ANOTHER EUROPE

another europe
Simon Roberts, Dickens Festival, Isle of Thanet from the series Merrie Albion (2007-2017). (Flowers Gallery London)

At Kings Cross Station, London, there’s a street exhibition on large posters of photos taken throughout Europe (above), an EU-funded project called Another Europe. They’re pictures of interesting corners and everyday life in countries some of which I know nothing about, like Slovenia. When we leave the EU there will be no more events like this.

A feature of the EU that has been not much discussed in Brexit is the EU’s promotion of international understanding, equality, social solidarity, and mutual respect. I used to work on EU projects in which international exchange and collaboration were essential. We will lose that.

Perhaps it’s an indication of our semi-detached attitude to the EU that it was always easier to find people from other EU countries to visit the UK than to find people in the UK to visit other EU countries. On one project, I tried to set up a programme with a German schoolteacher that was based on exchange visits between German and British secondary schools and couldn’t find a single pupil in my town who wanted to visit Germany. On another, I couldn’t find any colleague in my council who would join me in conferences in France and Holland. One came reluctantly to Milton Keynes.

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