The Bristol Commons Movement Building at Circomedia
A pay-what-you-can contribution

A event held at Circomedia on Saturday 18th November. The event starts at 09:30.

Community Power, Land Justice & Systemic Change
9.30am - 5.30pm Saturday, 18th November 2023

A Movement for Sustainable Community Prosperity

Coexist is growing a movement to support communities and community hubs across Bristol. Many vital spaces and places - as well as organisations and services - are under threat. Recently All Hallows Hall and Unit 15 have been evicted, Kuumba is struggling to find a way forward, and many other spaces and organisations are in a perilous position. This network of people, infrastructure, knowledge and expertise is essential for individuals and communities to thrive.

- Past Events -
On Tuesday 28th March, Coexist brought over 180 people from all areas of our city together, including over 60 community groups and organisations, to build a network of strength. It became clear that there is a strong desire to see this movement grow, become more diverse and well resourced, and evolve into a dynamic and strategic force for community power. Over the past 6 months Coexist has put together a plan to transition from the organisation holding the process, to one of many co-creating it.

~ Purpose ~
We are co-creating a strategy to:
>> Share resources and nurture a culture of collaboration, not competition - a network of reciprocity based on commoning;
>>Bring vital infrastructure into community ownership to build community wealth and enhance community health - to Rebuild the Commons!;
>> Generate a surplus to reinvest in vital projects that support marginalised groups and safeguard future generations;
>> Collectively lobby the council and national government for increased community power;
>> Create systemic change so that developers and private landlords are no longer the key beneficiaries - extracting value and equity from our communities - by facilitating communities to protect and nurture our shared assets to maximise public benefit.

~ Programme ~
A full programme will be released on Wednesday 1st November - 2 weeks before the launch. Highlights and updates will be released via social media between now and then.

The day will include talks, workshops, an 'open space' session for people to hold their own conversations on different aspects of commons, facilitated arts workshops, films, "test-bedding" technology for the commons, a ‘pay what you can’ community lunch, and lots lots more...

~ Values ~
We value everybody. That includes ourselves, each other, our city, our natural world, our relationships, our communities, our planet. This may sound silly or obvious, but we want to be explicit.

This event and this movement is rooted in social and ecological justice. We want to co-create fairer, more engaging, more creative, more effective ways to look after the spaces, places and shared resources that we all need to thrive.

We are a mixed-race, multi-faith, LGBQTI+ friendly movement, and we work in solidarity with people who are marginalised by our society. We practise tolerance, but stand opposed to discrimination of any kind. We strive to create safe and brave spaces where we can express our authentic opinions and concerns respectfully - so that we are careful not to harm or negatively impact others.

We take collective responsibility for this, and Coexist and the volunteer team will be on hand to help hold the space in a caring and proactive way.

~ Accessibility ~
We want to make sure that this event and movement is accessible and inclusive as possible. It is being hosted at Circomedia which is an accessible venue. For more details please visit:

~ Cost ~
As well as physical accessibility, we wanted to make certain that no-one would be financially excluded from the event. We have therefore decided to host on a donation basis - with a suggested donation rate for individuals (£5) and those coming on behalf of organisations (£10). No-one will be excluded due to lack of finance. The lunchtime meal will also be by donation - ensuring everyone has something warm and tasty for their bellies!

~ Background ~
Since the eviction from our flagship project Hamilton House in 2018, Coexist has been reimagining its purpose. In this transitory phase we opted to take a supportive role in nurturing community spaces as opposed to offering front-line services involved in running a community hub. This included assisting the set-up and running of the mutual-aid network that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as re-launching the Coexist Community Kitchen in Easton. In addition, over the last few years Coexist has supported various community organisations including: Bricks (St. Anne’s House), PRSC, Docklands, St. Pauls Learning Centre and All Hallows Hall with resources, mentoring and advice.

This work has informed a new strategy - to protect, champion and nurture Bristol’s cultural and community assets. This involves safeguarding vital spaces and places - as well as organisations and community projects - from the multiple crises we currently face. Austerity, rising energy costs, the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, community trauma, poor mental health, staff burn-out, the education crisis, lack of youth services, the housing crisis - the list of pressures is a seemingly endless and painful reality to many people and organisations in our community.

Neither Bristol City Council or the government has been able to mitigate these issues. They are systemic, endemic and intersectional: Many converge and affect the most marginalised people in our city. We need a new, strategic, dynamic and collaborative movement to solve these problems. We need people and organisations working together - not competing with each other - to create a culture and build a movement for change. Most of all, we need the space and resources to be able to create a bright future - and to do this we must Rebuild The Commons!