Fixperts is a social project and open knowledge sharing platform about fixing. Professor Daniel Charney started the project and their vision is that they want everyone in the world to feel that they can fix ‘stuff’ and solve problems. They believe that the design process applied to small fixing challenges has the potential to give people the insight and confidence to find solutions for themselves and others.
The way it works is that you need to be part of a team that includes a designer or maker, who are called ‘Fixperts’ - these are lovely people that want to apply their imagination and skills to solve a problem through fixing - a storyteller who is called the ‘Fixfilm-maker’, who is able to capture the process and translate the conversations and experiments into a mini-documentary to share the journey with others, and most importantly someone with a fixing challenge, who are called the ‘Fix-partners’. These lovely people are happy to invite a Fixpert into their lives.
Machines Room was created by Thomas Ermacora and is operated by a team with both technical and artistic backgrounds. The space especially welcomes creative projects from makers, designers, artists and hardware startups. Being a part of the Creativity Works course allowed me to work with Machines Room for a week developing problem solving skills and techniques while working closely in groups with our Fix-partners. Fix-partners usually arrive with a product that needs solving that is either broken, needs adapting or re-designing.
In a team of 4 Fixperts, our Fixpartner, Clare, wanted us to develop a cup holder for her so she was able to use it on her wheelchair. Clare discussed with us that she wanted a holder that she was able to use on her chair without allowing for any spillages. We experimented with making a series of prototypes, some failing but mostly succeeding, until we came up with our end products which had been laser cut out of plastic and then heat-formed into the shape required. Throughout our process we had been recording each step of the way so that viewers were able to see the final outcome documented as a ‘Fixfilm’. We were then able to send our final prototype to Clare and capture her reaction for the film.
Overall this was a lovely way of documenting and storytelling a whole design process, being able to work so closely with our end user, which was then exhibited to the rest of the group and others who had helped along the way for a final showcase viewing at Somerset House.