OTHER VARIATIONS ON THE REPAIR CAFE IDEAS ACROSS THE GLOBE
Community Repair Events across the country and around the globe have different emphases and take various forms.
The common and critical objectives are teaching and emboldening people to fix their own things; encouraging a shift in how we think about our possessions; and raising awareness around the profound impact extending the life of what we already have makes.
The common format is volunteers who know how to fix things getting together with people who don’t to bring broken things back to life.
The common thing that a Community Repair Event is not: They are NOT free repair services. People are involved, participating, not leaving their broken items for someone else to take care of for free. We’re in this together.
Speaking very generally, beyond those critical commonalities are slightly different emphases and structures:
- Fixit Clinics lean into educating and empowering people to fix things themselves and has a strong STEM orientation. As of February 2018 there had been over 400 Fixit Clinic events across the US.
- Repair Cafes are more heterogeneous, often leaning into community building around fixing. Some Repair Cafés encourage people to fix their own things; in others, volunteer fixers repair items in the presence of participants. Repair Cafés frequently incorporate other elements, such as children’s tinker zones, ecology resource libraries, social bars offering coffee, tea, bagels and croissants; and even massage and blood pressure stations. (Repair Cafe International Foundation was founded in 2009 in Amsterdam to support communities develop initiatives. As of April 2018 there were over 1500 affiliated groups worldwide, each holding multiple events.) Repair Cafe Palo Alto and Hudson Valley Repair Cafe are good examples.
- The Restart Project works exclusively with electronics, teaching people how to repair their own electronics at Restart Parties and offering considerable online resources to do so. (There are over 20 groups in the UK and on the Continent holding ongoing “parties”.)
Many other unaffiliated groups host variations on the theme. For example: