The History of The Clubhouse @ SWICN

Media Lab Europe

In October of 2002 Media Lab Europe (MLE) agreed to situate a Computer Clubhouse on its campus in  the Liberties. This was the second Clubhouse to be built in Ireland (the first is run by Foroige and situated in Blanchardstown). Working with the local community (the South West Inner City Network – SWICN), the Irish Government, the City of Dublin Youth Services Board (CDYSB) and Intel, a partnership was formed and the SWICN Computer Clubhouse came into being.

The Outreach Computer Clubhouse Programme December 2002 – March 2003

In order to promote the Computer Clubhouse to the local community and teenagers in particular, the “ Outreach Computer Clubhouse” Programme was set up with existing Youth Clubs of the southwest inner city from December 2002 to the opening of the clubhouse in February 2003.

This programme involved visiting Youth Clubs with laptops, digital cameras and a printer, and to work on creative software with the teenagers in the Clubs themselves, using mainly Adobe Photoshop.

This allowed the young people to take pictures of themselves or of their friends, download them onto the laptops, change features of the images on Adobe Photoshop, or insert their picture on a photograph with their favourite football team, singer, etc. Once they were happy about the changes on their picture, they could print it and take it home.

Every teenager working on a laptop benefits from the support of an adult, whether the Computer Clubhouse Co-ordinator or a Volunteer Mentor.

Official Opening

The SWICN Computer Clubhouse was officially opened by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on May the 29th 2003. At this occasion, 15 Young People from School Street and Donore Avenue showed him their work in the Clubhouse, and gave him a tee-shirt they had designed themselves. The 150 guests present were also given the opportunity to see the Members’ work on the computers.

“The first Co-ordinator of the SWICN Intel Computer Clubhouse was Elise Leclerc (2002), a position she started after a Postgraduate Degree in European Project Management for NGOs in Paris. Prior to that she taught English Linguistics in University in Paris for 2 years, while starting a PhD in Transformative Grammar. Qualified with an ‘Agregation Externe’ in English Linguistics, she also taught English in secondary school and high-school, and studied didactics based around Piaget’s theories on learning.

As Manager of the SWICN Intel Computer Clubhouse in Dublin’s Liberties area, she worked around adapting the Computer Clubhouse concept to the local community and young people. She explored a holistic approach combining after-school shortterm and long-term programmes, workshops with Early School leavers and homeless teenagers, as well as adult education and outreach programmes in the local community.” [Youth Arts  Digital Media Resource Pack]

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