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, 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

Tom Thysen

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.

Test Aankoop / Test Achats is the Belgian Consumer organisation, independently informing, defending and representing consumers.
They 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.

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.

Eva van Velzen

Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken 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.

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

Yoko Dams

VITO 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 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.

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), 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.

13:30 Plenary sessions


Thomas Van Oppens

The City of Leuven 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.

Thomas Van Oppens is Deputy mayor for HR organisation, waste disposal, IT, student affairs and animal welfare of the City of Leuven.

Repair & Empowerment

Corine van Kelecom

Corine van Kelecom is a volunteer at MAAKbar, 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

Joren Verschaeve is a policy officer at Herwin, a collective of circular social entrepreneurs.

Rosalie Heens

Rosalie Heens is a project officer at Netwerk Bewust Verbruiken. Her focus is on social inclusion in sharing and repairing initiatives. She’s also involved in the Right to Repair campaign.

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.

E. Is the future of repair Cooperative?

Hannes Hollebecq

Cera is a Belgian cooperative of 400.000 members existing more than 125 years, taking 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. He will demonstrate that there is no such thing as ‘the cooperative model’ but that their different, 4 major, types of cooperatives which all are worth looking for the repair sector. And off course, that’s it is not a miracle business model: there are some crucial conditions and risks you have to challenge.

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?

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.