Waste and Reuse – Second-hand Challenges Workshop 1

By Rhiannon Craft and Alida Payson

Waste & Reuse – Second-hand Challenges Workshop 1

  • To register, please email Alida at paysonAB@cardiff.ac.uk

We are excited to introduce a new ESRC Impact Accleration Account-funded project, which has emerged from the growing networks of the Second-hand Cultures in Unsettled Times Symposium that took place in June 2021. 

There is rising awareness that second-hand cultures will be crucial to any response to the climate emergency, as well as other economic problems. Our project focuses on everyday spaces of second-hand culture – from our homes, to charity shops, freecycle message boards, makers’ and resellers’ workshops, and all the way to the local tip. 

However, challenges persist for second-hand cultures, too. For example, we may encounter issues of waste, barriers to repair, labour problems, and community welfare concerns. What’s more, opportunities for people to connect to share ideas and problem-solve around these issues have been relatively rare. 

In order to address this, we will be launching a series of four free online workshops in 2022 exploring challenges to second-hand cultures. We will be bringing together various experts and other stakeholders in this field who are already thinking about and working towards a more sustainable, skilled, fair, and community-based second-hand economy.  

This series will include explorations of “second-hand” work, waste, repair and reuse, as well as ideas about how we might extend these values and practices into our communities. 

Following our in-person waste and reuse event in November 2021 – which took place as part of the ESRC and Cardiff University Festival of Social Science – we will start the series with a workshop exploring the concept of waste, and existing innovative waste management practices.  

We will hear multiple lightning talks from academics and other practitioners who are already thinking about waste and/or working on innovative ways of reusing it within the second-hand economy. 

In order to explore processes of waste and reuse, we propose that we work with the assumption that waste is only waste if we allow it to be. Indeed, Kevin Lynch (1981) explained that waste is largely defined by the fact that it is not used. 

In order to bring these abstract concepts to life, we will delve into practical activities of reuse. This will involve spending time with everyday materials and objects that are often discarded, exploring new ways of reusing these materials.  

Together, through hands-on collaborative problem-solving informed by existing practice and research, we hope that we can begin to effectively eliminate waste and generate new ideas to move forward. Our aim is for everyone to leave with an idea or action to take back with them to try out in their own organisations and projects.  

Drawing on the ideas generated in the workshops, we hope to build stronger connections and networks among people working on waste in secondhand economies. We will also develop resources and toolkits for good practice to share at a Second-hand Symposium 2022 and beyond.  

Watch this space for more updates! We will also report key reflections and findings at the second ‘Second-hand Cultures in Unsettled Times’ Symposium planned for June/July 2022. 

Please contact Alida Payson paysonAB [at] cardiff.ac.uk for more information or any queries. 

Follow @2ndhandcultures for news and updates.


Rhiannon Craft, Maya Wassell Smith, Dr Najia Zaidi,  (Cardiff University)  Violet Broadhead   (University of Bristol)

Partners & Advisors:

Dr Triona Fitton (University of Kent), Dr Jennifer Ayres, Sam’s Place, MAKE@Aldingbourne Trust