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Crossing Over: New Narratives of Death

People Involved

Project Description

From 2012-2016 the multi-disciplinary AHRC Research Network "Crossing Over: New Narratives of Death" investigated the
changing face of contemporary death, bereavement and commemoration. The current project seeks to bring the network's
work to wider, non-academic audiences through three public-facing activities:

1.Two creative writing workshops to be run in partnership with the voluntary organisation Calderdale Dying Matters
Partnership.
2. A Death Café event on the University of Hull campus.
3. End Notes: an e-book of short stories themed around end of life.

The creative writing workshops build on the network's successful collaboration in 2015 with Rotherham Hospice. Members of the network collaborated with Hospice staff to investigate the meaning of memorial objects, i.e. Objects which carried associations with a departed loved one. The collaboration produced a collective poem. The proposed Calderdale workshops will draw on Dr Karina Croucher's archaeological expertise to establish memorial meanings and practices. Using this resource, Principal Investigator Dr David Kennedy will then lead the creative writing part of the workshops.
Calderdale Dying Matters Partnership will support the workshops by identifying venues and publicising the workshops to the general public in their Calderdale catchment area.

The Death Café event will be open to staff, students and the general public. It will draw on successful national practice in Death Cafes to provide a positive and permissive space in which to discuss a range of issues surrounding end of life such as having the type of death one wants, funeral instructions and bereavement. A range of activities on the day will be used to start these sorts of conversations. For example, the Death Café will use colour coded Fink Advanced Planning cards
which offer users a range of 48 topics surrounding end of life in order to get them thinking.

'End Notes' is a series of interlinked short stories and creative non-fiction pieces that explore different aspects of mortality. These include caring for the dying and the terminally ill, bereavement, grieving, and rituals, mourning and remembrance ceremonies, both traditional and non-traditional. Some pieces would be based on research and interviews with people caring for those near death (hospital and hospice workers and medical staff, an imam and a rabbi), while others draw on personal experience. The collection encompasses a memoir and interviews about the journalistic death knock; the two very different funerals of an Irish exile, one in the UK and the second back in Ireland; Catholic and Jewish rituals and
ceremonies; a Quaker funeral; the different attitudes towards death in Nigeria and the UK; a ghost story from Finland, and the need for heightened language in mourning ceremonies in a secular age. 'End Notes' will span a range of cultural practices, illuminating that which connects us. The collection will be edited by University of Hull creative writing lecturers Ray French and Kath McKay, who will each contribute two pieces. Six other writers will contribute. 'End Notes' would take the form of an ebook and would be made available to all major eBook retailers and convertible to both Mobi and epub.

Type of Project Project
Status Project Complete
Funder Arts & Humanities Research Council
Value £20,239.00
Project Dates Feb 1, 2017 - Jul 12, 2017