Sulzburg Dialogues


The Uncanny in the Neighbourhood
Das Unheimliche in der Nachbarschaft


In his essay The Uncanny Freud ruminates about the meaning of this word, Das Unheimliche, in the original German. He plays with the derivation of Heimlich and Unheimlich and decides that Unheimlich or Uncanny is something that is both familiar associated with ‘feeling at home’, and unfamiliar or frightening associated with ‘not feeling at home’. In the process he discovers a more subtle and important meaning for Unheimlich. It is the name given to everything that ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light.

Encountering the Uncanny has the effect of making Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway always feel “that something awful was about to happen”. Increasingly we are confronted with similar feelings that something awful is about to happen both close to home and not so close to home. The uncanny in our neighbourhood and in the world. Refugees fleeing from violence, oppression and poverty are arriving in unprecedented numbers. Our neighbourhoods that once felt familiar and safe now feel strange and unsafe while we are also being subjected to many forms of external terror. We are at once suffering externally and internally from feelings of dread and persecution.

How can we cope with these new emotional challenges? One way to cope is the tendency to think about the unbearable present as an aberration – a ‘momentary disturbance’ that will eventually return ‘normal’. But, will it? What if this is the new normal?

In and through the Sulzburg Dialogues we would like to explore the emotional impact of the current situation on each of us, individually and collectively. We would also like to address the historical influences shaping our actual thinking and feeling, investigating together how these might motivate our attitudes and actions.

Location and Working Method

Inspired by its location, the former synagogue of Sulzburg, the workshop makes use of the so called ‘group analytic’ method of free-floating group dialogue as it was developed by SH Foulkes, a German-Jewish refugee in Britain and his colleague Patrick de Maré. In addition to verbal exchange, space will also be provided for Social Dreaming and exploration through drawing of the themes arising to help us discover what can be shared and what so far has been hidden from our conscious view.

The Convenors

Teresa von Sommaruga Howard with Dieter Nitzgen (Germany)
The workshop will be facilitated as an experiential process.

Who for?

This workshop is for anyone who feels that they would like to explore these issues.  We welcome anybody from any professional background.


Primarily English and German but we work with the languages that participants bring.

Maximum Number

15 to 20 participants


Sulzburg Synagogue


Early Bird until 15 June: €220, 00 for GASI Members; €240, 00 for non-Members.

After 15 June: €260, 00 for GASI Members; €280, 00 for non-Members.

Non-returnable cancellation fees: €50.00.

To pay fees click on the link below:

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