“we have no clue and we are just waiting to see what happens”
Caroline Luberhuizen is undertaking a masters in Anthropology
and she has been meeting farmers in Northern Ireland to talk to them about the impact
the border has on their life and how they expect it might affect them post-Brexit.
She shared her research with the group describing the liminal space that
farmers find themselves in between governments, between lands.
Early in the project Garret Carr’s name came up as being an
important person to talk to about borders. He joined up in December to talk
about his projects which looked at mapping and the map as a metaphor. He told
of the many map makers he discovered and how they contribute in a very beautiful
way to our understanding of place and identity. Carr also walked the border
looking at it as a place in of itself, noting those places where unmarked
crossings had been made; local desire lines.
Again, we wrapped up by discussing where each participant
was on the project and what kind of things were being explored. There are still
ideas brewing as well as works well under way.
In November 2019 the group made their way to the village of
Clady near Strabane. Some of the group had participated in the recent ‘Voicing
the Bridge’ project there and were keen to learn more about life on the border
from the towns’ residents.
Johnny Kelly from Border People Against Brexit talked to the
group about why this cross border, cross-community, politically unaligned group
was established and what they were doing in response to their belief that a
border would have devastating effects on them and their communities. It was
remarkable to hear how this group of people came together and were not influencing
the decisions being made at European level. Kelly was eloquent, passionate and
generously spent much more time than planned with the group answering all their
questions with clarity and respect.
Eamonn Lafferty, a resident who is also involved in the ‘100
words 1 picture’ project also talked about his experiences of growing up,
living and working in and away from Clady and the changes he saw, physical and
societal. Marcus O’ Neill also spoke about his experiences and difficulties of
living in a town with a manned border. He talked about his life now, paddling
the Foyle river, enjoying nature bringing up his family in peace.
We rounded up the day with each participant talking about
the approach they were taking with the project. Some had begun work, others researching,
others still not quite sure what direction to take. It was very useful for all
of us to hear how each person was experiencing the project in a unique way and
the resulting work should make an excellent exhibition.
The Tower Museum is the host venue for the upcoming exhibition so it seems logical to have our next meet up here. After a quick briefing on project updates we were taken on a tour of The Story of Derry, specifically looking at the period from about 1900 to 1922 and artefacts from that era. It was in the late 1800’s that the idea of Home Rule gained momentum with the establishment of the Home Rule Association by Issac Butt in 1870. It was another 20 years before the notion of The Partition of Ireland was mentioned. and another 30 years or so before it came into being. No wonder Brexit is taking it’s time.
In the afternoon Kate Nolan and Trish Lambe talked to us about their photographic projects on the border. Nolans Lacuna is a long term project that involved primary school aged children and their ideas about the border and how it effects them and their identity. Having no memory of a physical border these your people give us an insight into the psychological space of the border.
The first Meet up took place at the Nerve Centre in
Derry~Londonderry and was attended by almost thirty Artlink Members who had
registered for the project. Individuals travelled from across the country as
well as from Counties Donegal and Derry to officially commit to the project and
to participate in a presentation by curator Adrian Grant on The Partition of
Ireland. The presentation covered a brief history of events that led up to the
creation of a border on the island of Ireland. It covered and how the concept
came about and how it was negotiated politically and the tension it caused and
the fighting on the streets that ensued.
Notes from the presentation are available to project participants in the research and resources section in the message boards section of this website.