As explained in the long history, the arts and social clubs have been core to the settlement movement. Pembroke House’s first four activities in the 19th century were a mothers’ meeting, a ‘Happy Evening’ for 9-13 old boys, a boys’ club for 14-18 years and a penny bank. Jane Addams wrote about the value of social clubs at the Hull House settlement in Chicago. As well as easing daily stress, the clubs also created social connection, creating a context for civic responsibility and recreation. They opened up the world for participants, ‘slowing them down’ from, after what Addams referred to as over-hurried work. Hull-House, had spaces where people could work on art projects, learn how to sing, act in the theatre.
dt17, a dance club for young people of Walworth, was developed at Pembroke House by Ali Kaviani and Nina Feldman. Their vision was three-fold. One, to create an environment where a close relationship between mind and body could unfold. Two, to expose young people to experiences where they felt alive, for example by dancing to the music and not going through the exercises. Three, to provide an avenue through which young people could learn— about themselves, relationships with others, dance, and life.
Read the learning from dt17 here.