The ‘Borders, Boundaries and Partition’ event proved to be a wide-ranging and fascinating discussion of the ephemeral or concrete nature of different types of borders and boundaries. We were transported from the affluent environs of moor-shadowed Ilkley to the tension-ridden streets of Northern Ireland in the midst of the Troubles; then to 1980s London, permeated by prejudice, where Abdulrazak Gurnah told us how he was rejected for a job “a corpse could have done” the minute he gave his name; and then forward in time again to 21st century London and a new sense of post-Brexit cultural malaise.
The three panelists drew on their personal experiences of cultural otherness to offer a witty, frank and engaging discussion that ranged from Brexit, Trump and the attitude of the European political elite towards Hungary’s physical walls, built to repudiate refugees, through to more philosophical concepts of borders, their degree of usefulness and future relevance. Sadly, the discussion itself was subject to temporal borders – so there was not enough time to talk about Partition as well on this occasion.
The hour-long event was over in the blink of an eye and we all felt that we had barely dipped our collective toes in the water of this thought-provoking topic. I for one really enjoyed it and I shall be looking to attend further ILF events in future.