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Edge Hill University researchers to explore the concept of hospitality after being selected as Being Human festival hub

October 3, 2023

Edge Hill University has been selected as one of five flagship hubs for this year’s Being Human festival, exploring the concept of hospitality in all its different guises.

Inspired by the Ancient Greek concept of sacred hospitality, researchers from Edge Hill will lead a programme of events titled ‘Be My Guest’ at venues in Liverpool city centre including FACT and St Luke’s, better known as the Bombed Out Church.

Activities including screenings, creative writing workshops, and a comedy quiz will explore themes of migration and belonging, otherness, healthcare and nature.

Dr Zayneb Allak, who has overseen the creation of the programme, said: “The events all respond to xenia, the Ancient Greek concept of sacred hospitality, and xenos, the foreigner to whom that hospitality is extended.

“When Derrida discusses it, he invites us to think about hospitality as a question of the ‘other’. How do we host the other and how might we be the other that’s hosted? Since 2020 we’ve had to renegotiate hospitality: we hosted a deadly virus but couldn’t host our friends, we waited for Zoom hosts to ‘let us in’, but weren’t able to accept in-person hospitality, not even from a hospitality industry that begged us to be their guest.

“It wasn’t just Covid – hospitality, as a question of the other, is key to so many contemporary debates – around crises in asylum, care and climate, and around the drawing-up of borders in the UK and elsewhere.

“At the heart of this programme is the conviction that a creative conversation about hospitality is what we need.”

Running from Friday 10 November to Saturday 18 November, diversity and inclusion sits at the heart of a programme designed to explore guest-host relations and the question of hospitality.

Events will be free and open to all and hosted in accessible venues in Liverpool city centre.

  • Guest or Pest – hospitality-themed comedy quiz hosted by drag queen Stephanie Legs
  • In Other Words: Hit the Road – writing workshop and screening of Iranian film ‘Hit the Road’
  • In Other Words: God’s Own Country – writing workshop and screening of ‘God’s Own Country’
  • In Other Words: The Trouble with Nature – writing workshop and screening of ‘The Trouble with Nature’
  • In Other Words – writing workshop building on activities related to screenings
  • No Angels – immersive theatre performance exploring nurse’s experiences of working in healthcare
  • Holy Hosts – pop-up exhibition, short film screenings and performances celebrating work of people who support homelessness charities
  •  Keyside – performance by Liverpool band that includes EHU alumni
  • The Other Side of Hope – discussion of journeys in refugee and immigrant literature and writing workshop
  • What’s her story? – an interactive talk and pop-up exhibition that celebrates research and achievements of women whose education and teacher training was hosted by Edge Hill College

The events all speak to issues of race, gender, and sexuality, as well as engaging with arts and communities who have experienced issues relating to shelter, care, war, poverty and oppression.

Locating the events in hospitality venues on Bold Street means that they directly support the local hospitality industry, bringing visitors to a sector that has experienced difficulties in recent years.

Being Human is the UK’s national festival of the humanities. A celebration of humanities research through public engagement, it is led by the School of Advanced Study, the UK’s national centre for the pursuit, support and promotion of research in the humanities.

The festival works in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy to support humanities public engagement across the UK through more than 200 events.

The national festival returns to locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from 9–18 November.

All Being Human events are free, with booking required for some activities

Every year, researchers in the humanities – from literature and history, languages and philosophy, art history and classics, and more – produce enjoyable events for public audiences that emphasise working with local communities to share ideas for mutual benefit.

October 3, 2023


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