Between 2013 and 2015, the ESRC funded a seminar series examining the changing relationship between Scotland and the North East of England. While the series highlighted the many challenges facing the North East’s economic fortunes in the context of an even more powerful neighbour north of the border, it also explored the opportunities provided by the Scottish independence campaign – and the aftermath of the 2014 referendum – to forge new, creative, cross-border collaborations between two ‘close friends’ united by common bonds and shared traditions.
Here Professor Keith Shaw of Northumbria University, who led the seminar series, writes about the effect on the relationship between Scotland and the North East of England and forthcoming potential outcomes following Brexit.
One of the collaborative opportunities identified – and subsequently taken up – in the ESRC seminar series ‘Close Friends’? Assessing the impact of greater Scottish autonomy on the North of England was for the five local authorities adjacent to the Scotland border to promote greater cross-border economic collaboration and ensure that a stronger voice for the borderlands area is developed.