The trip to Narva at Russian border took place after the two intensive days of discussions at Tallinn University, and presented and opportunity to see the geopolitically charged border between Estonia and Russia. Importantly, the last panel of symposium, on creative approaches to borders, took place at Narva Art Residency. Thus on January 20, a busload of border studies scholars took to the road towards Narva, on the way also visiting a frozen waterfall at Jägala. 


Participants first visited Narva’s Town Hall, where they met with the city’s former Mayor and historian Katri Raik, author of several books on Narva. Katri Raik discussed key issues facing Narva, which is the third largest city in Estonia with approximately ninety-five percent of its population being Russian-speaking. Ms Raik discussed Narva’s declining population, the heated removal of a Soviet-era World War II monument after Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent restrictions on cross-border movements. After lunch, border scholars visited the Narva Promenade, running along the bank of the Narva River that is the boundary between Estonia and Russia, and the EU and NATO external border.

The riverbank offered the fieldtrip participants a view of an international checkpoint and the bridge that connects Estonia and Russia, and the view of Russian town of Ivangorod (Jaanilinn in Estonian as during 1649-1945 it was a part of Narva town). Border studies scholars also attended the final academic panel of the symposium at the Narva Art Residency, operated by the Estonian Academy of Arts. The panel on Creative Approaches to Border Studies included presentations by scholars and artists on topics related to border studies and the humanities.