By Antony McMullen, 888 Co-operative Causeway Chair
For some time people have been asking questions about the ‘sharing economy’. Has it reached its full potential? Back in 2016 I asked some similar questions in Pro Bono including ‘what if the freelancers owned their own coworking space?’
By chance around that time I met up with a dear old friend who once taught me community development, Basil Varghese, and we started talking about these kinds of issues in the convivial surrounds of the Kelvin Club. Little did I know that Basil was to be the inaugural Patron of 888 Co-operative Causeway.
In the course of our conversation Basil let me know that he had some office space available, ‘did I know anyone’? The dots connected. Remembering the Pro Bono article, I said that I had an idea for a space where smaller socially-minded enterprises and freelancers could come together – aspiring to gain (in the spirit of the 888 movement) a life-giving balance between labour, recreation and rest.
The office that Basil offered became a space in the CBD for our members to undertake their own concentrated work as well as build connection and community spirit. Unlike a regular co-working space we decided to form a co-operative – an alliance of small organisations and freelancers. A place where people could come together to meet their common economic, social, and cultural aspirations. We own it together.
Fast-forward and we have come a long way since forming as a group of people interested in cooperating and setting up camp in the Causeway Building at the start of 2017. Our space continues to evolve and our occasional events promote the cause of building a more inclusive economy (recent events have included an event on meeting the challenge of affordable housing through housing co-operatives and a ‘pitch night’ that featured Loconomics Australia, bHive and Monash Bike Share).
Are you interested in joining our community in 2019? We would love to talk to you about your own aspirations for your work and life more generally.