CCBS Director, Ruth Taillon was one of the speakers at Shoreline Voices, held as part of the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, on 3 June, to launch the InSight initiative that will explore the visual, natural and personal connections between South West Scotland, the Isle of Man, Cumbria and Northern Ireland/Ireland. Other contributors were Dr Brian Irving from Cumbria; Dr Valentina Bold, from Dumfries and Galloway, expert in cultural traditions; and artist Julian Watson, also from Dumfries and Galloway. Readings from four leading poets represented and connected the neighbouring shorelines: Stacy Astill from Isle of Man, Northern Ireland’s Paul Yates, Liz Niven of Dumfries and Galloway and Peter Rafferty, Cumbria.
InSight organiser Julian Watson said:
“Standing on a clear day on any prominent hill or headland in Dumfries and Galloway you can see easily, to the south, the Cumbrian Lake District and the Isle of Man. Westwards, you can see Ireland.
… the Northern Irish Sea … has structured what it is to live in this part of the world. … InSight seeks to explore, encourage and enjoy those traditional links across the northern Irish Sea. We want to find ways to foster new connections and collaborations between our four shorelines.”
In her closing remarks at the event, Ruth Taillon welcomed the InSight initiative as particularly timely as our islands face into the impacts of the impending ‘Brexit’. She spoke of the importance of fostering our networks and relationships; sharing knowledge and experiences; and building understanding of our commonalities and diversities. The Centre for Cross Border Studies is looking forward to future engagements with our friends and colleagues around the Irish Sea.