Hamilton House was a vacant and neglected office block for many years. In 2008 the owners, Connolly and Callaghan invited a group of friends to create a centre for the community. Ever since, Coexist has been working hard to create a space in which the community can grow, share, collaborate, and learn what it is to live in coexistence with each other.
We have grown organically and will continue to do so, open to respond to what is needed by the community within and without the building. Our direction and action has a single purpose – to support innovative solutions for all. This means personal, social and collective, within and without the space we facilitate, and for current and future generations.
Hamilton House currently hosts over two hundred building users as a part of this vibrant community, including: painters, designers, illustrators, textile designers, environmental groups, charities, music agencies, festival organisers, radio stations, animators, film and music producers, community groups, social enterprises, upholsterers, weavers, costumiers, record labels, dance groups, alternative therapists, career advisors, consultants, architects, fashion and accessory designers, street artists, writers, puppeteers, jewellers, photographers, clown troupes and all sorts of food, arts and health activists.
We are open seven days a week offering community space, meeting rooms, events and exhibition spaces. We also run the Coexist Community Kitchen, InAlignment Dance Studios, the Wellbeing therapy centre. The Canteen and Bristol Bike Project can be found here, you can rent studios or offices, or join our co-working/hot-desking community in the Hamilton Hub.
Come along and see for yourself…
Coexist would like to thank everybody who has supported Coexist since its conception and especially our partners Connolly and Callaghan for continuing to support the Hamilton House project to achieve its long term social, environmental and financial sustainability.
Coexist is a social enterprise, setup as a community interest company based on a philosophy of open hearted and active engagement. We empower members of the community on Stokes Croft to lead its development and have incubated new creative projects and social businesses from conception to sustainability. We believe that the successful and much needed regeneration of our community is sustainable only if the growth is organic and from the bottom up!
Coexist believes in being the change we wish to see in the world. We don’t think this is a hard task. In fact we are seeing that it can be done. We are all already entirely capable of innovation, of clarity and to effortlessly coexist with ourselves and each other. Each of us is a pioneer. Each of us has a unique contribution to the whole. Each moment is ours to make the most of. Here, coexisting naturally, we see that together we are capable of so much.
Coexist create spaces that best provide for the community.
Coexist – To live or exist together at the same time or in the same place.
Create – make possible, offer, rent, facilitate, bring about, connect up, introduce people to, inspire.
Spaces – rooms, places, areas, events, projects and connections – real time, virtual, indoor, outdoor, political, cultural, financial, social.
Best provide for – hold the space safely and responsively so communities can come together, explore and innovate for the most basic and ultimate needs that support the community as a whole in relation to; Food – Energy – Innovation – Creativity – Health – Transport – Economics – Built environment.
The Community – us, everyone in the building, everyone in the local area, those who are interested in the diverse program of activities.
We remain open and find ways to be more open to new communities: people who could benefit from the activities of the building.
Coexist is based on grass-roots leadership. This is not an ambiguous term. It means that every individual is the leader they are looking for in order to bring about harmony in their own lives and in the lives of others.
Every individual is capable of empowering themselves and others to act from a disposition of equanimity and benefit.
Leadership in Coexist is there to serve what the community wants not to dictate what the community should want – we create projects in response to community demand and those who self-elect to be a part of it.
To be creative is the act of doing something original that has value. This is a key tool and strength of Coexist. We approach situations and people with creativity, open to our own and that of others. We have the freedom to respond and solve situations creatively to achieve our core purpose.
Every interaction, every conversation, activity and meeting can be conducted with open heartedness. It is so powerful to be in a debate and remain open hearted, listen totally, let your own ideas and thoughts freely evolve – be inspired and enriched by others. We relax and realise we can be open hearted because we understand everyone.
Coexist’s structure is one of support not superiority, it is built on a culture of self-responsibility and co-inspiration. We support each other in tasks, in play, in life.
We support the whole community through all our activities and communication.
In our manner, speech, activities, building, writing – we are accessible and work towards making it the case.
Responsibility not blame
We view situations as opportunities to learn and find solutions for moving forward, not to find blame looking backwards. We can learn on the fly from situations, sharing and incorporating this learning into our lives. We have compassion for ourselves and others.
We take responsibility for our selves, our ideas and actions.
The safety and security of the community (internal and external) is paramount. We ensure that all activities and events are held and delivered responsibly.
We respond to situations as they arise even if this simply means acknowledging a situation. To ensure effective responsiveness we can ask for help from our team members with prioritising tasks. We respond to one and all equally, whoever they are.
We all input. Solutions are formed through individuals openly offering suggestions to the collective wisdom. We remain open to how our individual contributions might be used by whoever is responsible for decision-making. Those who take on this responsibility approach the process with openness and can always ask – what is best for the mutual success of all?
Environmentally and financially sustainable
We look for the solutions that best provide – in quality, responsiveness and longevity. Everything is as sustainable as it can be in line with what is best for the community.
Coexist remains open to all and plans its activities to be as inclusive to all as possible, if there are areas of the community who are not accessing positive services we look at ways to include them, naturally, in ways that they would appreciate and benefit from.
If we see a problem in the running of Coexist we are empowered to find a solution and suggest it to the management team.
Innovative solutions arise when we are able to go beyond all ideas, even our own.
We see every limitation as a potential to improve the workings and effectiveness of the organisation, and we step up to implement that.
All problems are a direct line into the solution. Our activities are constantly producing solutions. If someone is complaining we invite them to propose a solution, if we get stuck we ask for help to see the solution.
Listen to this audio documentary, produced and edited by Jake Wittlin, about the story of Coexist and Hamilton House in Bristol.
JINX FT. Tenna Star – Selecta Dub – Terrahawk Remix
Mr Babilla – Unforscene
Taken from the album ‘Return of the Wob’.
Golden Sand by Cécile
(taken from Ten Past Twelve. ℗ & © 2015 Cécile Cailleau. All rights reserved.)
Coexist really helped me to get my courses on “Art for the Afraid” up and running in Bristol. They have been so supportive, allowing me to use their beautiful community arts space at a very reasonable rate, and offering lots of advice and enthusiasm. I’ve felt very much part of the community since moving to the area and starting up work here as a teacher and an artist; all the folk who work at Co Exist have been so friendly, approachable and full of encouragement for new ideas and projects. It really feels as if anything is possible here!Emma Burleigh (artist)
As Sing With Soul Choir takes a break for summer I’d like to thank you for your support and encouragement so far. We’ve seen you show up at performances, sing our praises to your friends and happily hand out leaflets. We couldn’t have better cheerleaders!
A magical place where dreams come true. Inspirational and creative environment with committed, supportive and loving staff. XxxButzi Schlaadt (fashion designer)
Everyone was buzzing from the opening with many teachers and parents saying how it was the best thing they’d ever been involved in and I know our children will remember their French op up cafe for many years to come.
Thank you Coexist!