Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Death Cafe update January 2012

The new year has started busily for Death Cafe. We're extremely happy to be participating in Death: South Centre's Festival of the Living at the Royal Festival Hall this weekend. We're running a Death Cafes on both Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January, running from 2 - 3pm, and will be sharing a space with our good friends the Natural Death Centre

We hope to have 30 people participating in each session and as such have 3 people facilitating these. Sue Barsky-Reid, our main facilitator, will be leading one session, with another led by Death Cafe veteran the fantastic Kristie West and I (Jon) will be leading my first Death Cafe (gulp). 

Entry to the Death Cafe is free with a day pass for the festival Edit: you don't need a day pass! and will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Please do come along if you're there. We will be serving our usual delicious cake and a homemade ginger, honey and lemon tea.

As part of the publicity for the festival, Sue was interviewed by the Independent last week, in an article called 'No death please, we're British'. 

The article ran: "Sue Barsky-Reid, a psychotherapist who has helped to run a ‘death café’ set up by Jon Underwood, said significant numbers of young people had come along to discuss the end over a cup of tea and slice of home-made cake. “We have the discussions for two hours and in the last half hour, we talk about life more than death, but people are reluctant to stop talking about death. It’s been mostly young people coming along, the average age is about 35. “It’s the enthusiasm that is the most surprising. People really engage with it, and they go away happy, which seems counter-intuitive, but it’s not.”

We're really pleased with our first bit of national press!

The Death Cafe in the Royal Festival Hall will be our first outside our original home in Hackney. In the future we're keen to run sessions in other external venues and are searching for suitable places. If you have any ideas about where might be good for a Death Cafe in London please do let me know. This year we're also going to be setting up cafes outside London and are exploring options in Chester and Cardiff.

News of the Death Cafe has spread, and we've had a number of enquiries from people keen to set up Death Cafes of their own - some from as far afield as New York and Chicago. We're very happy about this - the more people talking about death the better! To support these budding Death Cafes we're putting the finishing touches to some 'guidance' about how to set up a Death Cafe of your own. Please let me know if you'd like a copy of the initial version of this via underwoodjon [at] gmail [dot] com.

We're also keeping our website updated and are keen to host death-themed contributions from others. If you've got something you think would be good to post up please do send it over.

That's it for now. Exciting times!

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