Acts of hospitality, the role of ‘guest’ and ‘host’ as art practice.
University of the Arts, London
Year of enrolment: 2019
When working in community-based contexts, artists often embody the role of either the ‘guest’ - as ‘outsider’ and 'innovator’ in a community (Levine, 1971) - or ‘host’ – these are practices which I consider in my research under the term Hospitality. This research centres on my experiences as an artist, a ‘guest’ and ‘host’ in rural communities in Ireland, whereby through building relationships and collaboration at a local level, I aim to reveal wider notions hospitality towards ‘outsiders’ on a national and international scale (Bulley, 2017).
Hospitality is particularly poignant in an Irish context and is deeply rooted in Irish identity - Céad Míle Fáilte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes) is our national slogan. My research traces the historical and cultural significance of hospitality in Irish society, examining its links to the Celtic Revival, Irish Literary Renaissance and Postcolonial Ireland, to form a foundation for conversation around contemporary issues such as Brexit, migration & displacement and the Irish housing crisis (Rao, 2012).
Site-specific dialogues, exchanges and exhibitions will take place within communities in Roscommon, a county in the midlands of Ireland, where the actual ‘hotel’ represents a contested space of hospitality. A local hotel embodes much more than somewhere for guests to stay, it is a space for hosting significant life events or congregating and socialising with neighbours and strangers.
I will examine the importance of everyday practices of hospitality, particularly in relation to common challenges around hosting and welcoming ‘others’. Using text, photography, film and through exhibition, I will evidence and share these dialogues and exchanges. This research and practice builds on more than a decade of experience in social practice, cultivated across many roles: artist, collaborator, facilitator, curator and producer.