In the cityscape of Melbourne, we are very aware of the physical intersections that make up our city. However, at The Intersection we are also curious about the points where two or more people or groups intersect.
Seeking social change has historically entailed the privileged reaching down to the disadvantaged. But intersections have no hierarchy and so they are ideal places to encourage connection amongst people from all walks of life. Social intersections are a place for empathy to grow and social change to begin.
Melbourne is full of social intersections here are a few that were formational for The Intersection:
For 20 years Credo cafe operated in the heart of the city behind Collins St Baptist Church. Offering a free lunch to anyone and everyone who was willing to join. Credo offered a unique and special place of intersection where homeless, business person and student alike enjoyed the same meal at the same table.
Verandah of Collins Street Baptist Church
Collins Street Baptist Church is a historic heritage building built in 1862 situated in the Paris end of Melbourne. During the 90’s and early 2000’s Collins Street Baptist Church found an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness taking up temporary residence on their front verandah. This trespassing pushed boundaries and raised many questions. It created an intersection between church attendees, the homeless and the neighbouring businesses that spoke to the idea of “People are hard to hate close up. Move in.” (Brene Brown).
Indigenous Hospitality House
The IHH is located in Carlton North near many large hospitals and offers hospitality and accommodation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples visiting Melbourne for hospital reasons. The IHH grew out of the question “what does it mean to live on stolen land and what can be our response to that?”
It is an intersection in society where different people meet, have cups of tea and share meals together around an old wooden table.
The house is one practical response to this question. It is also a learning community that hopes to share their learning and create spaces for settler people to think about Australia’s colonial history.
The IHH is mainly run by resident and visiting volunteers and the Business Committee who oversee it as well as individuals and churches who generously donate goods and money to keep it going. Teash and Josh who work for the Intersection are current resident volunteers and Evan was a resident volunteer for many years and currently serves on the business committee.
The IHH is an example for us of the concept of social intersections where lots of different people meet, have cups of tea and share meals together around an old wooden table.