Jill Emerson - Social Muscle Club Portland

Social Muscle Club – Social Muscle Club Portland

Social Muscle Club is a ‘training program’ combining artistic and social practices in order to challenge usual habits of thinking and doing. The club itself began as a private happening in a Berlin living room. It was inspired by a workers’ club in Sheffield, UK, which had the goal of ‘entertainment and social support’. What if giving and receiving were social muscles that could be trained? We haven’t yet brought the club to America, however, they plan on ‘pollinating’ the club to as many cities in January 2019 as possible.

At Social Muscle Club you meet new people and take part in a simple sharing game, in which each person offers something they can give away, and makes a request for something they want to receive. These unconditional offers and requests can be for something material or practical – anything from from fresh bread to a holiday apartment in Costa Rica – or something abstract or relationship focused, like tips on resilience or a shoulder to cry on. They can even be for something that can happen right there at the club – a stage dive or a dance move. The giving and receiving happens around tables, amongst performance, music, food and surprises. It’s a real celebration, evocative of an exuberant wedding or a chaotic game show.

This project was invented and channeled as part of a healing process for its founders (Till Rothmund and Jill Emerson) in 2012 in a Berlin living room, and continues to grow through the hearts and minds of a large team of artists around the world. The grant will be used to start the first club in the US, partnering with local community members in Portland, Oregon.