Citizen-Science-Project: REPARA/KUL/TUR

This citizen science project studies repair and making activities within community-based workshops in Germany, and is led by Melanie Jaeger-Erben and Sabine Hielscher, ZTG, TU Berlin, Germany

Around the world, diverse groups of people are repairing, making and fixing things together in community-based workshops. Equipped with versatile making and fixing technologies and tools, global networks of workshops, like Repair-Café and Makerspaces, provide facilities for experimenting with, for instance, putting the circular economy into practice. These workshops are spreading rapidly. They are said to change people’s relationships with their products that allow for autonomy from existing consumption and production systems. They can also be seen as places of knowledge exchange and mutual learning regarding issues of sustainable design and consumption. Whether such changes actually materialise with the acquisition of repair and DIY practices, and how these practices can be successfully be integrated into people’s daily lives, is still little explored.

Making use of a co-design approach, partners from the ‘REPARA(KUL)TUR’ project, together with citizen scientists from the repair and DIY workshops, aim to research how repair and DIY practices can be successfully adopted and integrated into everyday life and how the relationship between people and their products might change over time. By integrating repair activities into people’s everyday lives, people potentially gain an awareness of today’s resource intensive production processes and create longer lasting and caring relationships with their products. At the same time, people acquire competences that make them more independent from current consumption patterns.

Current social science methods are of limited use to study everyday repair activities. This is why this project aims to further develop methods, collaboratively with the repair and DIY movement that aid the process of making visible daily life experiences and knowledge related to repairing and making. Grounded on these findings, discussion and realisations, common strategies and future visions will be developed to examine how repair and making practices can be strengthened within society.

The ZTG team will be coordinating the project, whilst at the same time co-designing a citizen science method. Find out more at

Dr. Melanie Jaeger-Erben,
+ 49 030-314 21084

Dr. Sabine Hielscher

Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft (ZTG), Technische Universitaet Berlin

In partnership with Institut fuer Sozialinnovation e.V., BUND Berlin, Verbund offener Werkstätten, BUND-Repair-Café, Hei – Haus der Eigenarbeit, Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis
Funded by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BmBF) (2017-2019)

Advisory board

  • Prof. Martin Charter,  University for the Creative Arts. UCA Farnham, Surrey/ UK
  • Frank Becker,  kubus – der Wissenschaftsladen der TU Berlin, Brunnenviertel Repair Cafés, ReUse-Initiativen (ReUse e.V.)
  • Tom Hansing, anstiftung
  • Dr. Kathrin Vohland,  Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Citizen Science Plattform ‘Bürger schaffen Wissen’
  • Prof. Wolfgang Heckl,  Deutsches Museum
  • Dr. Rüdiger Haum, Futurium gGmbH