IRL is a collectively run independent community space and infoshop. We are an eclectic mix of people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests but we all believe that what is happening in our lives and all around us needs to be challenged. We want to create a space where we can make connections with other people and find ways to do this.
We live on stolen land, in a place where Indigenous ways of knowing and living are constantly attacked. Many First Nations peoples are living in poverty, many children are taken from their families and police harassment and violence for some people is a common experience. The waiting list for public housing is ridiculous, community housing barely exists, rent is rising constantly, leases are insecure and short and homelessness is increasing. People are imprisoned indefinitely by the Australian government for trying to find safety here. Trauma and mental health affect many people, and suicide is too common. Family violence happens across all communities at astonishing rates and many women (particularly trans women and First Nations women) and children are hurt by those closest to them. The oceans are filling up with plastic, the western grasslands of Victoria are being destroyed by urban sprawl and animals and plants are going extinct. The world is heating up in a scary way. Many of us spend so much time working, doing things that mean very little to us until we can’t even imagine what it is we would actually want to be doing. For some of us it’s hard to meet people and easy to feel isolated and alone.
These are just some of the things that affect us in deep and different ways. We don’t have answers, sometimes everything feels overwhelming and it’s hard to know what to do. However we want to create a space where people can learn, challenge and disrupt the systems that maintain oppression and imagine other possibilities for how the world could be.
We are interested in learning through stories of people and communities, from various theories, from perspectives based on histories that explore self-determination, collective care and organising. We hope to create networks of solidarity and support people experiencing and resisting oppression. We hope that at IRL, people will come together, organise and run things themselves. We want the space to be used to discuss ideas, challenge each other and our understandings of ourselves and the world, learn through these experiences, and share skills and thoughts but also be a place to meet people, have fun, relax, laugh, hang out, and do things that are exciting.
We have a physical shopfront space, information, tools and skills to support people who are trying to organise projects, actions, campaigns and so on.
IRL is situated on the land of the Wurundjeri & Bunurong peoples of the Kulin Nation. We stand on this land as beneficiaries of an uncompensated and unreconciled dispossession which began over 200 years ago and continues today. We would like to reflect that within acknowledgement there should be action. How do we act in solidarity with first nations peoples? How do we act against the economic and social systems which reinforce racism, oppression and subjugation?