Repair Acts is a pluralistic, artist-led research programme that explores repair, care, maintenance and healing cultures.

Calling Into The Now, Dillon, 2021. Image credit Felipe Schmidt Fonseca.

Challenging the dominant narratives around ideas of ‘growth’, consumption and waste, our work reconsiders how we design, make and build things in the first place, so that they can last longer, be of better quality, support local livelihoods and wisdoms and respect the earth.

We explore such ideas by making and building art installations, performances and exhibitions and community events. We publishing texts (academic and other) and carry out desk based research. We aim to keep a vibrant and lively link between theory, practice, the everyday and the unknown. Most often our work, takes place in specific places and sites, with our concerns going from the local to the global and back again, through art and theory making, policy, law and legalisation and our international collaborations.

Given our interdisciplinary approach, our art and academic practice crosses and spills over to many disciplinary fields and professional practices, including to name but a few climate action, environmental humanities, art and contemporary society, craft skills, heritage and situated knowledges, design and manufacturing and policy and thinking around responsible production and consumption, circular and diverse economies, climate action and just transitions.

We love working with people from all walks of life, trades and professions and we aim to share and disseminate our work through accessible exhibition formats, seminars, workshops and conference presentations and publications.

Repair Acts is housed at the School of Art and Design and Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Working across the city and the South West region of the UK, we have strong branches and collaborations with multiple partners in Ireland (Westmeath); Brazil (Belo Horiztone) and India (New Delhi). We welcome those interested in partnering with us and open to applicants interested in PhD and practice-based/led research.

Established in 2018, Repair Acts was initiated by the artist and researcher Teresa Dillon and Professor of City Futures at the School of Art and Design, UWE, in partnership with with Professor Caitlin De Silvey, University of Exeter and Toxics Links, India. The first phase of the programme was supported by a Global Research Network Grant from the UK, AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), which brought together a number of practitioners working on topics related to the programme. The original sites project archive can be found here.

Further supports from the University of the West of England, enabled My Square Mile (2019), which historically mapped changes in local repair economies in Bristol from 1938-2018 to be completed, with research assistance from Carmela Pietrangelo. In collaboration with the art and design collective, Gambiologia, Brazil and our partners, Toxics Link, we created TALES OF CARE AND REPAIR (2021-2022), which gathered over 700 stories of everyday repair across three urban centres (Bristol, Belo Horiztone and New Delhi). Funded by the British Council’s Creative Commissions programme for COP26, TALES OF CARE AND REPAIR enabled the first form of the our ‘Repair Declarations’ to be explored.

In 2022, in collaboration with Dr. Alma Clavin, Department of Geography, University College Dublin and Westmeath County Council, Repairs Acts, Ireland was established as part of Creative Ireland’s inaugural, Climate Action programme. This extensive and expansive art and place-based research programme, provided the supports to explore our work in a rural context.

In 2023, we continue our work in Ireland, Bristol and the South West of the UK. Working with Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Westmeath CoCo, we aim to look at practical ways in which the ‘Repair Declarations’ created for each area, can be implemented. Our documentary ‘Turning the Collar’ will be touring to a number of festivals and events, with new arts works and community events also emerging. Please check our events page for our upcoming schedule.