Borderlands brought together artists whose practice engages with issues of boundaries and border zones. At a time when, internationally, the subject of borders and border crossings is of pressing concern, this exhibition took a unique perspective. The show in Gallery North worked with concepts of hard and soft borders; hard territorial zones – geo-political and others – which circumscribe mobility and enforce separation, and more symbolic regions such as the Anglo-Scottish border where movement is relatively unhindered but where dynamic, hybrid identities emerge nevertheless.
WALK’s PI, Dr. Mike Collier’s work in this exhibtion was based on two Referrendum Walks around the walls of Berwick. The first, organised by Northumbria University took place on Saturday 2nd November 2013. The second walk (organised and funded by Creative Lab2) took place on Saturday 13th of September 2014. These events were planned to enable cultural exchange and dialogue by artists working across the Border between England and Scotland. They were timed to coincide with the Independence Referendum which happened on the 18th of September 2014.
The town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and its people, have a complex or problematic identity. Local people are often known as Berwickians, rather than English or Scottish. The walks focused on the natural and man made environment en route, and the cultural context of the area, including some of the monuments and cultural symbols of the town’s changing status and explored the importance of both natural markers and ‘jurisdictional lines’ in relation to self-identification.
The event also considered the power of walking as a means of unfolding the complex histories and cultures of an area such as this located firmly in the border region.
These circular walks were led by Collier and natural historian Keith Bowey.
The two works here are taken directly from Collier’s own note book in which he documents things seen or heard whilst walking.