Yesterday was the Festival of Maintenance in Liverpool. I went along and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of interesting talks and nice people. The theme was basically the maintenance of things, sometimes purely engineering-focused (e.g. bridges and potholes and data), and sometimes with a pretty lefty alternative economics, post-growth, social care focused thread running through it too.

It was at The Fashion Hub, a really awesome space in the old fashion district of Liverpool, with the excellent DoES makerspace just upstairs.

It was chock full of interesting things. I have loads of notes that I hope to digest and probably microblog about over the coming days, but a quick note of a few themes that formed for me:


Students need to learn more about maintenance and repair, not just how to make new things. Tom of Holland mentioned how textile repair used to be in most textbooks, but no more. Civil engineer Mujib Rahman mentioned how students come into university wanting to know how to build things, and with less interest on how to maintain things.

maintenance as care

I’ve thought before how social care can be kind of be seen as a form of maintenance in a fairly abstract sense. But I liked the point made by Juliet Davis about how maintaining something for someone can be seen as an act of care for the person, too.

patterns of maintenance

Common themes seemed to arise throughout the day – e.g. the importance of monitoring in maintenance. Chris Adams mentioned during the panel discussion that a pattern language of maintenance could be a useful resource – I agree. The ODI have just released their pattern catalogue of collaborative data maintenance, but there could be scope for a general pattern catalogue of maintenance techniques and considerations.

Festival of Maintenance 2019

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