Mojo Manor is a share house in Brunswick West where we’re all trying our best to intentionally build a shared and collective home together. We came together largely as a bunch of strangers with some shared values around intentional relating, disability politics, sustainability and sex positivity, and have muddled our way through lock-downs, life changes, work stresses and mental health struggles. We’re still forward looking and hoping to keep building on this as a part of our practice of collectivism.
Some of our practices for building community include fortnightly house meetings, shared projects and events (olive harvesting, gardening), and weekly house dinners with a check-in circle.
After having lived cohousing, an ecovillage, and a network of coliving housing, it’s nice to be in Melbourne and focussed on the messy work of trying to participate well in a single house. For me it makes an important place to practice my values on the ground. I easily get lost in high minded ideals about so post-capitalist future, when it’s potentially a more radical act to clean the kitchen.
My housemates are a regular inspiration to me, and all of them put in the work to strive towards better things.I’m using the house as a place for experimentation with some of my wackier ideas, and these are generally well received and given space to take shape.
Living collectively is a good reminder that no social change occurs alone, and so the first ingredient in all change is relationships. None of us are automatically compatible, and so in collective housing we find that the moments that work well are often built on intentionally strong relationships, and the moments we struggle are when we fail to build those foundations.
Tackling climate change and ecological crisis is not going to be a personal battle, however taking personal action to live more within our planetary means does help with the cognitive dissonance of living in such an age. By living collectively we share more, and this allows fewer possessions, less food waste, and one less vehicle. However, there’s a lot more we could do here which is an interested project for the next few years.
Before living at Mojo Manor, my politics was not fundamentally informed by inclusion of different abilities. I cared in an abstract way about fairness for everyone, but I’m finding that grappling with the fundamental day-to-day obstacles unnecessarily placed in front of access to society for people with a range of physical and mental differences to the norm helps me see more clearly some of the fundamental problems with neoliberal capitalism. A world focussed on collective wellbeing and happiness would look very different to a world focussed on economic productivity, and we’d all be the richer for it.