Spatial Analysis, Publications, Exhibition
This project explores the spatial and experiential implications of technical solutions to the question of the UK-Irish border in the context of Brexit. As an ongoing project, the work investigates the interface between technology, policy, space and identity, in order to achieve a better understanding of spatial conditions and experience along the UK-Irish border. The project is building on existing collaborations between academics, technical experts, engineers and stakeholders in the border regions through multi-disciplinary studies, with the intention of developing transferable insights for other international contexts exhibiting similar challenges.
Drawn from the definition of Northern Ireland in the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, the UK-Irish border traces county boundaries. Separation produced between 1968-98 by a militarised, yet porous hard border, was radically redefined by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, enabling an open border and a situation of seamless interdependency. The internationalisation of country boundaries created an irregular division; creating spaces where the most straightforward route between two places on one side of the border, require the boundary to be crossed. In context defined by EU unity, spatial conditions such as this remain largely inconspicuous. However, Brexit now poses unique challenges for cross-border mobility, most notably for businesses sited in spaces straddling both territories.
The specific spatial characteristics of the UK-Irish border means that the effect and outcomes of Brexit are not only intimately tied up with social and economic activity, but also with the use and experience of place. Existing proposals which focus heavily on operational and technical issues relating to tax, logistics and regulation, have so far been limited by their detachment from an understanding of spatial use and performance, which this project seeks to resolve.