Over recent years, the issues of Brexit, COVID and the ‘migrant crisis’ put Kent in the headlines like never before. Images of asylum seekers on Kent beaches, lorries queued on motorways and the crumbling white cliffs of Dover all spoke to national anxieties, and were used to support ideas that severing ties with the EU was the best – or worst – thing the UK has ever done. In this coastal driftwork, Phil Hubbard – an exiled man of Kent – considers the past, present and future of this corner of England, alighting on a number of key sites which symbolise the changing relationship between the UK and its continental neighbours. Moving from the geopolitics of the Channel Tunnel to the cultivation of oysters at Whitstable, from Derek Jarman’s feted cottage at Dungeness to the art-fuelled gentrification of Margate, Borderland bridges geography, history, and archaeology, to pose important questions about the way that national identities emerge from contested local landscapes.
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