Connecting Through Dance: Understanding Conscious Clubbing Event Experiences

Kimberley Hill, Mattias Johansson, Joanne Smith, Kyle Brown, Emma L. Davies

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Individuals abstaining from alcohol consumption frequently find themselves in contexts encouraging consumption, with limited alternative social interaction opportunities. Conscious clubbing events exclude alcohol and drugs, possibly providing valuable social connections, but little is known about event benefits. Twelve 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. Findings suggested that conscious clubbing appears to enhance health, healing and growth, aiding recovery from substance dependency and trauma. Positioned as a modern ritual, symbolic and ritualistic preparations and experiences promoted storytelling and self-discovery. Connecting through synchronised but unchoreographed movement, participants engaged in powerful journeys and transformative experiences detached from life constraints. Inclusive digital and face-to-face conscious clubbing communities provided a sense of meaning and belonging away from substance use pressures and harms, particularly for those marginalised within society. Findings provide important and in-depth insights, including novel harm prevention implications. Future work should consider participatory barriers, event sustainability and misconceptions to increase event availability and participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1731
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
Early online date21 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • Research Articles
  • addiction
  • alcohol
  • alcoholism
  • behaviour
  • health
  • health behaviour
  • health promotion
  • psychological issues
  • psychology


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