Want to escape the city without escaping the Fringe? Want to immerse yourself in cultural arts and informative panels? Then get out of the city for the weekend and head over to the Beyond Borders International Festival, a liberal symposium on international relations that champions diversity within Scotland and its global neighbors.
Arrive at Waterloo Place for an hour-long free shuttle service to Traquair House, and make sure that you take a second to observe the gorgeous Scottish scenery that most city centre festival patrons unfortunately miss out on. Beyond Borders greets its patrons with an idyllic Walled Garden where most of the events take place, including Yoga & Meditation, Pop-Up Poetry, Film Screenings, Classic Indian Dance, and Beyond Borders Question Time (including my interview with the BBC’s Razia Iqbal). Across the grounds near the main house you will find informative panels on a variety of international, social, and cultural topics, notwithstanding; ex-CIA agent Valerie Plume and her ‘Betrayal by the White House’, ‘Populism and the New World Order’ ‘Where Now for Catalonia and Europe?’ Jodi Rudoren and her New York Times photojournalist display Hard Truths, and many more.
The brief reprise from the more metropolitan Festival Fringe cannot be understated – and Beyond Borders has landed a smashing venue in the shape of the serene Traquair House. The event does not suffer from overcrowding, though more people tend to arrive later in the afternoon. The grounds are decorated with yurts and tipis, dogs and peacocks – the latter of which is quite a pleasant surprise. Though the schedule is jam-packed with overlapping events over the two days, you can still find yourself, at times, feeling a bit listless and bored. The organisation of the event is loose with timing, and often events tend to be switched around to different timetables at the drop of a hat – which, after a while, can be frustrating.
This, however, is quickly negated by the sheer amount of conversation to be had – and that is where the beauty of Beyond Borders shines through. They open the floor to an exorbitant amount of conversation and open political discussion. It is the quintessential safe space for global discourse, and for that reason alone, Beyond Borders is recommendable for anyone savvy and worldly enough who want to change the world but does not know where to start.
Engaging, entertaining, and inclusive, the Beyond Borders International Festival is a Fringe must-do for any globally-friendly and inquisitive patron.
Beyond Borders International Festival 2018
Traquair House (Venue 505)
Image: Beyond Borders International Festival