Monday, 13 October 2014

Restart party is a success!

Cambridge's first Restart Party took place at the Cambridge Computer Museum on the 30th September

The Restart Project is a social enterprise that helps people learn to repair their own electronics in community events called Restart Parties and in workplaces.

Would anyone turn up? Would we have enough repairers? Would people be grumpy if they had to wait for their phone/laptop/other electric device to be examined? Would people even find their way there OK? What if . . . You get the idea, I'm one of life's worriers, and if you are too, you'll recognise the mixed feeling of anticipation and anxiety that I experienced as I walked into the Cambridge Computer Museum to set up the welcome area for Cambridge's first Restart Party.

Of course, my worries were needless. Most of the repairers/restarters were all set up before I got there, 23 people turned up with faulty items and hardly had to wait at all to get their items examined, Janet Gunter (Restart Project Founder) came up from London to join in, Stuart Leithes from Anglia TV arrived to film the event and Jason Fitzpatrick from the museum got stuck in with some of the repairs. In short, the first Cambridge Restart Party was a great success.

There are some amazingly talented people in our community with specialised tools, knowledge and skills who are keen to share all these with those of us whose skills lie in other areas. Watching them made me think of an operating theatre, with phones, laptops, loudspeakers prone on a table, their internal organs exposed to the surgical probings of precision tools, eager interns watching, listening, learning and then having a go themselves.

My lasting impression of the evening won't be that X faults were diagnosed, Y items were repaired and Z advice was given. What I'll remember is the atmosphere in the museum . . . busy, co-operative, friendly and fun. People arrived not really knowing what to expect, but left happy and gave us great feedback.

The most asked question was "When's the next one?" We're not sure yet, but keep an eye on the (wonderful all new) Transition Cambridge website for details, or check out the Cambridge Repairers, Menders and Fixers Meetup group.

(Posted by Oscar on behalf of Kate Boursnell)

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