Using cultural and disciplinary difference as a driver

Peckham Wellness

Difference Exchange is developing a programme exploring placemaking, wellbeing and arts practice in Peckham and will announce events later in the year.

Peckham's population, history and contemporary stories are varied and even conflicted. As an 18th Century village it was the site of William Blake's earliest 'visions', which would nowadays be considered more medical than poetic. Between 1927 and 1954 it was the site of the groundbreaking 'Peckham Experiment' at the Pioneer Health Centre (PHF), exploring principles of community wellbeing, connectedness, locally grown food and cultural self-determination, asking whether wellness could be as contagious as disease. More recently, Peckham has become thought of as blighted by crime, yet it also draws a remarkably high concentration of artists and arts organisations and attracts many people because of it diverse cultural mix.


Pioneery Health Foundation considered 'society as a living organism'.


To re-evaluate the lessons and legacy of the Pioneer Health Centre in contemporary Peckham could be an opportunity to think creatively about social sustainability and personal empowerment. It would open questions about how we understand disruption and emergence in a place rich in both.