Community through exchanges

Community through exchanges is something coliving spaces can take advantage of. One important thing in coliving spaces is the community. And community is not something you can make appear, it’s something that you facilitate. 

Anceu Coliving is a rural coliving in Galicia, northwest Spain. It’s been opened since August 2020. Already a lot of things have happened. The idea to create this kind of space was to make people reconnect with nature while working. A workation model in rural Galicia, Spain. 

Since Anceu coliving opening, I’ve been doing tests. Inviting people over, staying, and paying through exchanges. I know that this idea seems a bit hard to manage. After five months running, I gotta say it’s been a success.

Maria DrLivinghome

The first person invited to Anceu as an exchange was Maria. She came in the pre-test group from Arroelo coworking space in Pontevedra, and she stayed longer than expected. Maria is an interior designer, and creator of Dr Living Home. When she came to Anceu first time, she stayed for a week and did a small intervention in one of the spaces. When the week was over, she called me back to do a proper design in Anceu Cafe.

The intervention was a total success. When the first groups came to Anceu on their workation test, they all said how amazing the design was. They also said how much they liked it. So, based on that, I decided that she was going to be the “official designer” of Anceu Coliving.

Cafe before Maria’s intervention
Cafe after Maria’s intervention

The terms were a bit blurry at first because neither of us knew how to do that, so we didn’t specifically write what had to be done and for how long she could stay. It ended up being months. She was already part of the Anceu community, with the plus of the interior designs. Maria would recommend us daily small and big things to improve in different spaces.

As of today, January 2021 she is still in Anceu. A big design company hired her to do design interventions and Maria, because she was already a coliver, she chose an Anceu room to design. As you can see below, the result speaks for itself.

104 before Maria
104 after Maria

XOX agency video making 

When I saw the potential of this kind of exchange, I decided to be more open about it, and keep on doing trials. The next one came during summer when XOX agency contacted me through some friends. They wanted to spend a few days in Anceu to get the vibe and as an exchange, they would take some pictures and videos. I said yes right away because I saw the potential of having good quality media. Below is one of the videos that they recorded, good quality one, recorded with a drone that shows pretty impressive views of the surroundings.

Blueute photo and video

In fall 2020 I was approached by two colivers telling me that they knew a video maker. He was willing to come to Anceu to get the fall and winter vibe of the coliving space in exchange for the stay. Of course, those colivers, Maru and Rober, from Creative Lions knew my opinion on these matters. They knew I’d be more than willing to say yes. So finally, in mid-November Mikel from Bleuete came to Anceu. He totally fits in the community right away. As an extra, Mikel created the video below, which totally shows the spirit of the coliving space during the low season.

Anceu Artist Project

Connected to Maria’s interventions, we’ve decided to create “Anceu Artist Project”. The idea is to bring local artists to Anceu. Each artist will intervene in one room, either decorating it with art pieces or painting the room itself by the artists, which is something still to be defined. We have already started to contact local artists for it, and in the following months, I’ll keep you posted about it.

Update: this project ended up being At Home Project

Volunteer program

As the last matter to discuss here, I decided to get volunteers and create a volunteer program. This program consists of 15 weekly hours helping in Anceu operations, plus 5h a week developing a personal project. The project can be provided by the volunteer or by Anceu, up to the volunteer. We’ll talk about it sooner in the future, about how we developed the project, and how is it going. Somehow this volunteer program will also facilitate community through exchanges.

Community through exchanges

Money cannot be a limitation. People always can offer something in exchange for their skills. That’s something that I learned during the past months and I think is the right direction to follow. On these terms, Anceu Coliving will keep on trying to find a way to create community through exchanges as a way to grow as a space.

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