Posted Thursday 8 October 2015
A Kingston University academic's fundraising campaign to establish a design hub in the heart of the borough has received a £15,000 boost from London Mayor Boris Johnson. Fixshop was one of a select group of 20 projects earmarked for a cash injection after the Mayor announced plans to pledge £285,000 from his High Street Fund to community ventures across the capital.
Spearheaded by Professor Alex Williams, Associate Dean of Enterprise at the University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Fixshop is due to open its doors in November. It will give members of the public looking for creative ways to solve everyday problems the chance to tap into the ingenuity of design experts face to face.
"Whether it's repairing a broken bicycle, or re-designing a piece of cutlery so it can be handled by someone with a disability, we will work with them to fix the problem. It's exciting to see the impact a designer can make on someone's life in an hour," Professor Williams explained. "Our aim is to look at all sorts of commonplace technology and consider how we might be able to adapt it."
Fixshop will serve as a home to the Fixperts programme, conceived by Kingston University Professor Daniel Charny in 2013. The idea was spawned from his desire to immerse people in thinking about new ways of looking at routine problems in a bid to come up with more economically and environmentally sustainable solutions.
The latest development will tap in to the talents of University staff and students along with other creative borough residents. They will form part of a panel of designers on hand in the Fixshop, which will be based in Kingston's historic Marketplace. The remaining £12,000 required before the shop's launch is being raised through a crowd funding platform.
"The main ethos of Kingston University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture is thinking through making and Fixshop will be the ideal vehicle for us to demonstrate the positive impact this can have in our daily lives. It will also give us the perfect platform to work more closely with Kingston residents and people living in neighbouring communities," Profesor Williams said. "The grant from the Mayor's High Street Fund will have a significant impact on this outreach activity and really enable us to harness the power of inclusive design."