Design is deeply implicated in the challenge of managing waste in the twenty-first century. From hermetically sealed smartphones to fast-fashion, from brittle plastic appliances to cheap chipboard furniture, we now live in a throwaway culture that is globally networked in a seemingly opaque system of mass-produced imports and waste exports. This project opens up informed, realistic and meaningful public discourse about object and infrastructural repair practices, capacities and limitations in an Australian context. Pragmatic understanding of the relationship between repair and design is necessary for the development of stronger policy and richer design practice. By identifying and collaborating with key stakeholders including designers, researchers, NGOs, small businesses and local government, we reframe repair as a design practice, and in doing so openly acknowledge design’s culpability in environmental degradation and waste. While important scholarship on repair is already underway in Australia, design researchers have not yet made visible the networks of knowledge and practice and that make repair culture possible. The project links the Australian design context with global repair discourse.
Repair: Designing Networks of Knowledge & Visibility is a collaborative project in early planning stages (commenced April 2019)
Project CI: Dr Jesse Adams Stein
Project AIs: Dr Alexandra Crosby, Dr Katherine Scardifield, Clare Cooper, Dr Tom Lee
Industry Partner: The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre, Sydney
Advisors: Prof Cameron Tonkinwise, Assoc Prof Jason de Santolo, Stefan Lie, Rachael Wakefield-Rann