Repair Economy Summit 2021: Who has the right to repair your possessions?

Submitted by Stephen Shrader for the San Juan Makers Guild.

The San Juan Makers Guild attended the Repair Economy Summit 2021: Connecting for Inspiration on Saturday, December 4. Others attending the Washington-based, five-hour virtual gathering, included fixers, makers, tool librarians, as well as staff or volunteers with associated groups, policymakers, workforce education advocates, and those just getting started with repair, share, or maker projects from as far away as Africa and Taiwan. The agenda included:

• Silver Linings – Highlighting surprising wins from the past year

• Reflecting and Engaging Our Communities – Getting community and volunteer engagement right

• Practical Matters – Troubleshooting common challenges in repair events, tool libraries, and makerspaces

• Just Getting Started? – Q&A for emerging initiatives with opportunities for peer-mentorship

• Repair Economy Roadmap: What Is and What Could Be?- Exploring creative collaborations and aligning our efforts for greater impact

• Policy Updates & Organizing – What’s happening with Right-to-Repair and how to get involved

Among the outstanding featured speakers/teachers was Nikyta Palmisani, Training, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Lopez Solid Waste. Her presentations featured the ReMakery there as an example of both ‘what it can look like’ as well as a ‘systems’ teaching tool. You can learn much more here:

Most State legislatures have considered ‘Right to Repair’ laws, and something was introduced here in Washington last January, but didn’t pass. Policy issues, and ways to engage with this concern, are laid out at Work is also underway in the Biden administration to remove barriers to having access to information, parts and tools to repair our own possessions.

A common persistent concern for tool libraries is liability; a near term future meeting is being planned to focus on the issue.

Key organizations planning the event were: Share Reuse Repair Initiative (B.C.), South King Tool Library, Phinney Fixer Collective, Zero Waste Washington, Repair Café Port Townsend, The ReMakery & Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District, NE Seattle Tool Library, Repair Clark County and Tacoma Tool Library.