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02. Memory and Borders

“Borders, their effect and their history, have become a recurring theme of global politics today; Brexit and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, diplomatic negotiations between North and South Korea and the history of the Berlin wall are examples of stories that have occupied discourse on the concept of borders. While nations may be a modern geopolitical category, their physical demarcations have had significant influence on the formation of memory and identity. Thus, to what extent are our shared or individual memories shaped or limited by borders? How do geopolitical boundaries influence a sense of national identity? What is the legacy of a national ‘border’?”

Memory and Borders began as a conversation between my co-founder, Miriam Phelan, and I that sought to entangle overlapping themes between our two subjects of research (Ireland and Korea, respectively). National imaginaries that grew from cartographic practices, geographical divisions and colonial occupations exist globally, and throughout histories, each with problems unique to localities, yet with intersecting effects. Memory and Borders aims to foreground these themes and the very form of research dissemination itself; exploring different approaches to broaden our audiences and contributors beyond an academic setting.

The first paragraph reiterates the Call for Papers that was sent for our first iteration of the Memory and Borders project in 2018/19. It sought to connect a cross-disciplinary range of researchers, artists, curators and writers through themes of national identity, conflict, violence and trauma, material culture and collective memory, materiality of borders, nationalism, fracture, identity, gerrymandering and democracy. Taking place as a workshop at the V&A on February 11, 2019, with a keynote lecture by the Samsung curator of Korean art, Dr. Rosalie Kim, we brought together a public programme supported by the Design History Society’s Outreach & Events Grant.   

Our next version explores the form of the podcast. We hope to expand on the notion of borders, testing ideas beyond geopolitical demarcations. We are working toward a release in Autumn 2021. If you have any proposals, please send them to memoryandborders@gmail.com.


Poster for the workshop that was held at the V&A on Monday, February 11, 2019. Designed by me.