Conference: White privilege, racism and psychoanalysis

‘When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe’ Franz Fanon

Saturday 9 October – Sunday 10 October 2021

What can we dare to imagine of a psychoanalysis yet to come?  More of the same or the courage to open our minds, hearts and practice? This conference will explore the complex ways in which race percolates through the psychoanalytic project – even if it is often denied. It offers an opportunity to think about how race impacts upon the clinic, our theory-making, access to the treatment and the structures of our institutions and training.

Organised by The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in conjunction with the department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies (STaCS), Goldsmiths University of London, to coincide with Black History Month.

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  • Achille Mbembe
  • Adam Phillips
  • Abi Canepa-Anson
  • Anthea Benjamin
  • Christina Moutsou
  • Claudia Bernard
  • Dawn Estefan
  • Francis Gilbert
  • Gill Pelage
  • Helen Morgan
  • Leena Dhingra
  • Lynne Brown
  • Paul Kassman
  • Peter Nevins
  • Riad Akbur
  • Salma Siddique
  • Steve Roberts
  • Stuart Stevenson
  • Tina Mistry
  • Wendy Dugba
  • Wanderley Santos Moreira

This will be a blended conference held online via Zoom with limited personal attendance, depending on Covid restrictions. Details to be confirmed nearer the time.

Tickets can be bought for one or two days, with an early bird discount available until the end of August. We want to make this conference as inclusive as possible so please contact us if you would like to attend but are unable to afford the fee.

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Saturday 9 October 10am – 5pm 

10 – 11am: Key note address – Prof Achille Mbembe

  • Chair: Shireen Noor
  • Q&A

11 – 12.30pm: Race in the clinic

  • Abi Canepa-Anson – The gap between the silence and the scream – exploring the problems of racism and colour blindness in psychotherapy training
  • Peter Nevins – Race matters: practising psychoanalysis differently
  • Dawn Estefan – The Black Screen: an exploration of the arbitrary visibility of blackness in the working alliance between the educator and student, therapist and client
  • Q&A

12.30 – 1.30pm lunch

1.30 Film screening: I can’t breathe (Matt Lee and Eric Harper)

1.45 – 3.15pm: Race, trauma and psychoanalysis

  • Stuart Stevenson – Working with institutional and inter-generational trauma
  • Wanderley Santos Moreira – Slavery trauma: Afropessism, psychoanalysis and resistance
  • Gill Pelage – White supremacy as an illusion of knowledge and power internalised worldwide
  • Q&A

3.30 – 5pm: Panel

  • Adam Phillips – Discussion of the book White Fragility
  • Helen Morgan – The problem of whiteness
  • Tina Mistry (aka The Brown Psychologist) – Being South Asian and the struggle for emotional wellbeing
  • Q&A


Sunday 10 October 10am – 5.30pm 

9.45 – 10.45am: Key note address – Prof Claudia Bernard

  • Chair: Chrysanthi Nigianni
  • Q&A

10.45 – 12pm: Stories and narrative – challenging binary thinking

  • Christina Moutsou & Salma Siddique – Doing anthropology in the consulting room
  • Riad Akbur – It was 30 years ago today… Class, race and the making of obscured legacies
  • Q&A

12 – 1.30pm: Breaking out – working outside the therapeutic frame

  • Chair: Andrew Linton
  • Discussion on Changing the Game, a social enterprise which delivers therapeutically oriented group interventions to young people of colour in prisons
  • Speakers: Paul Kassman, Wendy Dugba and Anthea Benjamin

1.30 – 2.30pm lunch

2.30 – 4pm: Creative writing – exercises in escape

  • Francis Gilbert: Introducing free writing
  • Leena Dhingra: White privilege and partition – exercise
  • Steve Roberts: Standard english and writing in dialect – exercise
  • Plenary

4 – 5.30pm: Fish bowl

  • Facilitator: Lynne Brown
  • Sixteen psychotherapists will divide into two groups, one comprised of practitioners from black and other ethnic minorities and the other of white practitioners. The groups will have a 30-minute discussion among themselves, one after the other, with the audience watching. Then they will join together and the conversation will be opened to the floor.

5.30pm: Conclusion

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