Research Event: Making Repairs

Research Event: Making Repairs

Monday 17 February 2014 3:41pm - 3:42pm

Institute of Making

A group of repair enthusiasts from multiple disciplines gathered at the Institute of Making for a day-long workshop to interrogate the materials and technologies that make repair possible and the cultural imperatives that encourage it. Five speakers explored repair from different disciplinary perspectives and at all its different scales:

Rebecca Collins (Geography) started the day with a discussion of the reasons why we repair, explored through a study of teenagers and their ‘mindful mending’ practices. She focused on techniques that can be used to encourage repair, an in particular the roles that experimentation and access to spaces for tinkering can play in encouraging mending. 

Julia Stegemann (Civil Engineering) discussed cement as a proposed, but problematic, solution for environmental contamination, in which she reviewed the difficulties involved in encapsulating hazardous wastes in cementitious materials. 

Artist Celia Pym talked about her work with mending and darning, showing examples she’d brought with her of some of the worn and unraveled jumpers that she had painstakingly and repeatedly mended. These repairs were deliberately visible, made using differently coloured threads, exploring the mending of clothing as a demonstration of love, care and attention.

Kate Crawford (Civil Engineering) and Alice Samson (Archaeology) shared the conversations and discussions they had been having about what archaeological understandings of the ways in which people repaired, adapted and changed their houses in Pre-Columbian Caribbean could lend to humanitarian ideas of what people need from shelter in the present day. 

Kazim Pal (Centre for Digital Humanities) discussed digital techniques to remotely restore and read badly burnt and distorted vellum from historically significant documents like the Great Parchment Book.

Researchers got to have a go at transformative and inventive repair themselves in a hands-on 'bodging' session run by RCA graduate and designer Jasleen Kaur.

For more information about this event, see our blog post about the day.