Seminar at Maynooth University (Ireland)
The seminar “Hospitality/’Hostipitality’: Tensions and Contradictions in the reception and treatment of migrants in the University, Ireland and Europe” was celebrated on Monday, 9th March, 2020, 9am-4.30pm at the MUSSI Seminar Room. Co-organised by Project Member Barry Cannon (Dept of Sociology, Maynooth University) and Malene Jacobsen (Dept of Geography, Maynooth University), the seminar served as a bridge among scholars, social agents, filmmakers and students to discuss how migration and university operate in relation to access of students, presence in syllabus, challenges for graduates and future targets shared by society, lecturers, filmmakers and society. Participation saw more than 30 people from different countries, professions and ages.
The seminar explored the tension identified in Derrida’s concept of ‘hostipitality’, investigating how both of its meanings — hostility and hospitality— manifest themselves in Europe and Ireland. More pointedly, it drew attention onto the role the University and the Social Sciences should play in trying to reconcile these seemingly contradictory tendencies within hospitality itself.
The seminar committed to provide a forum that:
- Showcased and encouraged discussion between different departments in the Faculty of Social Science (FSS), in the University, other Irish universities, and from Spain on the issue of migration in Ireland and Europe from the perspective of ‘hostipitality’.
- Favored a platform for migrant groups and support groups to discuss with university leaders the issues that affect them, thus facilitating interaction and exchange of ideas between these groups on the themes of the seminar. Representatives from AMLA Muslim Women Group, MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland), Immigration Council of Ireland, Irish-Police Society and Cross care interacted with staff from School of Law and Society from Maynooth University and PM Ana Manzanas (from University of Salamanca, Spain). They all participated in a round table that tackled, questioned and mapped the contemporary challenges faced by both hosts and guests.
- Offered a space for both groups (migrants and scholars of migration) to dialogue and reflect on the role of the university, in making Ireland and the University more hospitable places for the migrant.
- Built a safe space for open and engaged interaction and exchange, respecting the group’s diversity and varying experiences and perspectives in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect. Key was the presence of a film director, Caoimhe Butterly, who showed two of her short films as instances of how to address the creation of archives for migrants’ testimonies and roles in host societies.
- Presented the intellectual outputs of the project (Film Analysis of Movies, Documentary on migrant musicians and MOOC on Hospitality and European Film) to increase their impact.
- Shared the dissemination activities undertaken by the Project (Film seminars, interaction with social agents, training activities and workshops).