With my former housmate and roomate Nahal we hosted a workshop on Community at the Gather festival 2020 in Stockholm - This article was written by one of the attendees and originaly published on the Gather Festival website.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE STRETCH OUR BRAINS AND REDEFINE OUR INVETERATE IDEAS OF WHAT A COMMUNITY IS? IT MIGHT LEAD US TO DISCOVERING OF THE BEST WAYS TO INTEGRATION, INCLUSION AND A FEELING OF BELONGING.
Morgane and Nahal are not normal Stockholmers. When they come back home from work, they are coming back to the K9 co-living building in Östermalm. The K9 co-living space is a home with around 50 dwellers. It is not that they are trying to save money, because rents at K9 are comparable to those of a studio in town. Their main motivation is meeting people. The cultural aspect is important, and many say they have seen their careers grow because they have worked with other young professionals who have opened other horizons. The dwellers are included and engaged in their community. So, here we go, the other c-word has been set.
During the workshop at the Gather festival, Morgane and Nahal helped us to (re)define what a community is for us. The group was then divided into two interest teams. The first one converged around the interest of sports. The second team gathered towards the curiosity ability as a Gather participant. Splitting into two communities, the participants created ’’minifestos’’ that could define what each community was about. Indeed, the importance of clearly defining the objective of a community was the main purpose of the workshop.
A community has been defined as a way of self-expression in a society where everyone needs to differentiate from the others. Sharing common interests and values is important and is the core of the community, linked to the sense of belonging. Also, the engagement that people will give to the community has been developed as a central necessity, but also contradicted with the necessity of freedom in the engagement per say. It has to remain a free and deliberate engagement that you want to be part of and put time in. Finally, a framework has been seen as a need in order to help people to organize and sustain the community in the long-term.
Co-living space has been discussed as one of the potential keys to integrate newcomers to Sweden. Indeed, the Swedish society is focused on the community system and to belong actively to the society you need to join communities, what could seem or be hard for foreigners. The type of open and inclusive co-living community as K9, could be the first place where they could integrate themselves to the Swedish society. In addition, some cities could be interested in implementing this kind of co-living spaces to attract more talents in need of social life.