The Society is aware of concerns being raised in the wider geographical community relating to the venue hire event organised by PalFest, Nakba – A Century of Resistance and Solidarity, that had been booked to take place in our building on Friday 27 October 2023.
We made the decision to require a postponement or fully refunded cancellation of this venue hire booking on the basis of a risk assessment which considered the safety of the event contributors and guests, our staff and contractors (cleaning, catering and security staff), and the site itself.
We informed the organisers of this decision on Friday 13 October, a full fortnight prior to the event. It was not a decision we took lightly or hastily.
Our decision is based on prioritising the safety of those in and around our building, and is consistent with security advice and the views of those responsible for other historically significant buildings and venues.
We in no way suggest that such disorder would be generated by the organisers, contributors or attendees at the event. Rather we are aware that events held in certain locations can be lightning rods for public protest and other disruptive activity at such a sensitive time.
The Society hugely values its role in enabling and supporting research and debate of, and engagement with, a range of complex issues including via our academic conference and journals, Monday night lectures for members, and public events and publications.
We very much hope that the organisers will bring their events to the Society on future occasions, as they have in the past.
For any further questions or information please contact the Society’s Director, Professor Joe Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correspondence between the geographical community and the Society
After this statement was published, some members of the geographical community worked together to compose a letter to the Society outlining their concerns with the venue hire decision. You can read their letter, and the response to it from the Director by downloading the files below.