8-11/4/2021: Walls - open, closed, sliding? The virus, Europe and our world today
An online experimental working conference in the series: The past in the present
Europe, like the rest of the world, is struggling to cope with the traumatic impact of the Corona virus pandemic and its aftermath.
Dark clouds were already gathering across the continent, threatening the union conceived in the shadow of the Holocaust and World War II to avoid a repetition of the horrors of the past. These involved the influx of migrants, the threat of terrorist attack, financial instability, a growing gap between very rich élites and the very poor (‘the people’), and increased alarm over climate change, the latter spawning a culture of intergenerational blame.
Nationalist populism – e.g. Brexit and the rise of far right parties across Europe – reinforced a wish for strong borders/walls to keep out the “other”, leading to an increase in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism. Into this already fragile situation the virus pandemic landed like a bombshell, amplifying fantasies of contamination – physical and emotional – in which human contact itself has become a source of danger. This brought a new emphasis on
walls – to keep out the virus, and those who carried it, to draw lines of who is to be prioritized for healthcare, creating tensions between groups.The acceleration of digitalization has also brought walls down, expanding virtual meeting spaces and relationships, which, in turn, creates ongoing tension between the intimacy of the local and the seemingly boundless potential
of the global.
This conference, specifically designed to be online, offers an opportunity to consider these issues and their implications in depth, using the Group Relations method PCCA has adapted to study societal tensions, involving Germans, Israelis, Palestinians, West and East Europeans and others.The work will begin with the lived experience of conference participants, taking this as its raw material.
The Conference is directed by Louisa Diana Brunner.
Further information and registration: firstname.lastname@example.org