What is Xenia?

Xenia is an organisation that brings together women from different backgrounds to connect, share and learn. In particular we welcome women learning English to participate alongside women who speak fluent English, using Xenia sessions as a time to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet and learn about each other’s perspectives through friendship and shared learning.


Mission and Values

Xenia is an Ancient Greek word meaning hospitality, love and respect between hosts and guests. It recognises and celebrates difference, encouraging people from different places to learn from one another’s cultures.

To us, Xenia is a community of women who welcome, listen, learn, support and share. The values below have been decided by Xenia women throughout workshops together:

  • We welcome all women
  • We value everyone’s experiences and knowledge
  • We take time to listen and understand
  • We all have something to teach
  • We all have something to learn

Our model means that participants learning English will be paired up with English-speaking women, taking part in the workshop together to jointly navigate language, activities and stories. Any woman can take part in Xenia, simple by attending one of our workshops. We welcome all women, including:

  • Migrant, refugee, asylum-seeking and British women (we will not ask your immigration status)
  • Speakers and learners of all languages, including English (all ESOL levels)
  • Disabled women and women of all abilities
  • LGBTQI+ women

Xenia's Story

Xenia began in 2016 as part of the first Antiuniversity Now Festival at Hackney Museum.

Founder Theo Cadbury wanted to run a  workshop to help women from all backgrounds and cultures come together to connect, share experiences and practice English.

Expecting a small group of women to join, Theo was welcomed by a room full of women, who by the end were eager to know when the next Xenia event would be. What started as an experiment, quickly developed from monthly to weekly workshops.

Now each week we welcome regulars and new faces, with women attending from over 56 countries. As well as strong relationships built within the group, Xenia has built many links in the local community.  

Without the support of Hackney Museum, Hackney Council, Groundwork and many more local organisations and venues we could not deliver our weekly workshops and provide access to the wide variety of activities we have hosted.

Read all about the impact Xenia has made since it started here.