College of Humanities & Department of Development Studies

Border Crossings: Exploring history and community through virtual reality at the 75th anniversary of the Partition

Border Crossings examines how public narratives and memories of the 1947 partition are changing in Britain and how technology, specifically Virtual Reality (VR), can facilitate dialogue across generations and communities.

Border Crossings seeks to examine how public narratives and memories of the partition of 1947 have developed and changed over time. Through a focus on the experiences of South Asia diaspora communities in the UK, the project explores how Virtual Reality (VR) technology and visual media can be used to facilitate new dialogues across different generations and communities. 

We examine how diaspora experiences can open up new ways of looking at the partition and its legacies as well as the social categories through which we understand the past and future of the South Asian subcontinent beyond those of religion and nation.

We have worked with Project Dastaan following the UK tour of their digital exhibit ‘‘Child of Empire and Lost Migrations’’ from July-October 2022. We collected survey data and qualitative reflections, views, and attitudes to understand changes and intergenerational shifts in the memorialisation of partition. 

We developed innovative and participatory methods to facilitate cross-community conversations to engage with themes related to South Asian communities in the UK and the legacy of partition. We are now building a website to share these findings as well as wider conversations about the impact of partition and the legacies of colonial rule for understandings of community and identity in the UK as well as South Asia.