About Us

Our Mission and Vision

Through collaborative efforts across an interwoven network of communities, we pursue our mission of maintaining self and society through reflection, research, and advocacy in the hopes of achieving a more caring and well-maintained world.


Leadership

At the center of The Maintainers, three Co-Directors share in the day-to-day work of growing and developing this effort.

Photograph of Andy Russell

Andy Russell

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Andy (at) themaintainers (dot) org | @RussellProf

Photograph of Jessica Meyerson

Jessica Meyerson

Senior Research Officer
Educopia Institute

j.meyerson (at) themaintainers (dot) org


Photograph of Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel

Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
Virginia Tech

Lee (at) themaintainers(dot)org | @STS_News


The Values that Sustain Us:

Care | Societies must care for those individuals who take care of them.

Western cultures laud and heap attention on so-called “innovators” but often overlook and forsake those individuals who keep our world from falling apart. Our community is dedicated to recognizing these crucial individuals who keep society’s systems running. We seek to identify and confront the issues that prevent Maintainers from flourishing as individuals, in collectives, and in their varied occupational roles. We highlight these obstacles as a step toward positive recommendations that will lead to greater levels of recognition, fair compensation, and more widespread appreciation of the value of maintenance labor and their foundational contributions to society.  

Research | Grounded perspectives on human life with technology.

Many of the problems Maintainers face stem from fanciful ideas—which we call innovation-speak—that are unsupported by evidence about how technology works, about the role new things play in society, and about how humans will benefit. A more accurate and grounded understanding of human life with technology requires continual, critical inquiry into the daily practices of individuals, organizations, and communities. Accordingly, the Maintainers fosters and promotes action research into maintenance, repair, infrastructure, and the mundane work that keeps our society going. And we seek to nurture partnerships to connect researchers and practitioners who share the goal of putting experience, research, and evidence to work.

Capacity | Resources for Maintainers to help each other.

The Maintainers seeks to build capacity to improve maintenance practices and to help Maintainers—as individuals and communities—share knowledge about common challenges and best practices. There are few secrets in the science and craft of maintenance. Instead, what is needed most is to create and disseminate tools that improve maintenance practices and increase sharing of maintenance knowledge across domains. Our success requires constant feedback and engagement from a variety of stakeholders and the twin spirits of flexibility and openness to different ideas.