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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

March for Rejoin II Speech

I spoke about my 'Brexiles' project at the second annual march for Rejoin in London on 23/09/23

I used this platform to promote my current "Brexiles" exhibition at the Circle Gallery in Sheffield as well as the open night event which is being supported by Sheffield for Europe. I explained the concept behind the project and the understanding I had gained from the research about conflicted identity. Many of my interviewees stated that they were "patriotic Brits" even though they had left the UK (or remained living abroad) because of the developing political climate. They spoke fondly of physical aspects of British culture which they missed; places, landscapes, cultura events, food, shops and people - whereas it was the rising xenophobia and political rhetoric which had driven them out of the country.

I concluded my speech with a poem which I had written to reflect on my "Brexiles" projects, in particular the interviews I conducted with the 27 British expats. My aim was to distill their stories into a 3 verse (12 line) poem which I could perform at cultural events such as the March to Rejoin. I had many compliments on the poem after I had performed it and one woman said it had brought a tear to her eye. The lyrics are below:

'Lives inverted, reflected, distorted, tides erase and redraw the lines, Stony faces brace the changing winds, humans made malleable to confines, Fractured, dismantled, reconstructed in pursuit of alternatives, Desire drives wanderlust, the insatiable hunger to consume what the world gives,

Seismic shifts shake the Earth like a sheet into landscapes beyond recognition, People flee for safety and warmth, trusting instincts and their intuition, Searching, seeking, responding to circumstances outside of their control, Bravery rewards the courageous who risk their exile for political parole,

Borders do not bind but simply define the edges where segments combine, From tattered rags blown by gusts to proud flags high above, billowing in line, Shattered glass like dreams past, broken and reformed into visions unseen, Identity questioned, considered, unanswered, abandoning what could have been.'

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