What does the 21st Century Settlement look like? The case of Pembroke House.


Supervisor: Dr Juan Baeza

Non-accademic partner: Pembroke House

The Settlement Movement in England began in the early 1880s to provide a space where an active partnership could be developed, where the university educated ‘well-to-do’ could live within poor communities to develop a social solidarity in order to build a better neighbourhood together. The settlements provided neighbourhood services such as education, training, home medicine and recreational activities. Various settlements were established in the east end and south east London. Pembroke House is one of the few surviving residence-based settlements that was founded over 130 years ago by students of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge (https://pembrokehouse.org.uk/about-pembroke-house/). During the 20th century many of the welfare services that settlements provided became municipalised and declined with the advent of the Welfare State. Most of those that continued lost their feature of ‘residence’, however, Pembroke House, still retains residence as a central feature and provides accommodation to six residents, the PhD student will become one of these. Today, Pembroke House is a hub for a number of community activities, as well as hosting many of these it also acts as an honest broker that brings various organisations and agencies together to develop innovative community initiatives. With an increasingly pluralist social welfare landscape consisting of state, charity, social enterprise, not for profit and private sectors there is a desperate need for these type of organisations that can bring disparate organisations together to do social good and a corresponding need to investigate how this might be done and what role a settlement such as Pembroke House could play. This proposal will investigate how the settlement concept fits into neighbourhood action in the 21st century. The study will investigate the following questions: 1. How does the settlement interact with other organisations and agencies? 2. How does leadership work in a settlement? 3. How can a settlement work as an honest broker? 3 / 12 4. What does the settlement concept offer to a local neighbourhood? 5. How is the settlement perceived by the local community, both users and non- users? 6. How can a settlement be sustainable? 7. What is the appropriate size for a settlement? 8. Which geographical contexts are appropriate for this type of community organisation? 9. What role does the concept of ‘residency’ provide? An integral aspect of this research is that the student will be imbedded in the research space by living within Pembroke House as a resident. This provides the perfect context for the student to carry out an ethnographic study and “tell the story of Pembroke House”. The single case study approach will allow the researcher to build a rich and in-depth narrative of the work of Pembroke House. The student will be an integral member of the Pembroke House team and will share and exchange knowledge and experiences during the research process.