About Time You Met: Adam Wilder, Founder of House of TogethernessBy Angelica Malin
It’s about time you met Adam Wilder, founder of House of Togetherness. HoT is a unique, revolutionary home of human connection in Covent Garden. Togetherness aims to explore questions of intimacy and human contact, allowing people to connect with each other in some rather, unusual, ways in a bid to breakdown societies taboos surrounding inter personal relationships and creativity.
HoT classes and events include; Architecture of Pleasure, Rage Club, Mass Spooning circles, , Connected Conversations, Circling, Authentic Relating, ‘How Not To F**k Up Your Kids’ classes, Intimacy Safari’s, Self-Love Clinic, Listening For Better Relationships and Understanding Consent and more. We sat down with their founder Adam to find out more:
What is the concept behind the House of Togetherness?
Connection is essential for our health just like food, water and shelter. As the places we used to get this break down something new is needed. House of Togetherness is an experiment in serving that need. It’s a place you go to experience meaningful human connection, to tool up in communication skills, to understand when you want to be alone and when you want to be with others. At the house you have permission to be yourself.
We hold talks, experiences, courses, house parties and festivals exploring themes from communication to sexuality to parenting. We even run a drop-in session where you can take part in a facilitated spoon with others. You are also welcome just to watch, at all times you have the choice how you want to get involved.
Everyone is welcome, we want the house to be a place where people can meet beyond identity and politics. We leave black and white polarity of opinion outside and meet each other as individuals.
What inspired you to start the company?
After that referendum I was moved to do something. Reasonable discussion can’t take place when each side dismisses the other before a word is spoken. I held a free evening teaching others how to connect beyond politics and beliefs. 100 people turned up to the basement of Farrs School of Dancing in Dalston. We had meaningful conversations chosen from menus, explored platonic touch and even had a quick lesson in games you can play with strangers on the tube to create instant community. I called the evening Togetherness.
And it’s more fun to hang out with people who are free of dogma, so in a way I’m doing it for my personal enjoyment too.
You put interaction at the centre of your project. Are we losing the ability to interact with each other in a meaningful way?
We’ve never been great at it, intimacy is the real taboo in our society. Our personalities develop to move us towards safety and pleasure and to avoid pain. Sometimes you have to take a risk to have meaning. There aren’t enough people around encouraging us to take such risks. When things are stressful, who wants to add to that?
So we need a place where we have full permission to be ourselves and to experiment. Where we all say to each other okay, we’re here in the lab to learn, no-one really knows what’s going on so lets be respectful of each other. Where we can learn to articulate our desire without fear or shame and to say yes or no as we please. These kind of sovereign interactions are supremely undervalued in our culture. It’s time to make meaningful connection the priority, we know from studies this is what makes us whole and healthy and happy.
Have social media and 24/7 tech connectivity fundamentally changed us?
For now, yes. The number of interactions we make has gone up but our diversity of connection has diminished. There’s a greater pressure now to become an imposter in your own body to be accepted than when I was in school. The fear of being rejected prevents us from exploring ‘riskier’ ways of connecting. Though when we do the rewards are enormous.
Tech and social are just another thing that can be used or abused. We are learning so much right now about disruptive ways of using them, I’m hopeful that in the future it will be way less intrusive, almost invisible and will serve us well. Fundamental to this is a cultural priority shift which values meaningful connection and respectful personal sovereignty.
What can we do to regain togetherness?
You need to be able to not connect before you can connect properly. We have a saying at the house -‘Stay Sovereign Baby!’. This means getting in touch with how we are feeling and what we are wanting and being able to express it without judgement. It means being able to say yes and no to others according to our own needs and desires at any given moment.
We can put down our phones more often and become more aware of our environment. A genuine smile or simply saying good morning to someone can make you both feel human and add a strand of togetherness to your day.
We can learn to listen really well and techniques which make it easier to have the ‘riskier’ kinds of truthful communication. We can make meaningful contact a bigger priority in our lives. As we do all of this we watch all our relationships flourish (and it makes sex more enjoyable too). We run a Foundations of Connection course at the house which teaches all these skills.
What would success look like for House of Togetherness?
When ‘Stay Sovereign Baby’ passes into common use. And the house is full all the time so that when our pop up finishes we have no choice but to open up a permanent space. It would be amazing to be supported by Johann Hari and Russell Brand too.
What are your future plans?
We’re running a festival called City of Connection on 22-23 June and are planning on breaking the world record for most people spooning at Wilderness festival in August. We’ll need more than 1108 to take part in that.
The Togetherness Summer Festival takes place 29 Aug – 1 Sep at a country manor in Dorset. Beyond that we are constantly innovating new ways of making human connection more accessible and growing the movement till we take over the world.