Fixfest 2019 roundup. Add your notes here!

(See more photos here)

Posting this from the train on the way back from a fantastic few days at Fixfest 2019 in Berlin! A huge thanks to everyone who came along and to our brilliant hosts Runder-Tisch Reparatur.

We thought it would be useful to collate our notes from all the different sessions here; with so much going on, none of us could be everywhere and we’d love to build a record of all the great talks and discussions that happened. This might also be interesting for those who couldn’t be there in person.

:film_strip: Runder Tisch Reparatur will upload the video streams filmed in room 1 and the speakers’ presentations.

:bird: Here is a Twitter list of participants that we compiled - DM @RestartProject if we missed you.

How does this work?

We can create a post in this discussion for each individual Fixfest session. I’ll make sure each post is a wiki post (or do that yourself), meaning anyone can edit it in order to add their own notes.
The full programme can be found here. I’ll also maintain a table of contents below to help us easily find the post for each session.

So please do add your notes/thoughts/recollections of the weekend below, either by creating a post about a particular session, or adding to an existing post by clicking the ‘Edit’ button.


[in progress - add more by replying with notes about anther session below]

:camera: Featured photo above by @Mark_Phillips.

Cc: @Andreu, @Chloe, @Colin_Fitzpatrick, @Dave, @Fernando_GA, @frances, @Inez_Louwagie, @Jana_Rueckschloss, @Janet, @Jessika_Richter, @Jonathan_Vigne, @Kaja_Juul_Skarbo, @Luc_Deriez, @magda_peeters, @Maja_van_der_Velden, @Margaret_Hersee, @Marie_Lefebvre, @Mark_Phillips, @Michael, @Mike_Grahn, @Monique, @Nebojsa_Adzic, @neil, @Purna, @Savino, @Sergio, @ugo, @Wouter_Sterkens


Kyle Wiens: Scaling the Repair Movement: Going Mainstream

This was mostly a slideshow and show-and-tell! He talked about the dynamic policy context in the US and all of the good work Nathan Proctor and US Pirg have done in the US, including getting the FTC to investigate warranty-voiding stickers.

There were a few good ‘facts to remember’, including:

You would need to use a new notebook for around 88 years to compensate for all its environmental impact! :laptop:

@philip will be happy to know that he got another big mention in the talk for his contributions to iFixit, many of which originated on Restarters Wiki.

Also, Kyle mentioned that iFixit is setting aside €50,000 to equip community repair groups with new tools — beyond the kits they already provide. This was very thin on the detail but they encouraged community groups to contact them about these ‘Tool Grants’ at:

From @philip: Yay! (It’s gotta be a coincidence that my rep seems to suddenly get a boost in the run-up to Fixfest!!) Q: Is the slide deck online or a recording coming?

From @Restart A: Yes, slide decks and videos will be uploaded soon.

:film_projector: Find the slides for this talk here and here

Kyle share the tale of a shop in Japan called the Return of the Dead where clients can buy broken items at a discount and repair them for use. The cheapest items to buy were the most difficult to repair. It is an unique selling proposition that seems to attract interest.

Kyle shared that more and more organisations are organising repair events including Patagonia. Ifixit is also collaborating with organisations such as Motorola to develop repair guide that are made available to users. Individuals across the world are also participating in the translation of the repair guide so that anyone regardless of their language capability can engage.

Kyle asked if they were anyone in the room who were a professional repairer. No one raised their hand. We had a representative of the professional repairers association of Germany who came along to represent them. The prompt raised in me the question (@Marie_Lefebvre) on what is the ability/capacity as well as the barriers of the repair movement to build bridges with professional repairers.

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Melanie Jaeger-Erben: Resisting obsolescence - The role of a ‘culture of repair’ for sustainable development

Melanie started by describing the current culture of consumerism and suggested the following model, which she calls the ‘constant cultural production of worthlessness’:

Talking about a project she worked on called Repara/kul/tur (please correct if I got that name wrong), Melanie shared that 60% of smartphone owners and 40% of washing machine owners buy new replacement devices even when their old one still works. Of course there are lots reasons for this, many of them perfectly valid (e.g. a couple who co-own a washing machine and break up may result in one of them buying another machine).

But Melanie proposed that much of this can be attributed to our culture of ‘newer = better’, or ‘newism.’

She said that this was the biggest predictor of how long someone will keep their products; big believers in ‘newism’ replace their products more often.

On the other hand, the biggest predictor of whether someone will repair their products instead is practical knowledge (knowing how to get it done).

She made an interesting point about the need to understand repair as “care work”.

Her website explains this project in more detail:

:film_projector: Find the slides for this talk here

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Niko Paech: Repair in the post-growth economy

Niko argued that there is no such thing as green growth; infinite, sustainable growth is not possible, which means that we need to start thinking about what a post-growth economy looks like.

Reaching full employment is getting harder

He said that as labour becomes more productive (thanks largely to technology), the minimum level of growth to achieve full employment increases. He demonstrated this with the following graph:

^ This graph is a rough sketch of the version used in the original presentation. It shows that as we move into the 4th industrial revolution, the gap between the growth needed for full employment and growth actually possible is widening) more than ever before.

Niko used this graph to argue that we need less growth-dependent production systems to address this gap.

No such thing as green growth

Niko introduced the field of post-growth economics; a number of disciplines including growth criticism, growth drivers, post-growth economy theory and others. The aim of is to work out how to transition from a paradigm of infinite growth to a zero-growth or ‘steady-state’ economy that is in line with the environmental capacity of the earth, as illustrated by this graph:

Achieving a post-growth economy

He put forward a number of ideas for how to achieve this, including:

  • substituting industrialised supply chains with more labour
  • turning ‘consumers’ into ‘prosumers’ by reducing the average working week to 20 hours and using our spare time to create decentralised networks for maintaining, repairing and producing things. This could replace traditional manufacturing to an extent.

When answering the question ‘how can we make this happen’, Niko suggested that we all have a responsibility/opportunity to make it happen by choosing to life alternative lifestyles, work fewer hours and focus on ‘prosuming’ (repairing, producing, maintaining). He argued that if enough people do this, the idea would spread via social diffusion.

@Marie_Lefebvre notes
The main agenda for the presentation was growth and sustainability, history and perspective of post growth, production theory, suply chain management and the role of prosumers in contributing to post growth.

Niko Paech asked us ‘‘where welfare comes from?’’ and continued ‘’ from higher labour, higher GDP, from work to produce more items, services, values, the tendency is just to produce more and more’‘. A question that need to be addressed is ‘’ How can we achieve social stabilisation while we do growth (with the full awareness of its social and environmental impacts)?’’ Shall we change the theory of grozth? How do to it:

  • We need to beco,e independent of specialisation, indepedent of technology, independent of system of demand and supply.

Niko Paech share the history and development of the literature about growth and degrowth from the 18-19th Century til today. At different point, authors had different questions of interests
18-19th Century: Is unlimited growth possible?
1911_1967 : Does Growth increase welfare?
1971_1983: Is growth ecologically harmful?
1988-: is Degrowth possible?

The field of degrowth has three components: growth cristicism; growth drivers and post growth economics.

Niko Paech then went through the history of supply chain managment and ask the question: What is the future of supply chain management? He shared the three dimensiobs of suply chain management

  • Commercial, Global with long supply chain
  • Commercial, Regional with medium supply chain
  • Non Commercial, local and self supply
    The future of supply chain management shall reduce the the commercial global supply chain in favour of more local and regional models. How to achieve this. We need to ask ourselves how do integrate citizens (consumers) in reducing the use of commercial global supply chain. Niko Paech indicates that the main way is to reduce the number we work to approximately 20 hours a week. It will support a redefinition of the relationship between citizens (prosumers) and companies.
    Niko Paech share the importance of educating people about time and providing time substitutes as well as to create some part-time model to absorb output reduction.

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Markus Piringer: Repair & do-it-yourself urbanism

Markus is involved in an initiative called Die Umwelt Beratung in Vienna, Austria. It’s a kind of helpline for eco-lifestyle advice. He is also involved with the repair network in Vienna, which represents around 80 independent repair shops (among other things).

He spoke about repair as a meeting point of commercial, public, community and private interests and asked questions about how to balance them all.

Link to some of his work:

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She*fix: YouTube repair tutorials by women

Janine spoke about a YouTube channel she’s created to produce repair tutorials for all things technical: She*fix

Janine’s background

She is a student at Berlin Technical University, specialising in environmental science and interested in lo-tech. After her car broke down and deciding to repair it herself, she found that there were no places in Berlin to access the tools and equipment she needed that were open to the public. So she created her own metal workshop. It’s a little like a makerspace and is open to anyone who wants to learn metalworking skills.


Janine said she was constantly frustrated that the overwhelming majority of technical repair tutorials on YouTube are white men performing perfect-first-time repairs in clinically clean and well-equipped settings. So, she’s set out to provide alternatives. Her channel features women drmonstrating technical repairs (we watched a tutorial on replacing the chain of a chainsaw) in real-world environments.

The videos are in English, German and/or Spanish.

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Disappointed I missed this! The channel is mostly in German - machine translated captions are pretty hard to follow. And I hope there is more soon! Reminder that we have a playlist of women and non-binary people getting technical and fixing stuff:

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Building a mobile Repair Café: the story of Jena Repair Café

Oda is the main organiser of Repair Café Jena in East Germany. She talked us through the journey they undertook to build a repair café on a bus and shared lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

:bulb: Find the slides from this talk here

The repair café started about 5 years ago and now has around 10-30 active volunteers. But was never able to get settled in one location. Jena is quite a dense city and they found it increasingly difficult to find a permanent home. To solve this problem, Oda thought it would make sense to take the repair café on the road.

Initially, they used a prototype electric bicycle trailer from Carla Cargo :bike: to help them move from place to place around the city.

She also applied for funding from a lottery scheme to build a repair café bus. Unexpectedly, she won €10.000 of funding in November 2017. After a bit of soul-searching and a lot of research, she bought a 20-year-old MAN public bus at auction for about €5.000 (the advantage of this bus was that it has a flat floor; no steps at the back).

Click/tap here for details of how they built the bus-based repair café

Here’s how they spent the rest of the budget:

  • €500 on materials (they mostly used recycled materials e.g.: old cabinet doors to make tables)
  • €800 on repairs (e.g. to the engine)
  • €1300 on insurance
  • €300 on taxes
  • €2000 on a custom paint job
  • €200 on licenses (they reclassified the bus as an ‘office vehicle’ so that no-one needed to get a bus driving license and could just use a truck license. But this means that it can’t be driven with passengers)

They removed most of the seats, built folding tables, workbenches, storage units and a sewing corner. They also installed power outlets, which use a transformer to provide mains power (either by plugging into an external power source or from the bus’s own batteries.

See some pictures of the bus on their Facebook page.

Oda shared some of the learnings they’ve made since launching the bus earlier this year:

On the plus side :+1: On the down side :-1:
The bus has received lots of media attention and draws in passers-by. It’s hard to find parking
Being mobile allows them to visit places they wouldn’t be able to reach normally, such as parks and rural communities It’s hard to find drivers
They don’t have to worry about finding a permanent home It was a lot of work to build
It’s still a lot of work to organise events (they usually rely on visiting another existing network
taxes, licenses and maintenance are annual costs (around €2000/year)

Ironically, as a result of all the extra publicity they’ve received, a local library that’s moving out of it’s current building has now offered them a permanent space of their own. Oda is now considering lending the bus to the German Repair Café network, who could use it to help new groups get started in other parts of the country.

@Derek_sayers & @Repair_Cafe_Glasgow - you mentioned being interested in creating a mobile repair café. Perhaps this post will interest you!

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Andreas Frisch: Repair Cafés & Maker Scene - Utilize Synergies

Andreas (@repairfox on Twitter and our friendly guide to c-base) discussed how the maker scene and repair groups overlap. The talk and discussion was in German which I sadly don’t speak, however I took these notes from the slides as we went through.

A quick note to begin

There are (sometimes subtle) differences between hackspaces, makerspaces, and FabLabs

  • hackerspaces - perhaps more software-centric
  • makerspaces - perhaps more focused on creating (electronic) devices
  • fablabs - also more focused on making and construction, sometimes with a more commercial/startup-y feel
  • sometimes what name is used is just a preference
  • more details on the differences can be found online

Benefits to repair groups of linking to the maker scene

  • can be source of new skilled volunteers
  • can sometimes provide a venue space
  • if used as a venue, may provide access to equipment and expert knowledge
    • e.g. tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills, parts

Benefits for makerspaces of linking to repair groups

  • adds extra social value to the space
  • gets the space involved with environmental protection and sustainability
  • good publicity and may be a means of acquiring members
  • good way for members of the space to practice their skills

Existing cooperations

From lists of both, Andreas has mapped the places in Germany where there’s already a link between makerspaces and repair groups

There have been successes and failures in the combined spaces

  • positive case
    • Repair Cafe Jena started through Hackspace Jena
    • Busbau (mobile repair bus) - conversion of city bus into a mobile workshop (more notes on this in this post!)
  • negative case
    • a location where people turned up at random times expecting free fixes
    • frustrating for the members
    • how it could have been avoided
      • clearer communication in advance
      • be able to refer people to a professional repair shop with regular business hours

Ways to foster cooperation

Want to form a link from your repair group to the maker scene?

  • try to recruit hackers & makers as repair helpers
  • plan joint venture repair events
  • usually spaces have a weekly public meeting where you could get the conversation going in person (better to do this way than just contacting electronically)
  • hackers can be a little shy, may need persistent persuading

Hacker/maker activities that are good for sustainability and community

  • keep using legacy hardware or strip and exploit for parts
  • development and use of efficient technologies
  • kid’s soldering / making classes
  • hardware hacking and upcycling

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Unconference: Lightning talks

Think we missed one (!) - and feel free to add in more detail about your presentation

Leicester Fixers’ @Marie_Lefebvre

Imma from the Bay Area, partner of @Culture_of_Repair on “repair holidays” :palm_tree: :wrench:
Plan to organise event and communication campaign to promote repair on Mother Day, Father Day and Black Friday.

@Savino and @Sergio on a fun reuse project using Linux :penguin:

@Kaja_Juul_Skarbo on national organising - Restarters Oslo got significant funding to transform into Restarters Norway. Approximately 350 000 for three years.

Ima from Anstiftung on their ‘fanzine’ for repair cafes, in its first year. Anstiftung support approximatelly 800 repair communities. The magazine document the diversity of community repair groups across the countries. The name ‘SPLITTER’ refer to small partciles that appear when something is broken. The magawine is published on the website and it can be easily printed. Each page of the magawine act on its own and so the group can choose to print one page and not other and produce posters. The document is in black and white so it can easily be printed in coloured paper. The magawine feature quizzes, reflective exercises and comics. The magazine also include stories reflecting upon global issues; the history of repair etc.

Perhaps @Dave you can include a short version of your talk on Hackney Fixers and Barcelona @Andreu you can share your Barcelona talk here too? :point_down:

Hackney Fixers

  • Formed by a few people in Hackney to run Restart Parties
  • Has the advantage of a parent organisation (Sustainable Hackney)
    so no need of formal organisation, bank account etc.:
    just a name so we can concentrate on Fixing, not bureaucracy
  • Hackney has a varied population: artists, minorities, rich, poor, …
    which is useful.
  • Took a couple of years to build up momentum.
  • Council interested but difficult since initially only interested in tonnes of waste saved!
  • Once council interested, became easier:
    small grants,
    access to venues (libraries)
  • No formal agreement with council; too complicated!
  • Problems:
    hard to hand over to other people
    need to automate event running (now done with Google Sheet)

[Restarters Barcelona]

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Unconference: International (non-European) perspectives on community repair

:canada: :fleur_de_lis: @Nebojsa_Adzic talked about Insertech in Montreal how they added “Réparothons” to their successful computer refurbishing social enterprise, and their challenges. They now run 20 events a year and he is flat out! He also shared about their connections to the Quebec government that help with their sustainability.

:india: @Purna Trash is an opportunity for us in India.” She explained how waste pickers help informally reusing and recycling. …Her Repair Cafe in Bangalore is a citizens initiative that had thrived without the intervention of government… It can serve as a solution for various societal problems like dementia. She has a Burning Man grant to work on this issue! Intergenerational workshop are so important, building up a bigger community, connection. In cities we also live in nuclear families and are disconnected too. She talked about the potential of the …Repair Cafe to link people, with migration from outside the region and internal migrations within the region… Her Repair Cafe features local repair people and she created a calendar to feature their skills too!

:hong_kong: @Fernando_GA Runs a group at a university in Hong Kong. Many of the volunteers and participants come from other countries. For HK students, sustainability is quite low in terms of priorities, even before the recent events in HK. Now potentially even lower. A society built on consumerism, and literally, on trash. HK students do not really trust a free repair opportunity, and prefer instead to go to Shenzhen. He said that up to 1/3 of his group’s repairs are fixing bodged commercial repairs from Shenzhen! He’s reaching out to secondary schools and quite concerned with succession, keeping the group going after he graduates.

:argentina: :uruguay: @Club_de_Reparadores Meli shared the story of this Buenos Aires group and how they’ve started helping other groups in Argentina and even Uruguay get started. She talked about their Liga de Menores work, moving towards engaging teachers instead of individual schools.

:south_africa: Johnathen: Repair Café Cape Town is new and small. He found a makerspace that would host them at no cost, and has been working to recruit volunteers and participants. He uses Meetup to advertise events. He recently got support from Red Bull for a special event for promotion and food, and he’s planning a 19th October event for Open Design Afrika, which coincides nicely with International #RepairDay.

:brazil: Felipe talked about repair culture in Brazil and his project called “Metareciclagem”. He explained how the project grew because of pre-existing cultures of hybridism and improvisation. Learn more by listening to our podcast with him!


Video by Jonas Knapen - posted by @Purna

[Sorry my notes are really poor here please watch the video above - @Janet]

@Janet asked whether there is any hope of averting the consumerist excesses elsewhere that we’ve reached in Europe and North America.

@Club_de_Reparadores and @Felipe_Fonseca both seemed to suggest that in countries like Brazil and Argentina, it’s down to creating a culture of long-lasting products being cool. Meli talked about trying to show different ways to valuing people and materials - drawing a parallel between the way we treat things and the way we treat people. The social aspects.

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Workshop: European Right to Repair Campaign

The Right to Repair European campaign was launched during this workshop! The branding and website were revealed, as well as the social media channels and we invited participants to sign up for campaign related updates on the website.

The main policy demands of the campaign both at EU and national level were presented:

  1. Include smartphones in the Ecodesign regulations
  2. Have national register for independent repairers
  3. Have a real and unbiased repairability index to provide consumers with all the relevant information at the moment of purchase

The European Environmental Bureau also shared the findings of their latest report about the climate cost of disposable electronics.

As the Right to Repair European campaign aims to be co-created by activists, the second part of the session was dedicated to work in small groups on 5 different topics:

  1. Actions: let’s be creative and make the campaign disruptive and unforgettable
  2. Collaborations: what other networks and campaigns should we reach out to?
  3. Toolkits: what would be useful to engage the repair community?
  4. What data/report would you be interested in seeing?
  5. Other

The outcome:

1. Actions: what should we do?

  • Changing mindset of consumers => “your e-waste footprint"

  • Boycott low repairability scores products => a label such as the ones for food?

  • International Repair Day => agenda setting by symbolic action: e.g. decorate all the statues with spray painted tools and release a press release

  • Naming and shaming of non repairability (e.g. HOP)

  • Video & song & visual => e.g Norway “buy more, throwaway” which is ironic

  • Lasting visual impact = memorable impact

  • Making repair economically attractive

  • Second hand spare parts catalogue

2. Collaborations: who should we reach out to?

  • Makers movement

  • Local women or workers groups that have events in their communities

  • National and regional waste management companies

  • Union for Engineers

  • Influencers (to reach groups who buy electronics: middle class)

  • Media (national but also local)

  • Open source software advocates

  • Environmental organisations with a broad outreach

  • Circular city map

  • Union as a promotion partner (“more repair = more jobs”)

  • Tool libraries (repairability should be inclusive: price + accessibility to tools)

  • Government, start up community, manufacturers (Rebate program (economic incentive) for repairable products )

  • Rural areas (not just the city)

  • Repair holidays to collaborate with local repair businesses (repair business trade show)

3. Toolkits: what should the campaign provide?


  • Map templates (for repair shops)
  • Cards with key messages (but we discussed how to prevent throwaway - wallet-sized? designed to share among friends?)
  • Fanzine
  • Posters
    • with links to the campaign for use during events with QR codes
    • educational poster to be left at recurrent venues (repair cafes etc)
    • “Fixed” or “Repaired” poster with campaign branding and/or slogans


  • Branding kit (easy + modular)
  • How-to materials:
    • Media
    • Invites to policymakers
    • Petitions

One thing we didn’t have time to discuss (because of fire alarm): guerrilla DIY materials. Stencils, stickers, chalk designs, projection-mapping materials…

4. Data: what research should we do?

  • Tax and Public costs associated with production & waste treatment of products

  • Historical analysis of spare parts costs/new products costs compared to average lifespan of products

  • Papers presented @plate to connect the academic & NGO community, use research to compare campaigns

  • CO2 and resource used by products

  • Costs of premature obsolescence => how much money would consumers save/year thanks to longer lasting products

  • How much companies make for every product → that isn’t repaired vs they repair (overcharge compared to independent repairers)

  • Carbon footprint of your product every year of use or after it’s refurbished instead of repaired.

  • Production cost vs price of spare parts

  • Unsuccessful repairs (by pro @ consumers) => collaborative analysis of repair viability

  • Transparency on the cost of labour and price of spare parts

  • Residual cost of product / repair

  • Quantifying how much money saved by consumers if self repairing

5. Business: how do we build connections?

There are different perspectives on what would repair economy would look like (e.g. between manufacturers and small repairers).

Identify who would be the losers and the winners and focus on the latter.

  • Hospital associations

  • Large data operators

  • Agriculture => farmers association

  • Chamber of commerce => Identify a business that could become a right to repair advocate

  • Marketing departments of producers and manufacturers

  • EPR associations (Weeforum website)

In northern countries, most businesses are owned by a family or part of a cooperative

=> Try to target cooperatives or consultancies that provide them with support on circular economy, stakeholder advice etc)

Independant repairers ("good at fixing, bad at business”):

  • We need to frame the debate as if these organisations are pushing for change

  • By identifying those who are good at communications, provide them with support and put them forward in media and comms: “opportunity to protect their industry"

  • Constant events so they stay interested

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Unconference: Schools and Education

We had a pretty free-form exchange of views and experience. With one exception, there were no formal educators in the group.


  • @Fernando_GA from Hong Kong Technical University
  • @Monique not an educator but has worked with after school “Code Club”
  • Me (@Janet) leading Restart’s work with education
  • Claudia Munz, sociologist based in Munich and part of repair education programme there
  • Torsten, studied computer science, electronic engineering and now works with embedded systems
  • Michael Beha, PhD student in product design
  • Alex, technical background

Key points from the discussion:

  • Across the world, the space for hands-on, self-guided, exploratory education that might allow for fixing in schools seems limited. Free schools and private schools seem to be the only “easy” places to link with
  • Procurement in public schools can make it difficult to look at involving kids in the repair of school IT equipment
  • Parents seem very supportive of repair and tinkering - perhaps we need to concentrate on them?
  • Starting at an earlier age might afford more opportunities
  • Summer schools - extracurricular but intensive events might be a good place to look
  • Shorter “taster” activities can be useful in getting into state schools with more constraints
  • We discussed how much change needs to be top-down (through “Manifestos”, lobby of policymakers, etc) and how much needs come up from the grassroots. Conclusion: we need a push and a pull. We can’t do one without the other. We need activities to be “based on the heart” as Claudia said :heart:
  • How do we support keen educators? Do we have kits and equipment ready to loan or give? (These are often the main constraint in getting started.) @Sergio talked about sending equipment to Salesian schools in Bolivia. Claudia talked about creating 10 kits for repair education that she can loan out to interested schools.
  • Michael indicated that there is still not enough disassembly and tinkering in product design education. Are we linking with engineering and product design subjects effectively, not just at universities but in upper secondary education? Could secondary school students contribute to iFixit’s technical writing programme?


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Open Source & Repair: Podium and Discussion

This session had 5 presentations on open source (predominantly open source hardware) and how it might contribute to repair, followed by discussion. An outline of the session is here.


e-textiles and documentation of maker projects

First up was Hannah Perner-Wilson of kobakant. She talked about how she documented the many wearables projects she has created, and how important documentation is for allowing others to recreate those projects. Schematics alone are not enough, step-by-step guides with images and discussion are needed.

standards for documentation of open source hardware

Martin Häuer of Open Source Ecology Germany then discussed the work they have done on a formal specification (via DIN, the German standards body) of what should be included in the documentation of an open source hardware project in order to make it reproducible. This could be extended to include requirements to help with maintenance and repair as well.

ratings for openness of open source products

Robert Mies from the OPEN! project talked about their work about open source product development and open design. They have an ‘Open-o-Meter’ which gives a product a rating out of 8 as to how open a product is (e.g. are design files and bills of materials included).

free software and free hardware

Erik Grun from the Free Software Foundation Europe talked about the free software definition and the four freedoms of being able to run, edit, contribute to and share free software, and how this might apply to hardware. He also mentioned how the free software movement was kickstarted by fixing a problem with a printer.

open design and documentation

Last, Lars Zimmermann from Mifactori & Open Circularity talked about his project building an open hardware and open design lamp, and the important of standard parts and good documentation in that.


The discussion was quite wide ranging and sometimes veered from just repair related topics.

Some points that I remember, I know @Dave and @Felipe_Fonseca were there too and might be able to fill in some gaps!

  • could ability to fork hardware designs be problematic?

    • e.g. if you end up with 15 different types of M2 screw because people can fork (e.g. openoffice got forked into libreoffice), that’s a hindrance for repair
    • counterpoints: forking is generally done to provide legitimate (not frivolous) choice, or for community reasons (e.g. the current maintainers take the project in a proprietary direction)
  • money makes the world go round, what is the business model behind open source hardware? Isn’t giving my designs to a competitor going to put me out of operation?

    • in software one model is service and consultancy, e.g. if you are the one creating something, you’re more likely to be the one paying customers go to for support or for new features
    • difference between free software and open source - free software is about access and equality, not just a technical idea, shouldn’t forget the ethics of it
  • what are some concrete requests we could make regarding the right to repair as inspired by OSH?

    • point to / encourage use of the DIN standard as setting the standard for reproducibility of designs, service instructions, knowledge about how to use spare parts etc

With regards to the DIN spec, it will be a while before corporate manufacturers adher to such detailed documentation (e.g. schematics, bill of materials, etc). However it could be used as an exemplar of what product documentation should be provided to allow repair. The idea of scales of openness could be interesting to measure how useful the repair info provided by manufacturers is.

I wondered what is currently included in the ecodesign package when it comes to the demand of access to repair information - is there a standard to which a manufacturer must share the information or is it loose as to what repair information they should provide?

The DIN spec authors were also keen for input from repair community to make sure they are including information in there that covers maintenance and repair.

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Unconference: Making event listing easier to find online

We discussed how we could make the discovery of community repair events easier for the public (focusing specifically on online searching, but posters etc in local community is equally important).

how do we currently do it?

We started by asking, how do groups currently list events?

It could be via

Events on Facebook are only accessible within Facebook’s platform. Events on Meetup are displayed in Google. Events on repair platforms and group websites will be picked up by search engines, but depends on level of SEO as to where they appear. Some positives of Facebook and Meetup, for a host, is that you might get an idea of how many people are coming in advance (although it isn’t necessarily accurate).

Why work on a common way of listing?

  • to make it easy for someone to find the nearest community repair event near them, without needing to know which repair network its part of, and where to go to find the listings

The fragmentation across different platforms (and different repair networks) might be making it difficult for the public to discover an event near them. If we could find and agree on a common way of listing events online, we could make it easier for people to discover events near them, and increase the number of participants in community repair.

Two approaches to doing this:

  • work together to agree on a format that we all list repair events in, and aggregate them together ourselves
  • use an existing event markup format that already works with search engines

Making and aggregating our own format

We could determine our own standard for repair event listings. We could then aggregate that open data together ourselves, and provide a central place to search them. Essentially open data on repair events, with a registry of sites that are listing in this format, and a custom built search to search through them.


  • we control the format, the display, and means of searching
  • we know where all the listings are coming from


  • we have to do all the work of ‘crawling’ or maintaining a registry, and aggregation, ourselves

Existing formats

Google has recently started supporting explicit markup of events, and will display results more prominently. Google use Events for this. Usual SEO approaches are still needed, this is just a complement to them.

We’ve been experimenting with this at Restart by adding the relevant JSON-LD in to listings. It doesn’t require any extra work from hosts - just a small extra piece of code in our platform. is supported by other search engines, though we’ve not yet looked in to whether they do pull out event data.


  • easy to add to existing tools
  • can add it in to own group’s website if preferred
  • crawling and aggregation across various sites/platforms comes for free


  • loses some of the specifics of repair events
    • but perhaps could be explored by using custom fields
    • links through to full information on original sites, anyway
  • feeding the Google machine - don’t want Google to become the arbiter of everything

We’ve started testing this approach on, with promising results so far:

events in search results:

more information about the event when clicked:

Neither approaches make events more prominent in Facebook, which is a big way that people find events at present.

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Unconference: The Future of Fixfest (and Open Repair Alliance)

In the final unconference session, we discussed what’s the future for Fixfest and better collaboration between groups supporting community repair around the world.

Most participants represent repair networks organised in different ways. Some examples:

  • Eva/ @Inez_Louwagie – Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken (Belgium), they promote and support Repair Cafes in part of Belgium, and they’re involved in campaigning for Right to Repair with a national focus, and in collaboration with the European campaign

  • Meli (Club de Reparadores): they coordinate events in Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico

  • @Andreu (Restarters BCN): In Spain there isn’t a network of Repair Cafes – just a few initiatives. He’s also involved in a side project, bringing repair and swapping products

  • Jonathan (Repair Cafe Cape Town): in South Africa, his repair cafe is the only way so far. They’re supplying data to Repair Cafe Foundation, and would like to make sure their data is openly available for everyone to view/analyse

  • @Kaja_Juul_Skarbo, (Restarters Norway): their role is evolving, as they were previously only concentrating on Oslo, now they’re trying to coordinate, inspire and support activity in multiple cities, and collaborating with other organisations interested in repair in Norway. There’s also an opportunity to connect with Repair Cafes in Norway

  • @Neil/@ugo (Restart, London): Restart has been concentrating on data analysis and coordination of the Open Repair Alliance, promoting Repair Day as well. We’d like to see the network grow

  • Markus ( Reparatur their primary focus so far has been creating a network of repair businesses in Vienna. They’re running a repair festival on October 4/5, including repair cafes, clothes swapping, repair demonstrations, they’re putting more effort in cooperation between community repair and repair businesses

  • Linn (Anstiftung, Germany): their network is the largest in any country: 800 initiatives in their direct network, plus another 200 similar, but unaffiliated. They’re already running regional gatherings, and promoting joint activities, such as Repair Day

  • Arlette (Repair Cafe Danmark) – they are a network of 24 Repair Cafes, not directly affiliated with the Repair Cafe Foundation, completely bottom-up, interested in being more involved in a global network

  • @Mike_Kavanagh – Repair Cafe Pavia, also runs a Facebook page, “Repair Cafe Italia”, which informally coordinates between Restarters and Repair Cafe groups across Italy, where the community repair movement is much smaller than in Germany

Everyone would like more collaboration and sharing, making sure that national organisations supporting repair can better coordinate and plan joint initiatives

Expanding the Open Repair Alliance

At Fixfest 2017, the Open Repair Alliance was launched by Restart, Anstiftung, Repair Cafe Foundation, Fixit Clinic and iFixit. Its focus so far has been on promoting the Open Repair Data Standard and International Repair Day. However, our experience so far is that there’s a lot more that groups would like to discuss, and a focus only on data might not be the optimal way to extend participation to others not yet working on repair data collection and sharing.

Restart shared ideas for a renewed Open Repair Alliance (which could also be renamed!):

  • expanded to include all groups coordinating community repair at national level
  • promoting information exchanges, learnings, practices in between groups
  • manage the calendar of future Fixfest events
  • promote Repair Day, help it grow
  • continue the work with data, with a special group of people from all initiatives interested in taking in forward

Feedback from participants was very positive, everyone would like to be more involved in cooperating not just during Fixfest, but in bringing the spirit of Fixfest in our on-going practices

Way forward
It was agreed that current Open Repair Alliance members should review its current structure to accommodate for the proposed changes. Anstiftung and Restart will cooperate with other current members which couldn’t attend Fixfest (Repair Cafe Foundation and Fixit Clinic) to find an appropriate way forward for the group. iFixit didn’t attend the unconference session, and due to their main interest in data, is likely to continue its involvement in this area, as an advisor (to be confirmed)

Fixfest regional events in 2020 :

  • Repair Fest in Leuven (Belgium) – will be organised by NBV on 27/28 March 2020. The Friday will involve a symposium/conference for the repair community, professional repairers, policymakers, retailers. The Saturday will be a public event, and organisers inspired by Fixfest Berlin would like to give it an international dimension too

  • Fixfest Scandinavia – this is not confirmed yet, but likely to take place in the first quarter of 2020, linked to Lund University in Sweden, more information will be provided by @Jessika_Richter

  • Fixfest UK – organised by Restart, likely to take place in autumn 2020, location and focus to be confirmed

Fixfest International 2021

After London and Berlin, we look forward to having a third international Fixfest in 2021 in a new country. If anyone has ideas on where and which organisation could lead, they should get in touch with the Open Repair Alliance and/or directly with previous organisers, Restart and Runder Tisch Reparatur.

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Workshop: Critical raw materials - info materials for schools and repair cafés

WS hold by me (Jana Rückschloss, Fraunhofer IZM)


  • participants check-in: If you have invented a time machine, what period in history would you visit first?
  • Introduction about CRMs (short presentation) and our work to create educational resources
  • group work:
    Create an ideal educational learning unit for the situation you have
    Find a catchy hook in one sentence
  • presentation of the ideas:
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Sorry, new users can only put one image in a post.

therefore in reply the next pictures:

European Right to Repair Campaign
The session introduced the launch of the European Right to Repair, what it entails, some of the challenges as well as opportunities. The EEB, European Environmental Bureau introduced the work that they have been doing in collaboration with the Restart Project to push the Right to Repair at a European level. Representatives from Schraube Locker (Germany), Restarters Norway, Italy, FTC, H.O.P also shared the work that they do to push the right to repair in the consciousness of their political representatives.

For details on the European Right to Repair and call for action : ICYMI: The European Right to Repair campaign

EEB - European Environmental Bureau
They shared the results from the work they did with the Right to Repair Campaign. They produced the Report 'Coolproducts don’t cost the Earth – Report. The report shine the lights on the true cost of planned obsolescence and and provide recommendations to increase the repairability of our everyday products and ensure they last longer.
The EEB and the Right to Repair shared that the EcoDesign Policy around the right to repair had been blocked and redrafted at the Council for Europe. They emphasis the importance to do national campaign to convince countries to support the right to repair.

Joyce - Schraube Locker is a campaign organisation in Germany -
They run a petition in September 2019 and receive 100 000+ signature. They also collaborated with EEB and the independent repair network in germany. Schraube Locker act as a ,ediator, collecting knowledge and motivations to support the repair movement.

Kaja _ Restarters Norway
Kaja shared the story of Henrik Huseby, a person who is being sued by Apple for trademark issues and how they are supporting him by promoting a gofunding campaign to pay for his legal fees. They collaborate with friends of the Earth, the Open Source movement and the agency for consumer right to push the right to repair campaign. Kaja emphasis that they are not part of the EU. Nevertheless, most directives from the EU apply in Norway. They are trying to be forward thinking and innovative in this field.

Sergio - Restarters from Italy
We learnt that one of the country blocking the right to repair at the Council of Europe was Italy. The Restarters, then, developed a campain in relation to that. They received a lot of support from TV radioes and newspaper. They drafted a law and petitioned the public. The law is being considered by the parliament. It is contributing to an accelaration and innovation that may push the EU as well to embrace the right to repair. The law demands for spare parts to be available for 7 years for all new products, to allow the access to everyone, not only professional repairers. They also ask for tax break on repairs like Sweden

Nathan Proctor - F.T.C. USA
Repair businesseses were at the forefront of the campaign. The campaign works across political affiliation. They support repair businesses by developing their leadership in addressing political questions. An interesting story was the one of a military technician who wrote to the Parliament about the repair process of a tank. The perspective from Nathan Proctor was to identify the stories that support the right to repair and to share them. Another soty was the cost of repair for hospital for example

Adele - H.O.P. (more details about the work that they do in later session)

We were then divided into group to discuss how we can support the repair further.
In my group, we discussed how we can reach repair professionals so they can support the repair movement. Kyle broadened our perspective to not only try to reach repair shops but also to consider approaching the people who maintain large infrastructures such as hospital, large companies, the agricultural sector. He indicated how IFIXIT joined some trade unions, developed relationships over few months to then introduce the notion that tackling the right to repair is important.