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Repair-Making: Craft, Narratives, Activism

Harvey, Bridget (2019) Repair-Making: Craft, Narratives, Activism. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Harvey, Bridget

Repair, practised throughout history, became outmoded in the 20th century by increased consumption. Although repair features in many making practices it is often not recognised as craft and skill in its own right. In this thesis episodes of studio practice, workshop facilitation, curation and protest explore contemporary repair cultures in London, in order to define Repair-Making; seeing it as a craft of its own, as creating and hiding narratives, and implicitly and explicitly relating to activism. Repair-Making is social as well as material: a field of exciting actions, communities and politics, changing objects, mindsets and habits.

Underpinned by a philosophical and material understanding of hope, the relationship between the researcher’s making and writing practices led to the use of autography as a practical and conceptual affinity between hand-writing and hand-making. The thesis is presented in an episodic structure that proposes new ways of constructing and organising practice-based writing for a researcher-maker.

Narratives of Repair-Making are discussed in the thesis through reflecting on key works by the author: from Blue Jumper (2012 ongoing), which demonstrates visible darning as critical and direct action; to Red Blanket, Blue Bowl (2013), evocative prototypes for storytelling - evotypes.

The discussion of Activism in the thesis begins with A Jumper To Lend (2014, 2015), which explores the openness of material knowledge. The Department of Repair (2015) focuses on the significance of objects and workshops in that exhibition. Other works here unpick the tensions between purchasing and RepairMaking; conscious construction as a route to later repairability; the author’s own acts of activism; and Hackney Fixers workshops as learning and reflective spaces.

In Craft, approaches to Repair-Making are explored. This includes how it relates to play; artefacts as material, medium and motivation; a deliberation on pace; and the characterisation of Repair-Makers and the Craft of Repair are discussed. Other works illustrate the relationship of Foucault’s Formation of Strategies to the discourse of repair.

Together these episodes define the practice of Repair-Making, offering a deepened understanding of the significance of narratives; expanding ideas of the activist repair-maker; and proposing repair as a unique craft within making practice.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

This thesis is restricted, contact UAL Research Online for more information.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: August 2019
Funders: AHRC
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 11:54
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 09:36
Item ID: 15906
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/15906

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