Dr Francesco Paradiso, Faculty of Arts

Dr Francesco Paradiso

Dr Francesco Paradiso works as Research Fellow and Research Development Officer in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Wolverhampton.

He holds a PhD in Philosophy form the University of New South Wales, Australia. His research focuses on Ethics and Improvisation. 


Hospitable Offbeats: Jazz Improvisation and the Unconditional Welcome

Description & Aims

Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s philosophical analysis of the ethics of hospitality, the project explores the ethical implications of jazz improvisation and its impact on community building and human interaction. Derrida argued that the ethics of hospitality is characterised by a constant play of a conditional and unconditional form of hospitality. On the one hand, giving hospitality implies the impossibility to stand outside culture and history, stemming from the conditions linked to one’s cultural identity. On the other hand, there is the desire to welcome unconditionally the culturally different “other” as equal. This transforms hospitality into an unstable site of strategy and decision permeated by improvisation. The research builds on this premise and investigates the play of the two forms of hospitality in jam sessions, where the improvisative element of jazz is particularly evident. The objective is to reinforce the view that both Derrida’s approach to the ethics of hospitality and improvisation are beneficial to human interaction and community building.


The research has involved the following methods:

  • Analysis of texts, conducted mainly at the University of Wolverhampton.
  • Analysis of audio/video material, conducted at the University of Wolverhampton and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Canada.
  • Interviews, conducted with jazz musicians and improvisers in Boston, US; and at the International Institute for critical Studies in Improvisation, Canada
  • Focus groups, conducted at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Canada
  • Observation of live jam sessions, conducted at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Canada; and various live music venues in New York and Boston

Institutions involved in the research activities

  • International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph, Canada
  • School of Media, Birmingham City University, UK
  • Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, US

Findings and Dissemination

The research conducted during this fellowship has evidenced a strong link between Jacques Derrida’s understanding of the ethics of hospitality and the ethical dimension of improvisation. Some of the findings can be found in the outputs below, above all in the conference paper, which is the latest output of the project. This fellowship will be used as pilot project to develop further Dr Paradiso’s research into the relationship between ethics, sound and improvisation, in collaboration with the network of institutions established during the fellowship.

Lectures and Conferences

Paradiso, F. “The sound of ethics. Alterity, sound and improvisation meet on a Monday morning at Silence in Guelph”. 24th Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, Guelph, Canada. 13 September 2017. http://improvisationinstitute.ca/workshops-conferences/guelph-jazz-festival-colloquium/gjfc-2017/

Paradiso, F. “Hospitable Offbeats: Jazz Improvisation and the Unconditional Welcome”. Public Lecture. Institute for Critical Studies in improvisation, University of Guelph, Canada. 07 April 2017


Academic Publications

Paradiso, F. “Playin(g) Iterability and Iteratin(g) Play: Tradition and Innovation in Jazz Standards”. Epistrophy, No. 2, 2017