june 2018

21jun09:4510:15Eva McGrath - Fluid River Borders: ferry crossing narratives and the experience of being between.09:45 - 10:15 B: Studio 1

Event Details

Thalweg. An invisible bordering, ordering line, deep cut into the river bed’s slow moving crust. As the watersswirl;oscillatingabove,palpablydancingto the tidal rhythm dictated by the moon, how aware is the river that it is an analytical, political division? That its waters conflate at the river bank edge only to separate. To reinstate an “us” and “them” living across the river; a stone’s throw away, rippling language which plummets deep.

Ferry. Floating raft. From oar and chain to steering mechanised engineering. Crowds directed on board, mechanised engineering. Crowds directed on board, floating land above surface: moving waves. Identified as crew and tourist, commuter and delivery driver parked up, looking overboard. Waiting for the other side.

Border. Bank. Edge. A state of being in-between; unravelling at the margins. Fluid possibilities of transgressing, of crossing over. Of being transformed.

I explore river borders, through experiences of ferry crossings.

I am interested in perceptions of the other side, of home, of discovery, of the mundane, whilst floating between.

My region is the South West, as the ferry has clung on: in spite of bridge, rail and road transport rivalry. Within this unique watery region, there remain 16 ferry crossings, cutting across underwater borders ancient, pastoral, regional and imagined. Of rivers dismissed because they aren’t the size of the Amazon; of ferry trails submerged, as scattered as the tin mines. I interview on the river and share the narratives of crew and commuter: their language shaped by the pulsating river, thalweg flowing below: the engine rumbles.


Eva Grace Lamb McGrath is a fully funded PhD candidate within the Human Geography Department at Plymouth University (2017-2020): creatively exploring rivers, borders and ferry crossings.

During her Undergraduate and Masters in Literature at King’s College London, she specialised in aquatic readings of literary texts: studying the theme of water across disciplines, time scales and in alternative forms (sea, river, ice, canal, delta, rain, marsh).


(Thursday) 09:45 - 10:15


B: Studio 1

Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EN