“It’s food for the soul”: Connecting through Conscious Clubbing Dance

  • Hill, K. (Author)
  • Mattias Johansson (Author)
  • Joanne Smith (Author)
  • Kyle Brown (Author)
  • Emma Davies (Author)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


Individuals abstaining from alcohol consumption or recovering from dependency frequently report that social contexts encourage consumption. Conscious clubbing events exclude alcohol and drugs, but little is known about their potential benefits. This study aimed to provide an in-depth, qualitative insight into conscious clubbing event experiences.
12 conscious clubbing event attendees and facilitators aged 25-55 from across Europe participated in semi-structured photo-elicitation interviews, which were analysed using thematic analysis. Participants brought a conscious clubbing artefact or photograph to prompt responses and interview schedules focused on pre, within and post event experiences.
Participants provided rich descriptions and main themes highlighted how conscious clubbing enhanced health, healing and growth. This was particularly important for aiding recovery from substance dependency and trauma. Participants positioned conscious clubbing dance as a modern ritual, with symbolic and ritualistic preparations and experiences promoting storytelling and self-discovery. Connecting through unchoreographed and synchronised movement, participants engaged in powerful liminal journeys and transformative experiences detached from life constraints. Importantly, inclusive conscious clubbing communities provided a sense of meaning and belonging away from substance use pressures and harms, including far beyond events themselves. This was particularly important for those often marginalised within society.
Findings provide important, in-depth insights and benefits in relation to conscious clubbing dance events and experiences, as well as novel harm prevention implications. For example, such events could be incorporated into workplaces or Universities. Future research should consider participatory barriers, event sustainability and misconceptions with a focus on increasing participation.

Period5 Sept 20227 Sept 2022
Event titleBritish Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational