Jasminka Šuljagić

The Thinking on the Border conference, the third in a row, was held in Istanbul at the beginning of June this year. The organizers were Istanbul Psychoanalytic Association and Istanbul Psychoanalytic Association for Training, Development and Research (PSIKE), in coordination with the international team of this conference.

Let us remind you that this gathering of 9 countries and 13 societies from the region is an initiative of our Society, the idea is to gather the surrounding societies and to start mutual cooperation. During a meeting of the presidents in Brussels, the presidents from Croatia, Austria (two societies), Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy (2 societies) and Turkey (two societies) gathered. We have decided to jointly organize conferences every 2 years, and the organizer and host of the first conference will be our society and Belgrade. Those who were present surely remember how important that gathering was and how successful the conference was. After that conference, with extremely positive impressions, a decision was made to continue the conference with the title we had, ‘Thinking on the Border’, as the title for all future conferences, and to change the title every two years, in accordance with wishes. organizer. The next conference was organized in Rome in 2019, just as important and interesting. Many of our members and candidates were present, and the candidates, like at our conference, had a special price, and a jointly organized pre-conference, with the opportunity to present their work, as well as organized joint social events and socializing.

Two societies from Turkey announced the organization for 2021 and we were all looking forward to it. However, the pandemic prevented us from achieving this. The terrible earthquakes that hit Turkey, along with all the previous delays, for a moment caused anxiety as to whether this joint project would continue and in what way. That is why our participation was particularly important this year, to support the organizers who, despite everything, prepared heartily for the conference, as well as to support the idea that was the basis of our initiative several years ago.

Maša Karleuša Valkanou and Jasminka Šuljagić were present from our society, in addition to over 200 participants from Turkey and members and candidates from other participating countries.

The title of the conference ‘Out of Place’ offered diverse possibilities of approach, which is visible in the conference program: from metapsychological themes of internal exile to topography, clinical images of shelters, homelessness, uncanny feelings, followed by linguistic analyzes and semantic differentiations, through the themes of migration and work with migrants, as well as two round tables dedicated to the recent earthquake (in parallel with the clinical presentations) until the interesting art project ‘An Artist Talk On Retracing Absence Within Space and Memory’, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan. Very interesting presentations were (in addition to the opening lecture Other Places: The chain of the Internal Exiles, Jasminka Šuljagić) the presentation by the member of the Lebanese Society Nayla de Coster ‘Encountering the other, on the demarcation line: When shared trauma attacks both the real space (makan) and the analytic space (makom) leaving the analysis out of place’, as well as the presentation of my colleague Chris Joannidis, who is a member of the Greek and British Society ‘Where I am “at home” is the homeland’. All lectures and all discussions were translated simultaneously.

The organization of the conference was perfect, the discussions lively and stimulating, and there were many young talented colleagues in the audience. Turkish societies are known for a large number of candidates, which I had the opportunity to meet and work with on the presentation of the case of candidate İrem Göksu during the pre-conference day. What is also interesting is that one society belongs to Eightington and the other to the French training model, which makes the whole picture even more lively and rich.

Turkish companies have proven to be excellent hosts. The conference opened with a cocktail at the Bağlam publishing house, located in the historical passage of Istanbul, and ended with a gala dinner, with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus. In the meantime, there were many nice shared moments, which together with the high quality of the works, but also the charms of Istanbul and Turkish cuisine, really make this conference an exceptional and unforgettable experience.

Preparations are underway for the next Thinking on the Border conference, which will be held in June 2025.