The Restart Party Kit

restart-party-kit

#1

So you want to host your own Restart Party? Great news. They’re super fun, super radical and super hands on. :wrench:

If you haven’t thrown a Restart Party before, we know it can seem a little daunting. So we’ve put together this kit full of information, resources and tips on making your event a success.

To throw your own party, just read through the following sections:

  1. What is a Restart Party?
  2. How to run a Restart Party.
  3. Keeping your party safe.
  4. Measuring the impact of your event.
  5. The end.

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About the Repair in your community category
Improving practices in community repair: make it inclusive
#2

1. What is a Restart Party?

A Restart Party is a free community event where volunteers help people learn how to fix their broken electronic devices and small appliances, to save them from going to waste.

We call them parties because they have a fun, spontaneous spirit, where participants bring food and music, and people can meet, mingle and share. Parties happen in different types of venue – from pubs to churches to art galleries – and typically last three hours.

Anyone can throw a Restart Party, anywhere. All we ask is that you stick to some simple guidelines:

  • Offer free entry to the public (though a donation can be suggested).
  • Promote a collaborative learning process (everyone can learn something - even the people doing the teaching!).
  • Fix other stuff if you like, but make sure you have at least 3-4 electronics repairers.
  • Tell us about it beforehand, and share the results.
  • Be insured! The Restart Project is not liable for events we don’t organise ourselves. If you haven’t got Public Liability Insurance, please work with a group that has.

You don’t have to call them Restart Parties – people call them repair cafes, too. We just feel ‘Restart Party’ has a little more oomph!

1.b) Why host a Restart Party?

E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams across the world. We know the pace of our consumption has real social and environmental costs. And we know people are frustrated with the throwaway culture around them.

But we can do something about it. There are people in your community who already know how to fix these things – and other people who want to learn. By bringing them together in a Restart Party, you can have an immediate impact on e-waste in your area, as well as helping in the fight for more sustainable products in the long term.

We can’t just wait for greener, more ethical products to appear. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

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#3

2. How to run a Restart Party.

Hosting a Restart Party is a piece of cake. Follow this simple recipe for your first party – then experiment and change as you get more confident.

2.a) Recipe for a Restart Party.

Prep Time.
Organising a venue (including scouting for locations) – 3-5 hours.
Recruiting and publicising – 2 hours

Fixing Time
3 hours. Remember – no new fixes during the last hour, in order to give enough time to get everything finished.

Ingredients
You’ll need:

  • A good venue (see below)
  • Basic tools (see below)
  • Extension leads (you can never have too many)
  • Masking or gaffa tape to tape the extension leads down
  • A waiting list (this can be a poster or a whiteboard - and will help you measure your impact, later).
  • Wayfinding signs (to direct people)
  • 3-4 Restarter fixers
  • 2 party hosts
  • Name tags or name badges
  • Tea, coffee, drinks and snacks

For a good venue

  • 5 large tables and chairs
  • Adequate power outlets
  • Decent lighting
  • WiFi or mobile internet access
  • Accessibility
  • Access to toilet

Method

  • Ask your fixers (and other volunteers) to arrive before you open, to get set up.
  • Set up the space to help with the flow of people. You’ll need a space for waiting, and separate repair stations for each of your fixers.
  • Use your signs to show people where to sign-in, find the toilets, make tea and find snack. Set up the kettle, lay out your biscuits.
  • Open!
  • Hosts should greet people, ask them questions about their devices to work out what’s wrong, and check-in repairs on the public waiting list (which will come in handy later).
  • Hosts then match each repair to a fixer with the right skills – and the fixers get working!
  • Where possible, cluster repairs - for example, have all mobile repairs in one area.
  • While waiting, people will snack, chat, and share their experiences. Everyone can learn and teach from everyone else.
  • Remember, not every repair will be successful. Some people will probably need to go away, find a spare part, and come back to the next party. But it’s the attempt to fix things that counts.

Tools & Supplies
Restarters in London have compiled a list of suggested tools and supplies on the Restart Wiki. You don’t need to have everything on the list to conduct a successful Restart Party, but every bit helps.

Note: this is very much a work in progress: if you have additional suggestions, please get in touch.

2.b) Finding Fixers.

If you or your group want to host a party, but don’t know how to fix things yourself, you’ll need to find some people who can. Ask at community events, hackspaces, electronic shops and schools – or just put up some posters in your community.

You’ll find fixers have all sorts of different skills. Some can help with the basics like changing plugs; some can deal with software issues; others will take on intricate repairs with a soldering iron. But as long as they’re up for taking on a challenge, and helping people learn how to do it themselves, they’re all welcome at a Restart Party!

Even if you only have a few Restarters at your first party, don’t worry – more will appear. If you host it, they will come.

2.c) Promoting your party

Next stop is to get people to come. We’d recommend using as many ways as possible to get people there.

Email
People who are active in communities still use email lists as the best way to keep in touch. Try to get your event announced on as many relevant lists as possible. Remember, it’s not just green or tech lists that can help – local residents associations and community venues can help spread the word, too.

Posters and flyers
Simple black and white posters and flyers are effective. Be sure to ask to display these in shops, libraries, and other public spaces in your local community. You can also put flyers through people’s front doors in the area around your venue.

Websites
List your event on as many websites as possible: your own, the venue’s, the Restart Project’s, and the websites of local community groups.

Social media
Social media is a cheap and easy option. Many groups advertise their events on sites such as Meetup, Facebook, or other platforms. We’d still recommend email lists and posters first though – because they take a little more effort, people will respond better.

Local press
Mainstream or local media could be helpful, you might consider sending a press release, particularly to local newspapers.

2.d) A word on names and logos

We call ourselves ‘The Restart Project’, and we want to see Restart Parties spreading far and wide. The idea is that as many organisations as possible host their own parties, and recruit volunteers from their communities to run them.

It’s important to note, though, that we’re not asking you to set up local chapters of the Restart Project! So if you want to use our names and logos, please bear the following in mind:

  • DO call your event a Restart Party! It’s a good name, and will help people to understand what you’re trying to do.

  • DO use the Restart Party logo on your banner or poster.

  • DO indicate which local organisations are hosting and sponsoring (in your posters and banners)

  • DO use Patua One, a free font download, if you can.

  • DO NOT imply your event is run by the Restart Project.

  • DO NOT use our logo on its own randomly, or add to it (the designers will get upset).

  • DO NOT squash the logo or change its colour

Restarters Wanted

You will find that some people self-identify as Restarters, and that you need a pool of Restarters to power a Restart Party, or to power a local repair cafe. We provide some visual elements to recruit and motivate Restarters online and in real life.

Use these to recruit people, including on social media and online. You can also include your location…


You can pick your favorite colour and use as profile photo on social networks.

Files for download

We have gathered all the communication material you will need to run your Restart Party in a downloadable bundle. Inside you will find the following:

  1. Registration sign
  2. Restart lounge sign
  3. Fixing table sign
  4. Wayfinding poster
  5. Restart Party rules
  6. Event promo poster

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#4

3. Keeping your party safe

Every public event carries with it some risk. However, we can reduce this risk by thinking about safety in advance. Please follow these tips:

DO’s

  • DO make sure you have public liability insurance. Please don’t host a Restart Party without it. If you do don’t have your own insurance, you could join forces with an existing community group who do, and check that it covers you before you start

  • DO put disclaimers on your online announcements, and on all of the tables at your party. You’ll find some text for these below.

  • DO designate one Restarter as your Safety Volunteer - somebody with more experience, particularly with electricals. This volunteer plays a role before and during Restart Parties. Make sure new Restarters sit next to this person!

  • DO make sure that your Restarters read (and sign) the technical safety guidelines, which you’ll find here (LINK).

  • DO safety test your equipment before it leaves a Restart Party. We encourage groups to look into acquiring safety-testing equipment when they have the resources. Standards are different in each country.

  • DO ask us any questions that aren’t answered here. We have more in-depth information on liability and risk. If this is a concern to you, please contact us directly.

DON’Ts

  • DON’T do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. This goes for everything - from fixes you don’t feel confident with, to conversations or people you don’t feel comfortable with. Always ask your other Restarters for help.

  • DON’T let anyone drink or take drugs at your event. Electrics can be dangerous – it’s important that everyone is alert. (It’s not that sort of party).

Disclaimer & safety guidelines

We suggest printing out these for each table at your party:

We’re happy to help you learn how to repair.

We are not repair professionals, and Restart Parties are a community self-repair space.

Attending means that you take responsibility for your own gadget. Please back up your data.

Please donate to support our work!

This is available for download, here.

New Volunteers and Safety

If you’re welcoming new Restarters/fixers to volunteer at your party, please direct them to the Technical Safety Guidelines. Make sure they’ve read and signed a copy.

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#5

4. Measuring Your Party’s Impact

We aim to keep a detailed log of all the fixes we attempt –successful or not – at every repair event in the Restarter Network, across the world.

Measuring the impact of each party is critical for our wider mission of ‘fixing our relationship with electronics’. From this data, we calculate the social and environmental impact of what we do - and generate the information and insights we need to argue for changes in the way electronics are designed.

At the event

At every Restart Party, you’ll have a waiting list of people, devices and problems, normally written on a flip-chart. The good news is, you can also use this to record the data we need!

For each event, we aim to record details of:

  • The device, including the make and model number (taking a photo is often helpful);
  • The problem or issue the device is experiencing;
  • Whether or not the fix was successful, or, if a fix could be successful but was not able to be completed, details on why
  • Any additional comments

This is often done on a simple flip chart, though some people have forms or pre-registration of devices, to speed up this process. After each fix, each participant is encouraged to check out with the event host and share any feedback about their experience of the repair and the party. This data is important too!

After the event - The Fixometer (part of restarters.net)

The Fixometer is our tool to calculate the social and environmental impact of community repair events. It’s also the engine behind this site, restarters.net.

Once your event is over, you can use the Fixometer to record the number of fixes and participants, and calculate the amount of waste and carbon dioxide emissions prevented. We can then produce statistics on our work in ways that are both understandable and engaging.

Any group active in repairing electronics –Restarters, community groups, makerspaces, repair cafes, schools and other educational institutions, and more– is welcome to make use of the Fixometer and measure their impact. You can also use it to chat to other Restarters, and get support for hosting your event. You can sign up here.

For more information about the Fixometer or the wider restarters.net platform, please message @james.

Useful links

Read more about the Fixometer
Read the Fixometer Users Guide for Restart Party Hosts

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#6

5. The end

Congratulations! If you follow this guide, you’ll have thrown a Restart Party to remember. You’ve played a small part in changing our relationship with electronics, and lessening our collective environmental footprint. Humans of the future say: thank you. :tada:

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#7