REPAIR is THE FUTURE conference – speaker bios

We are delighted to welcome the following speakers at the REPAIR is THE FUTURE conference held on the 27th March 2020 in Leuven:

10:00 Keynote

Tine De Moor

Tine De Moor, professor Institutions for Collective Action in Historic Perspective at Utrecht University (NL), will critically position the Repair movement in broader societal developments, both in the past and present.

How did the practice of repairing consumption goods evolve over time? How have we reached the current situation where repairing has become a nearly disruptive, yet much needed, activity? And how can the repair movement be connected to other social and economic trends that strive towards sustainability?

photo © Willeke Machiels

11:00 Parallel sessions

Session A. Never take broken for an answer: how to cross the thresholds for repair

Adèle Chasson

HOP – Halte à l’Obsolescence programmée (FR) was created in 2015 following the introduction of the offence of programmed obsolescence in the Consumer Code in France. Its aim is to combat the programmed obsolescence of products marketed in all its forms through investigations and legal action. In particular, it has filed a complaint against Epson and Apple. It also works to influence public authorities and manufacturers to promote the durability and reparability of products.

Adèle Chasson is a policy officer at HOP (stop planned obsolescence), a French NGO founded in 2015 that gathers a community of over 40.000 people for more durable and repairable products. It mainly aims to raise awareness on obsolescence, influence public policy and companies towards a more durable production and consumption model.

Tom Thysen

Test Aankoop / Test Achats (BE) is a consumer organisation, independently informing, defending and representing Belgian consumers.
It launched a platform, ‘Te Rap Kapot’ (‘broken too quickly’), which allows consumers to report their broken products. In 2019, this platform was expanded to other European countries in the context of the PROMPT project.

Tom Thysen will present Test Achats’ Premature obsolescence reporting tool, its goals in the context of the EU-funded PROMPT project and share some first insights based on the collected data.

Eva van Velzen

Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken (BE) inspires and motivates people to a simple and sustainable lifestyle. It questions the value of property and the need for new purchases. Our activities stimulate the reuse, repair and sharing of things. As a network, we connect organisations and individuals in innovative cooperation initiatives. In addition, we challenge public opinion to work together to orient our value pattern towards what makes us happy.

Eva van Velzen is project manager for Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken. For the last two years, she has been working on the citizen science project Repairable, researching the repairability of items and the bottlenecks consumers and repairers experience in repairing something. Eva will present the outcome of the research, including proposals and recommendations for industry, companies, government and consumers.

Inez Louwagie

Repair&Share (BE) aims to improve the quality, repairability and lifespan of products. The organisation gives oxygen to projects, citizens initiatives and companies that contribute to the lifetime extension and the sharing of products.

Inez Louwagie is coordinator for Repair&Share.

Session B. Let’s save the Repair business, shall we?

Yoko Dams

VITO (BE) is an independent Flemish research organization in the area of cleantech and sustainable development. VITO has coordinated and participated in several national and European research projects in the areas of circular economy, eco-design, resource efficiency and waste management and still is.

Yoko Dams is innovation team lead and expert at VITO. As a member of the sustainable materials team, she uses economic models, life cycle cost assessment methods, statistical methods and data science to generate evidence based insights in the dynamics of circular economy strategies for public authorities and for industry. As research team lead, she is responsible for setting up and realizing the research roadmap on datafication. Currently she is supporting the European Environmental Agency by quantifying economic and environmental impacts from consumption-production trends of electronic products.

Ward Dumon

Servilux (BE) is an independent repair service for TV, DVD, audio, video, hi-fi and household appliances. The company wants to give a sustainable answer to a society that increasingly used to throwing things away. It extends the life of a device, and in doing that it swims against the prevailing current. Servilux promises to do everything in its power to get a defective device back in perfect condition as quickly as possible, by repairing it at home or in its own workshops.

Ward Dumon is the CEO of Servilux.

Karel Van Acker

Karel Van Acker is professor in Circular Economy at KU Leuven (BE). His research is on developing strategies to realise the circular economy and on sustainability assessments of these CE strategies, including amongst others recycling, materials substitution, sharing economy. He leads the policy research centre “Circular economy” for the Flemish government and currently is the chairman of the Sustainability Council of KU Leuven. He will talk about the contribution of the repair economy to circular economy, analysing and comparing the economic effects of different repair business models.

Olivier Beys

Olivier Beys is policy officer on circular economy for Bond Beter Leefmilieu (short: BBL, BE), the umbrella organisation for environmental NGO’s in Flanders. He is also founder of Tournevie, a tool library that provides and promotes the shared use of repairable, high-quality tools to citizens in Brussels.

Session C. How to repair the flaws of product design?

Ernestas Oldyrevas

ECOS – the European Environmental Citizen’s Organisation for Standardisation, promotes and defends environmental interests in the development of standards at European and international level, as well as in the development of technical environmental product policies.

Ernestas Oldyrevas, program manager, will present the sustainable product policy work of ECOS with a particular focus on consumer electronics. He will demonstrate the role that policy-makers at the EU level can play in making product design more amenable to repair, and discuss the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

Ellen Bracquene

Ellen Bracquene, researcher at KU Leuven – Centre for Industrial Management (BE), will present recently developed methods to evaluate product repairability. She will also reveal recent research conducted in collaboration with repair centrers on the application of those methods.

Maja Van Der Velden

Maja Van Der Velden is Associate Professor at the University of Oslo (NO) – Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Her research is focused on the design and impact of emerging technologies, in particular the interaction of technologies with people, societies and planet, with sustainability impacts of electronics design, youth and health informatics, and the impacts of digitalization on local knowledges as special interests. Informed by Science and Technology Studies, Systems Thinking, and Critical Theory of Technology, she pursues topics in the field of design, human computer interaction, and information systems.

Joost Duflou

Joost Duflou is professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven (BE). His principal research activities are situated in the field of design support methods and methodologies, with special attention for Ecodesign and Life Cycle Engineering, and Sustainable Manufacturing.

13:30 Plenary sessions


David Dessers

The City of Leuven (BE) has an urban strategy to speed up the transition to a circular city by focusing on 5 priority areas, one of which is ‘reuse, share and repair’. Repair and share initiatives are strongly embedded in the Leuven ecosystem. In recent years, a network of repair cafes has been developed, where citizens themselves put circular economy into practice. A network organization was set up, Maakbaar Leuven, aiming to strengthen a local repair economy. And the citizens’ initiative MAAKbar created a strong dynamic by offering a place where citizens can repair and share things by setting up a tool library and organizing all kinds of workshops.

David Dessers is deputy mayor for mobility, climate and sustainability, agriculture and consumption of the City of Leuven.

Repair & Empowerment / Right to Repair

Corine van Kelecom

Corine van Kelecom is a volunteer at MAAKbar (BE), a meeting place for sharing, repairing and reuse in Leuven. She coordinates two projects aiming at strengthening the skills and social network of people in a difficult social or economic position. One project focuses on single and vulnerable mothers. The other project aims to increase the job opportunities of people who are disadvantaged in the labour market by offering them training and volunteer roles in the Repair Café and tool library of MAAKbar.

Joren Verschaeve

HERW!N (BE) is a collective of circular social entrepreneurs. Leaving no one behind is the core of its mission. How? By regaining talents, regaining resources and preparing for reuse. Herwin represents nearly 10,000 employees and more than 100 companies and organisations with a social circular mission e.g. Kringwinkels (thrift stores), organic farms, green maintenance companies, social restaurants.

Joren Verschaeve is a policy officer circular economy at HERW!N. As such, he is represents the interests of the members of HERW!N vis-à-vis other stakeholders with an eye on mainstreaming social circular entrepreneurship in general, and reuse, repair and upcycling in particular.

Rosalie Heens

Rosalie Heens is a project officer at Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken (BE). Her focus is on social inclusion in sharing and repairing initiatives. She’s also involved in the Right to Repair campaign and its Flemish counterpart Recht op Repareren.

Right to Repair Europe is a coallition campaign of more than 30 organisations from 12 European countries active around the cause of repair. The campaign represents community repair groups, social economy actors, self repair and any citizen who would like to advocate for their right to repair. It’s pushing for a universal Right to Repair both at EU and national level by asking for products designed to be repaired, fair access to repair including access to spare parts and repair manuals for everyone and information on product repairability. Recently it launched the #LongLiveMyPhone campaign to ask for longer lasting and more repairable smartphones.

Chloé Mikolajczak is the campaigner for the Right to Repair campaign. She coordinates the efforts of members and supporters across Europe and both at grassroot and policy level.

Carol Debruyn

Cera (BE) is a cooperative of 400.000 members. The cooperative values of cooperation, solidarity and respect for all have underpinned its entrepreneurship for more than 125 years. Cera supports over 700 social projects every year.

Caro Debruyn is the coordinator at Cera for the national projects that aim to fight poverty and promote social inclusion.

14:30 Parallel sessions

D. Information is key: data collection for the repair community

Ugo Vallauri

The Restart Project, based in London (UK), is a people-powered social enterprise that aims to fix our relationship with electronics. The Restart Project was born in 2013 out of the frustration with the throwaway, consumerist model of electronics and the growing mountain of e-waste that it’s leaving behind. By bringing people together to share skills and gain the confidence to open up their stuff, The Restart Project gives people a hands-on way of making a difference, as well as a way to talk about the wider issue of what kind of products we want.

Ugo Vallauri is the Policy Leader and Co-founder of The Restart Project. He will present his organisation’s work on challenges and opportunities collecting, sharing and analysing citizen data from community repair events. Together with partners from the Open Repair Alliance, Restart has made available open data from over 30,000 repairs. He’ll facilitate a session exploring the role that open repair data can have to push forward research and policy-making on Right to repair.

Martine Postma

The Repair Monitor (NL) is a tool to collect and share repair data.

Martine Postma is a Dutch environmentalist and former journalist. She has written a great deal about sustainability and environmental issues, with a special focus on waste reduction and prevention. She is best known for introducing the concept of Repair Café in 2009 and has been busy spreading the Repair Café concept worldwide since. At this moment there are more than 2,000 local Repair Café groups in 36 countries across the globe. She also runs the Repair Monitor, a tool for data collection at repair meetings.

E. Is the future of repair Cooperative?

Hannes Hollebecq

Cera (BE) is a cooperative of 400.000 members. The cooperative values of cooperation, solidarity and respect for all have underpinned its entrepreneurship for more than 125 years. Cera takes up a role in informing, advising and inspiring people, organizations and policy on co-operative businesses.

Hannes Hollebecq, advisor cooperative entrepreneurship at the Belgian cooperative Cera, will present the cooperative business model as a possible way of designing your repair activity.

Tine De Moor

Tine De Moor is professor Institutions for Collective Action in Historic Perspective at the Utrecht University (NL).

F. New local repair ecosystems on the rise?

David Dessers

The City of Leuven (BE) has an urban strategy to speed up the transition to a circular city by focusing on 5 priority areas, one of which is ‘reuse, share and repair’.

David Dessers is deputy mayor for mobility, climate and sustainability, agriculture and consumption of the City of Leuven.

Markus Piringer

The Repair Network Vienna (AT), founded in 1999, aims at preventing waste and promoting a sustainable use of resources by prolonging the lifespan of products, facilitating the search for high quality repair services in Vienna, preserving jobs and know how in the repair-sector in Vienna. The network holds at about eighty member companies in and around Vienna, specialised in high quality repair services. The member companies have to meet defined criteria to ensure quality standards in repair services. The network members carry out more than 76.000 repairs per year, which corresponds to about 1.280 tons of waste prevented every year.
The Repair Network Vienna is a project of Die Umweltberatung Wien and is supported by the City of Vienna.

Markus Piringer is the manager of the repair network Vienna, active in the environmental movement since 1995.

Erik Béatse

Maakbaar Leuven is a platform of over 40 organisations that support a citizen-driven repair economy in the Leuven city-region. It is based on bottom-up citizen actions such as Repair Cafés and its mission is to share knowledge, expertise, and tools for repair, and to develop the Leuven repair eco-system.

Erik Béatse is engaged as a freelancer in Maakbaar Leuven. He deals with the challenge to set up collaborations with different organisations, companies and knowledge institutions and with the challenge to develop new business models according to the mission and vision of Maakbaar Leuven.

Jan Mertens

Jan Mertens is a staff member of the Belgian Federal Council for Sustainable Development. In Leuven he is the coordinator of the “Platform Leuven Circulair”. This platform brings together the city administration, the University of Leuven, network Maakbaar, Leuven 2030 and Leuven Mindgate. The platform guides the implementation of the recently adopted Leuven circular city strategy.

16:00 Plenary Session

Cie Tartaren (BE) is a social-artistic theatre company that embraces imperfection and celebrates fragility. Its theatre pieces are sometimes raw and confrontational but always authentic and genuine.

Meerminder is a vision of another world where people get more out of less.