Dr. Merav Roth, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, was the guest lecturer at the third session of the 2018–2019 Negev Lab series, which began with the participants studying S. Y. Agnon’s text “Friendship” in pairs. This text tells the story of the wanderings of a man who is trying to return home but who has forgotten where he lives. The joint reading of this literary work formed the basis for dialogue about people and place, and about the connection of this relationship to the subject of this year’s Negev Lab series: shadow and desert.
Dr. Roth, whose work includes psychoanalytical exploration of literature and culture, then addressed the group. Revisiting Agnon’s story, she spoke about the aspects of shadow in the human psyche on an axis between the views of Freud, who holds that “the shadow of the object falls upon the ego,” and the views of Jung, who sees shadow as the combination of the parts of the ego which it itself cannot bear. The guided study of the text, which focused on the shadows of the human psyche, was enlightening and offered an opportunity for a collaborative discussion of shadow, humanity, and society, as foundations of human experience and cultural creativity.
After the lecture, the participants returned to small discussion groups and thought together about the concept of shadow and the challenges of the social-cultural initiatives the participants are leading throughout the Negev. These include such challenges such as bringing in and retaining new populations, with a particular focus on the western Negev, as compared to the eastern Negev; increasing the number of applicants to higher education from Bedouin-Arab society; and promoting arts and cultural events for the LGBTQ community in Beer Sheva.
Dr. Ruth Calderon, visiting faculty member of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev, and
Dr. Adi Nir Sagi, director of the Center, the Negev Lab is a forum for leaders from the Negev region who come together to learn and gain inspiration on issues relating to local arts and culture. The event was attended by leading Negev figures from local government, academia, public institutions, and cultural organizations active in local arts. These gatherings support the development and implementation of unique and groundbreaking forms of cultural initiatives in the Negev.