Arts and cultural activities, Communities

Social Muscle Fair


Who is behind this?

Jill Emerson

Social Muscle Club


Who is joining forces?



Basel Markthalle


Ausform Festival

United Kingdom

Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

Social Muscle Fair is a place where people can train their 'social muscles' together. SMC reimagines the format of the county fair, focusing on using art as a tool to train social skills such as giving, receiving, interest, and communication. Traditional handicrafts are intermixed with stalls where one can participate in such activities as guided meditation with plants or letter writing about a utopian nursing home.

Where will your idea take place?

Berlin, Germany

Why does Europe need your idea?

Social Muscle Fair represents the latest stage in an ever-evolving training program in the form of performative events designed to develop our 'social muscles' to meet the challenge of overcoming separation, isolation, and loneliness. It asks: How can we overcome the fears and habits that keep us separate? Can 'giving' or 'interest' be trained in the same way as physical muscles?

What is your impact?

Social Muscle Fairs will take place in Berlin (DE), Bristol (UK) and Basel (CH). These large-scale public gatherings will unite us for a common purpose: working on ourselves in a fun way in order to learn to live together. SMC Labs will be held first in these 3 three cities to develop the content of the respective fairs.

How do you get there?

A group of artists and invited public meet in a series of week-long labs. Each lab will be led by a member of the group to practically explore a particular topic related to training social muscles.For ex: The August topic is "collective communications". For Day 1 of the lab, the group leader asks all parties to bring the ingredients of their favourite foods. He proposes to train collective communication by cooking together- but without a recipe. Once the dish is cooked, it is eaten in silence. After the cooking exercise someone else at the lab decides to create a team to work on a garden. Together they build a container for a plant-mediation to be used in the next lab.At the end of the monthly cycle of labs, stalls are set up to exhibit the labs at the fair, alongside invited craftspeople.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

Social Muscle Fairs are an open invitation to people who have never visited a theater or gallery, as well as to art lovers and connoisseurs, and those searching social and intellectual stimulation. The basis and the core of the SMC are the personal and interpersonal relationships of its artists and participation community. We have extensive experience in collaboration with other artists and with less visible communities, such as refugees, the homeless, the differently abled and the unemployed.

What makes your idea stand apart?

The Social Muscle Fairs are a platform for active self-training in a quirky, playful, and artistic environment. The exhibitions in the fair are intangible products-- participative training labs-- as well as tangible artisian goods. By juxtaposing the tangible and intangible, worlds that once seemed quite far apart- farmer and philosopher- have a new relativity.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

31200 EUR, 8 artists salaries (6 weeks work in 3 cities, 650 per week) 3000 EUR, manager salary 3000 EUR, lab material costs 4000 EUR, Travel, accommodation, and per diem costs for international partners 2800 EUR, Publicity 1000 EUR, Documentation (photo/video) 1000 EUR, transportation equipment 1500 EUR, technical equipment rental 500 EUR, office costs 1500 EUR, KSK (artist health insurance)


Social Muscle Club

Idea created on March 7, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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