Settlements were not built on linear processes that link inputs to outputs to outcomes and impact. This formula was not available to the founders, who did not find the need to find an alternative.

Settlement Chief Executive Mike Wilson has a strong interest in the work of philosopher Gillian Rose. In her work, and in the attached reflection by Rowan Williams, the metaphor is ‘to stay in the difficult middle’, that life is a series of challenges, and the response is to stay engaged with those challenges.

Out of this work came the invitation by Mike Wilson to place a ‘stake in the ground’, a vision of the 21st Century Settlement, a model for the Walworth Living Room, that could used to get started and engage with the community, and also a focus of response from those involved.

The underpinning philosophy is extremely difficult. In this conversation, Mike Wilson and Edward Harcourt -professor of Philosophy at Keble College Oxford try to make senes of Rose’s work.