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Playlist "Electromagnetic Field 2018"

From making to maintaining

Laura James

Making is cool, but we talk and think a lot less about maintenance. Everything we make - software, hardware, communities - needs to be looked after, if it is useful. Sadly, maintaining, repairing and sustaining can be challenging in a fast-moving era, where this work can be seen as boring and low value, compared to the excitement around inventing or making new things. It is easy to forget that apps, data and connected systems need maintenance too, if they are to realise their potential and be useful or fun for more than a brief moment.

And it’s not always easy. It can be hard to find good resourcing models for long-lasting products, or for looking after new forms of shared infrastructure (such as open source software libraries). Strong commons models, where groups share and steward resources (whether the knowledge in Wikipedia or open hardware designs) are scarce or difficult to replicate.

We’ll talk about maintenance, good and bad examples of it, and what we are doing to recognise the work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for things that matter.