Thursday, 23 May 2013

Write-up of Death Café London

James and Lawrence
By James Norris of Dead Social

Last week DeadSocial took a week off from our normal activities to run a popup shop in London and host a series of events and workshops during Dying Matters Awareness Week.  One of the highlights was an event called ‘Death Café’.

Death Café is a place for open discussion around death. Over 100 Death Cafés have now occurred across the globe. They help to bring people together and to discuss death in an overt and nonjudgmental way.

Death Café’s founder Jon Underwood hosted the event on Wednesday. Proceedings began by Jon asking us all to introduce ourselves to one another at the start of the evening. 

As we heard one another’s reason for attending I found each persons story and motives for attending incredibly moving and very different to the next.

Once we had all introduced ourselves the conversion began. I knew that Death Café followed the agenda of “no defined agenda” but I secretly thought that stimuli of some sort would be required… I was wrong. The conversation flowed from the offset and didn’t stop until the end of the evening.

This death café took place on two biodegradable coffins. The white coffin included the text “Before I die I would like to…” on the top of it. 
A second biodegradable coffin (blue with clouds print) also was used.

Those attending Death Café and visitors to the popup space over the course of the week were able to write their pre-death wishes on it. This activity also took place on wall echoing the same statement.

I found Death Café both fascinating and empowering. I also loved and fully support the guideline that religious beliefs should be respected but at the same time religion was not the focus of the café. Religion was therefore touched upon however not debated at length.

The passion for or against religion or non-religious beliefs could very easily act as a catalyst and turn the café into a debate rather than a discussion. I am happy that this was not the case.

“More cakes are eaten at funerals then they are at weddings” Jon told the group at one stage during the evening
J   The cakes were provided and donated by attendees and the brownies donated by We Love Brownies (a local baker & friend of the Camden Collective).

I would encourage anyone who is interested in discussing death to attend a death café. If there is not one planned in your local area then you may want to consider hosting one.

I look forward to attending another Death Café again soon and hopefully reconnect with some of those I met last week.

1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome! I love the coffins and of course the Before I Die wall!!!


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