The Inaugural MEND*RS Workshop
29th June – 2nd July
The Merzbarn, Elterwater, Cumbria


The Mending Research Symposium (MEND*RS) was formed in July 2011 as an interdisciplinary platform for sharing and exploring ideas, activities and scholarship based on the potential of mending.  Our main objective is to unite in a productive space individuals who practice and valorise mending. It was founded by Jonnet Middleton (University of Lancaster), Giuseppe Salvia (Politecnico di Milano) and Rebecca (Beck) Collins (University College London).

The Inaugural MEND*RS Workshop will bring together scholars and practitioners with an interest in mending for three days of informal exploratory discussions and activities in the unique setting of the Merzbarn in the Lake District.

Context: The Potential of Mending
It has been suggested that we inhabit a ‘throwaway society’ (Barr 2004; Cooper 2005), in which material objects are consigned to the dump with increasing rapidity and apparently little thought as to alternative or further use.  While the environmental implications of a culture of disposability are now well documented – growing resource scarcity and energy consumption as well as pressures on waste management – there are also important socio-cultural implications, such as the growing alienation of individuals from the material worlds they inhabit, and the disappearance of lay knowledges as well as whole livelihoods as manual craft skills die out.

Mending offers a means to address these challenges.  Mending allows personal material possessions to be recovered, offering them a unique second life.  Mended objects bear visible traces of their histories, embody stories of past and present owners, and are imbued with deep emotional value.  Mending is an activity which fosters personal knowledge, values, skills and self efficacy – and thus can be a source of profound satisfaction.  Finally, mending provides individuals with the means to foster deeper and longer lasting relationships with the artefacts of their everyday lives.

Manifesto
We believe in the potential for mending to offer a means of addressing contemporary ambivalence towards social and environmental challenges. Through MEND*RS, we aim to bring together those who share our enthusiasm for what mending has to offer to explore how we might bring about a new age of mending.  Our aspirations are set out in the MEND*RS Manifesto:

MAKE MENDING VISIBLE
MAKE MENDING VALUABLE
MAKE MENDING SOCIABLE
MAKE MENDING VITAL
MAKE MENDERS VISIBLE
MAKE MENDERS VALUABLE
MAKE THINGS MENDABLE
MAKE MORE MENDERS

Call For Participation
The Inaugural MEND*RS Workshop will be a combination of discussion and activities.  In order to engage with both scholars and practitioners of mending, we are issuing a call for participation.  We invite applications from anyone keen to participate in discussion, hands-on activities and the promotion of the MEND*RS network.

Submissions may take the form of a traditional academic paper, an interactive presentation, a position paper, a short film, a poster, or other innovative forms of presentation such as art or audio installation. Oral/film presentations will be allotted a maximum of 20 minutes.
Submissions may come from any academic discipline or professional background – our only stipulation is that the content should directly engage with the aims of MEND*RS and the aspirations of the MEND*RS manifesto.  Some suggested topics/themes can be found on the MEND*RS website under ‘Call for Participation’.

Places are limited so participants will be selected on the basis of the strength and relevance of their abstract, which should not exceed 300 words.  To apply, please send an abstract to mendrs.symposium@gmail.com by Friday 27th April.  In addition to an abstract, we would be grateful if applicants would submit a short (maximum 100 words) biography and a short statement outlining why you believe mending matters (maximum 100 words).

Location and Cost
The workshop will take place at the Merzbarn in the Lake District (Elterwater).  This location has been chosen for its compatibility with the aims of MEND*RS and should provide a particularly stimulating environment for discussion.  Participants are therefore encouraged to embrace the mood of the Merzbarn and actively take part in the semi-structured, participatory nature of the workshop activities, including the self-managed dinners and evening social events.

Travel and accommodation information will be made available on the MEND*RS website in due course.

The cost of attendance for all three days is:
Full-time employed Ł95
Part-time employed/student Ł45
Volunteers Ł20

Please note that this includes all meals but does not include accommodation.

The heavily discounted Volunteer rate will be available to a small number of participants who are willing to help us with the set up and logistics. Please let us know in your application if you would like to be a Volunteer.

We also hope to have a very small amount of funding available to offer modest travel bursaries to students attending.  Please let us know in your application if you would like to be considered for one of these.

For more information about MEND*RS, including a draft programme for the workshop, confirmed speakers and some suggested pre-reading, please visit www.mendrs.com.  For any immediate enquiries, please contact rebecca.collins@ucl.ac.uk

Nina Katchadourian, Mended Spiderweb #8 (Fish Patch). Photograph.