Dr Katy Hayward: The future of national borders across these islands #JHISS

Queen’s University’s Dr Katy Hayward addressed the John Hewitt International Summer School delegates in Armagh this morning. The political sociologist reflected on the future of national borders across these islands in light of Brexit.

During her 40 minute talk she asked why is it so difficult to conceive ‘flexible and imaginative’ solutions for the Irish border after Brexit. and looked at three dimensions of how the EU has changed the Irish border: trade, citizens and closer union.

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As well as the impact of extracting NI and the whole UK from the EU, Brexit has helped to demonstrate intractable nationalisms within our politics and highlighted our local difficulty in thinking about the future.

Hayward closed her talk by looking at what is needed now at this early stage in the negotiations, and identified some of the ways in which we may see differentiation (territorially and otherwise) and faced up to the complexity, need for flexibility and challenges facing our political institutions.

The John Hewitt International Summer School continues in Armagh until Saturday with tickets still available for a range of political and cultural talks and performances. Dr Caroline Magennis is turning the page on Unsettling Intimacy: Northern Irish Short Fiction after the Agreement on Thursday morning, and the Gibraltar Representative to the UK, Dominique Jan Searle will talk about The Garlic Wall separating Spain from Gibraltar on Friday morning.