Carnegie Mellon University

Center for the Arts in Society

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts


Hospitality Initiative 2023–2026

Think of hospitable entities, spaces, processes, practices, productions, pedagogies, of being welcomed and included: these thoughts may inspire beautiful and comforting images. Yet, is hospitality inherently good? Who or what is host evokes questions of sovereignty and power, property and gift. Who or what is guest distinguishes between the visible and invisible, the welcomed and unwelcome. “Hospitality” explores the possibilities and limits of hospitality, belonging, and gathering through human and non- human entities, mobile and fixed bodies, temporary and permanent spaces. The sites, gestures, acts, and relationships of welcoming or gathering contain power dynamics that reflect financial, social, political, speculative, or imagined currencies, often with burdens and expectations of reciprocity and gratitude. Sites and gestures of hospitality can be found in life, work, theater, performance, leisure, and study: these places and acts invite and even demand critique. Those who are offered hospitality or summoned to belong may resist inclusion and reject invitation given their often heavy price. Is hospitality always a moral imperative? Under what conditions may one choose to be inhospitable?