Design is deeply implicated in the urgent challenge of reducing waste in the twenty-first century. From hermetically sealed smartphones to fast fashion, from brittle plastic appliances to cheap chipboard furniture, we are living in a throwaway culture that is globally networked in a seemingly opaque system of mass-produced imports and waste exports. This, combined with planned obsolescence and technological complexity, means that repair can seem a distant and difficult possibility.

The Repair Design project opens up informed, realistic and meaningful public discourse about repair practices, capacities and limitations in an Australian context. This research reframes repair as a design practice, and in doing so openly acknowledges design’s culpability in environmental degradation and waste. Understanding the relationship between repair and design is necessary for the development of stronger policy, for more responsible design practice and for the open sharing of material knowledge and digital information.

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