how it started…..
The Breaks & Joins project, like most projects, began when some very separate thoughts collided. I discovered a repair café, led by Mo Sumah, in the Telegraph Hill Centre, which is very near to where I work for half of the week. I had begun to use the Crystal Palace Library of Things to borrow electrical equipment, like a sewing machine, a hedge trimmer, a carpet cleaner, because I don’t need to own these things and I was thinking about how to lessen my belongings and chuck less stuff away. But I also got interested in the language around mending, and the attitude. Mo’s foremost attitude is curiosity, as he delves into whatever people have brought for him to look at. The first time I met him he was mending someone’s child’s scooter. He was full of appreciation that this woman had already started investigating what was wrong with it, to the extent of ordering the spare part she needed. She just needed some help with the last stage. She spoke to us about her horror at the thought that if people didn’t mend their children’s scooters, there would be, somewhere a mountain of discarded scooters. “Where do people think they go?” she asked. Mo talked to us about his own feelings about how much is thrown away in London. His specialism is TV sets, and, when he finds one on the street he fixes it and redistributes it. So all of this, very much against the background of increasing awareness of the urgency of the Climate Emergency, began to speak to thoughts about how we can repair relationships, and how we can mend things in ourselves. I started to talk to collaborators, including Chick Blue Lowry, a film maker and facilitator, Raj Bhari, a peace builder and conflict resolution specialist, Rose Sinclair, a textiles expert, and Amanda Mascarenhas, a theatre designer passionate about reusing and recycling. Together we began to think about how we might engage with local communities in Lewisham to explore all of these links more closely. Writing in September 2021 it’s important to say that all this started before Coranavirus was part of our lives.
Our first step was to do a callout for films of people mending things, and I’ll talk about these in the next blog. You can view all of these on this website