It is with sadness that I write these few words after the passing of a dear friend and colleague, Burkard Sievers. He was a past president and distinguished member of ISPSO and was Professor Emeritus with a chair in Organisational development at the University Wuppertal. He was co editor of Free Association, the only German speaking journal connecting Psycho and Socio-Analytic thinking with organisations, society and culture. In 2002 he included in that journal papers by Susan Long and myself, which gave me the confidence to continue my links to organisational and group processes..He co founded the first group relations organisation in Germany and directed conferences for over twenty years.
For those of us who knew him, it is loss infused with gratitude. I first met him at the initial Melbourne meeting of ISPSO, when I reviewed his intended paper. I had never read anything like it, suffused with biblical, literary and historical references as well as those from Organisational life. I remember him as both mentor and teacher, always intellectually curious, but mostly, with his wife Rose Redding Mersky, also a Past President and Distinguished Member of ISPSO, as a dear friend with whom I shared many moments exploring our love of Jazz, attending a free jazz concert at Carnegie Hall, and discussing his interest in the history of whaling and the meaning of the novel ’Moby Dick’ . I found his interest in the “dark side” of organisational life, both confronting and inspiring, encouraging me to pursue his ideas in my own work. In his later years, with Rose he developed and explored the projective value of photography, the Social-Photo Matrix, a technique and practise which Rose continues to develop, along with her interest in Social Dreaming at work. For those who did not know him, all of his papers are available in the ISPSO library for those who may be interested.
With gratitude for the privilege of benefitting from your life, well lived, Vale Burkard Sievers.