that London’s repair businesses are here to help. 


    * London Repairs

    * Saras Fix

    * Zen’s Electronics Workshop

    [Photo courtesy of Saras Fix and Zen’s Electronics Workshop]

    • 35 min
    Restart Podcast Ep. 84: Repairmongers, remakeries, and repair hubs

    Restart Podcast Ep. 84: Repairmongers, remakeries, and repair hubs

    This month, join us for an expert panel on community-led high street repair! We gathered together Katie Bellaris from Re:Make Newport, Elaine Brown from Edinburgh Remakery, Sue Briggs from The General Store Selkirk, and Lorna Montgomery from Share and Repair Bath to talk about their experiences setting up high street repair projects in their area. We’re hoping that by hearing about their different operating models, approaches, and tips and tricks it will inspire some of you to support repair and reuse on your local high street. 

    The money question

    All of these ventures run with slightly different business models and approaches to funding their work. What they all agree on is the central role of generous donations from their local communities. Whether it’s financial donations, volunteering or donations in cake form, it all helps to keep them running. Sue also taught us a new term, referring to The General Store as a ‘repairmongers’, steadfastly placing themselves as a community institution.

    Reaching out

    We ruminate on how the location and demographics of each project’s local area affects the way that they operate. Whether it is the difference in affluence between Bath and Newport, or the remoteness of Selkirk in comparison to Edinburgh Remakery’s shopping centre location. What Katie loves about Re:Make Newport – echoed by everyone else – is the way that their shop brings people together. 

    “The essence of what we do is all about community, it’s about bringing people together. And I love being in the shop and the atmosphere there is electric. You’ve got people of all generations, all ages talking about repair and sharing tips and knowledge and the way that they look at repair and reuse.”

    What about you?

    So what if you want to start a project like this? Our panel say ask others for help. They’ve found that other people in the repair space are more than happy to share their expertise and experience. After all, we are all working towards the same goal of more accessible repair and reuse for all. We want a repair and reuse hub in every town across the UK. In London we’re starting with Fixing Factories and can’t wait to see where they take us.

    And in case you’re wondering about the cryptic comment in her introduction, in a previous life Sue played a murder victim on the TV show Taggart!


    * Re:Make Newport

    * Edinburgh Remakery

    * The General Store Selkirk

    * Share and Repair Bath

    * Restart Podcast Ep. 81: Launching the new Fixing Factory

    [Feature collage images courtesy of Mark A Phillips, The General Store Selkirk, Edinburgh Remakery]

    [Image by Mark A Phillips, licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

    • 37 min
    Restart Podcast Ep. 83: Meet the students Fixing Things for the Future

    Restart Podcast Ep. 83: Meet the students Fixing Things for the Future

    It’s been an ongoing question in our community of how to get young people involved in repair culture. In this month’s podcast, we were delighted to talk to students, Carl Mau and Beat Schneiderhan, and their teachers, Felix Lossin and Walter Kraus, who have a plan. Based at the Rudolf Steiner School in Munich, not only do they have a weekly repair cafe led by students but lessons on repairing are also integrated into their curriculum. And they have created a guidebook on how to start a student repair shop at any school. We spoke to them about this innovative idea and how it has been received by students. 

    Integrating repair

    Carl and Beat tell us about their experience being students of the repair workshop and how excited they are to share the opportunity with more schools. In addition to their weekly repair cafe, students who opt to study repair have up to four dedicated classes per week. They feel that the skills they are learning in their repair classes will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and in some cases seem much more applicable than more traditional classes.

    The ‘learning by doing’ ethos

    They describe the teaching method of the repair classes as “learning by doing”, often the students are encouraged to work without the assistance of teachers as much as possible. Carl points out that this has made him more confident to attempt repairs at home and he hopes that this mindset will carry on once he graduates. 

    “It’s the realisation that the students kind of lose their fear of something so easy. When they see how easy it is they get used to it and will repair for themselves. And every time something is broken, they are ready to try to repair it.”

    Fixing Things for the Future

    Finally, we discuss their guide called Fixing Things for the Future. It details how to start a student repair workshop from scratch, covering everything from tools to tutorials. Felix points out how important student safety is when operating one of these projects. The guidebook has an extensive section on how to keep students safe and help them confidently deal with electricals. 

    Beat hopes that in the future there will be a repair workshop at every school, in every country! If this sounds like something you could help set up, they now have an English version of the guide available for download. 


    Find the guide here Schueler-reparaturwerkstatt or here Culture of Repair

    Our Fixfest 2022 session with Fixing Things for the Future

    Last month, we spoke to a company introducing repair to even younger children – Restart Podcast Ep. 82: No need for new toys, we have Team Repair

    [Photos courtesy of Felix Lossin]

    • 24 min
    Restart Podcast Ep. 82: No need for new toys, we have Team Repair

    Restart Podcast Ep. 82: No need for new toys, we have Team Repair

    We’re officially in the holiday season now and like many, we have presents and toys on the mind. For our December episode, we spoke to Anaïs Engelmann and Megan Hale from Team Repair.  They run a 12-month fixing programme that could be a perfect gift for any young person in your life. 

    Starting fixers young

    The team of Team Repair is composed of five design engineering graduates who are linked by their passion for reducing e-waste. Their company aims to introduce and teach children about repair and sustainability, each month sending them a new gadget to fix. These gadgets include hand-held game consoles and remote controlled cars – its such a fresh and engaging approach to capturing children’s minds. 

    Anaïs and Megan explain to us how they came to repair at different stages of their lives, proving that it is never the wrong time to learn these crucial skills. They believe that getting children interested in repair early is integral to inspiring our next generation of fixers and repair-friendly designers. 

    Another lovely aspect of the Team Repair model is encouraging generational skill sharing. Whether it is parents helping their children with the repair kits, or Team Repair themselves going into schools. At Restart, we recognise how important this skill sharing is in teaching younger people and also not letting this knowledge be lost to time.

    Building in circularity

    They tell us how a key feature of their project is building circularity into their work. It is not necessarily a popular approach with investors but Team Repair recognise the importance of this aspect of their work. In an effort to solve the issue of e-waste, it only makes sense to reuse the gadgets that they send out. 

    Their hope is that by educating children on repair and waste reduction, these skills will come in handy when Right to Repair legislation also moves forwards in the coming years. It’s a hope that we definitely share and are working towards making a reality all the time.

    Team Repair’s fixing programme is such a cool concept and we cannot wait to see how it develops and what other toys there are to fix!


    Learn more about Team Repair

    Find them on Instagram and Twitter

    [Photos courtesy of Team Repair]

    • 27 min

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A missing voice in the world

I am so glad there is a team of people working on these issues and even bringing abolitionism into the spectrum of issues that face the mass consumption of gadgetry. Smart and brave hosts. Thank you!

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