What is a Repair Café?
The event format of the Repair Café was first written and published by the Dutch publicist Martine Postma in 2009. Starting from the beginning, the basic idea of the execution and organization of a Repair Café was to counteract the general market scheme of competition – with cooperation and mutual communication. According to Postma, this concept builds on the logic of commons. More precisely, this means that knowledge of organization, advertising, execution, just like the learned and taught, including the used brandings, creates an entity. This entity forms a “product” created, maintained, and used together, which is supposed to be documented and sustainably preserved. Since products are created be people, they are pointless, if we do not use and protect them ourselves. The commons are made up of several basic components. On the one hand, each commons is based on natural resources – these can be objects from nature, bicycles or discoveries. On the other hand, each commons is a commons of knowledge – these resources have to be preserved, documented and cared for. Lastly, each commons is viewed as a social process, which has to impose its own rules for self-organization. A structured commons is unthinkable without people acting concretely according to rules.
Over the years the interest in Repair Cafés has increased strongly because of the social development, so good networking is required. So, currently, the „Anstiftung“ da wusste ich nicht, ob das ein Eigenname ist oder übersetzt werden soll coordinates the network for repair-initiatives in Germany – currently there are 1000 of them here. Others are in the start-up phase.
The Repair Café at the RUB
Repair Cafés generally see themselves as places of craft, learning and ecological education. It is important to note that these events are always non-commercial and mostly there for preserving the environment by avoiding waste. This saving of resources is an important step towards applied sustainability. The purpose does not only consist of professionally guided repair of (usually) electronic devices in a pleasant atmosphere. It is also about doing this collectively in the sense of sharing knowledge and life-long learning. Besides electronic devices we are concerned with mechanical household appliances, bicycles, (wooden) toys, clothes, computers, smartphones, and general consumer electronics. Next to repair, a Repair Café’s job is to point at the issues and dangers of a throwaway society, marked by short-lived consumption (see “planned obsolescence”), in a social environment. Additionally the visitors‘ knowledge of repair is supposed to be improved in order to strengthen circular economy. To convey this knowledge, it is essential that it is bundled – as many experts as possible have to be gathered for events in their respective fields. It is important to note that we work with unsalaried volunteers, who organize and arrange Repair Cafés in their free time, following the principle “help for self-help”. These volunteers do not accept that valuable human and natural resources are wasted. They become involved in the extension of the lifespan of consumer goods in order to encourage people to a more conscious and sustainable consumer behavior.
In corona times, we cannot organize big Repair Cafés, unfortunately. However, we offer you the opportunity of visiting us by yourself with your products that need repairing. For istance, you can come over with your mechanical household appliances, (wooden) toys, computers and laptops/Macbooks, smartphones and general consumer electronics for individual consultation and help. You just have to book an appointment at the bottom of the page. For bicycle repairs there is a separate workshop.
Wednesdays 11am-1pm & 2pm-6pm
Other questions and material donations: repaircafe [at] asta-bochum.de
Our premises are located in the “glass box” near the main university library, between STA Travel and the Spardabank. In order to get there, you leave the U35 at the station “Ruhr-Universität” and enter the campus using the U35-bridge. Then you walk straight ahead towards the library and on the right-hand side you already see the “glass box”. Here’s a map:
show larger map