School for Tourists: Kunstmuseum Luzern, 2015


School for Tourists is an itinerant project to question what it means to belong in or to a place, asking what are the roles of host and guest, what are the conditions of being local and the terms of being a visitor?

In 2015 the central region of Switzerland celebrated 200 years of hospitality and School for Tourists was invited by Kunstmuseum Luzern in this context. The School for Tourists sought to question the meaning of hospitality to challenge its association with the service industry and consider its possibility for giving without debt. An installation was created within the gallery to host the school including library area, a dinner table complete with School for Tourists place mats and crockery and a portable stepped auditorium that could be reconfigured for discussions and screenings.

Hosted both within the installation and at a number of venues across Lucerne the School for Tourists involved a week long programme of workshops, talks, walks and discussion through which the public were invited to come together to consider possibilities for better relationships across borders, boundaries and with people who we do not know.

A number of special guests contributed to the programme including human rights lawyer Bonny Ling, economist Timo Ohnmacht, expert on the legal and social concerns of bi-national and mixed couples Laura Odasso, expert on cross border marriage Shprea Jashari and Manifesto Club Committee Member Manick Govinda, with whom the public were invited to discuss the history and meaning of hospitality and how it intersects with the central tenets of human rights law and the broader theme of global migration.

Lunches were hosted each day by truly hospitable venues across the city, uncelebrated in the official tourist offer due to their focus on affordability, community and access. With thanks to Hofkirche Luzern, Sentitreff, Zwitscher-Bar and Soup Kitchen.

Also as part of the installation and programme was a guide book for sharing guidance, a help point offering audio walks with Emma Smith, Manick Govinda and Anthony Shragg, a place for questions which could be written on the wall, a kissing gate that toured the gallery and city providing a space for affection between strangers, and a poster announcing a public assembly which was held as the culmination of the weeks activity to discuss the concept of a global citizenry. This culminating discussion will be developed further through new work at RCA, London, in March 2016.