The founding idea for the HRC’s annual theme for 2023 is ‘Repair’. It comes from Yuliya Komska, who, reflecting on her father’s stained glass creations in Lviv, Ukraine in 2022, wrote: ‘In war, mourning the loss of art, be it actual or anticipated, is not separate from mourning for the senseless disruption and destruction of human life. To live is to build, to repair, to illuminate, to leave traces in the fabric of time and space.’  In more quotidian contexts, the concept and actions of repair – to ’restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken: to FIX’ [‘make firm, stable or stationary’] – is prevalent in global humanities thinking and world cultures. '
Tied to ideas about sustainability and economic and environmental concerns, and crucial for rebuilding communities, lives and livelihoods after crisis or ruptures in time or political security, ‘repair’ is an oft-cited antidote to post-war western obsessions with commodification and newness, fast-food, fashion and cosmetic procedures, cheap labour, and the erstwhile rationale for disposal as a means to ‘spark joy’. And yet, things don’t need to be broken to be renewed in order to re-enter into social circulation or to be attributed new or different forms of meaning and significance.
This year’s theme invites reflection on all aspects of ‘repair’, including the cultures, politics, experiences, practices, logistics, implications, and representation of repair as an urgent and necessary part of contemporary life across a globe beset by war, environmental degradation, poverty, and authoritarianism.
Together, we will spend time unpacking the reality that not all things require fixing or renewal and that transformation occurs in uneven ways. We will think deeply about the reality of the creative connections between production and repair in different times, places, and contexts, and through different disciplinary fields, lenses, and lines of enquiry.