I’ve been very impressed here by how many international cultural events there are here and how welcomed we have been at all of them. We went to a summit on Islamophobia one day. Scholars had come from all over Europe. The talk we attended was held in English, but translations were set up, available through headsets. The attendance, however, was quite low in my opinion, too low for such an impressive program. I wonder if that level of attendance was expected. Would they still have flown in all these scholars for so few people to listen to?
I had a similar sentiments towards a panel discussion held at the WARM festival. The panel was about portraying violence in the media, a debate on whether or not showing the most extreme graphic images was necessary or helpful. I was very grateful for the opportunity to attend this panel as I have been considering these questions myself. It seems not a lot of others felt the same way, however, as the audience was even more sparse than the Islamophobia summit. Perhaps it was not well advertised, perhaps the fact that it was in English (this time with no translation) was a deterrent… Whatever the case, I was so surprised to find myself seated in front of a panel of professionals from all over the world (Mexico, France, Italy, and UK), such highly educated people in high-ranking positions with such valuable insights to share, and to have so few people there to listen. I found myself wondering how much money they’d spent to bring the scholars in and if they felt it was worth it.