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Death and Dying banner plastered skulls

Caption: Plastered skulls, Tell Aswad, courtesy of Danielle Stordeur, CNRS

Continuing Bonds: Archaeology meets End-of-Life Care

Continuing Bonds: Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It was an innovative collaborative project between archaeologists and health and social care practitioners, exploring the use of archaeological case studies in opening up conversations around death and dying in the present. The project was led by Dr Karina Croucher, a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Bradford, with co-investigators Dr Laura Green in the Faculty of Health Studies at the University of Bradford and Professor Christina Faull at LOROS Hospice in Leicester. The project also involved two Post-Doctoral Researchers: Dr Lindsey Büster with an archaeological background and Dr Jennie Dayes with a psychology background.

Over this two-year project, thirty-one workshops themed around Memorialisation and Legacy, Age and Circumstances of Death, Images of the Dead, Ancestors, Place, Legacy, Treatment of the Dead and Objects presented archaeological and ethnographic case studies to health and social care professionals in Bradford and Leicester. Later workshops were informed by the former ones.

The project evaluated (using quantitative and qualitative methods) the value of using archaeology to challenge our modern perceptions of and attitudes towards death and dying, and as a vehicle through which people could begin to discuss their own mortality and their own end-of-life care.

Though the workshops were primarily aimed at health and social care practitioners and students, the project created fringe and spin-off events. This includes the Dying to Talk project, which engaged young ambassadors in creating a resource for schools to encourage pupils to talk about death, dying and bereavement. A ‘Death Festival’ was held at the University of Bradford where this video resource was piloted with school-age children and received an overwhelmingly positive response. The Continuing Bonds team have also run Death Cafes, exhibitions about the project in public spaces (Leicester Cathedral, Gallery II – Bradford) and extra workshops at various organisations (Bradford Bereavement Support, Cruise Bereavement Care, Marie Curie).

More information is available on our Continuing Bonds website and on social media:

Creative Dissemination: Using the Continuing Bonds findings to inspire writing/poetry about death, dying, bereavement and grief

Wetwang slack chariot burial

Image: Wetwang Slack chariot burial, ©Aaron Watson, Melanie Giles

Following on from the Continuing Bonds study is the Creative Dissemination project. As a result of follow-on funding for Impact and Engagement awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Creative Dissemination project continues with the original drive to normalise death, dying, bereavement and grief in contemporary society. To do this, stories, experiences and opinions given in the original workshops together with archaeological materials are being used as inspiration for creative writing and poetry. We will look at themes like remembering/forgetting the dead, contentious resting sites, keeping the dead, memorialising through objects and treatment of the body after death.

This is an ongoing project, running over the course of nine months and is led by Principal Investigator Dr Karina Croucher (University of Bradford) and Co-Investigators Dr Jennie Dayes (University of Bradford) and Dr Melanie Giles (University of Manchester). Participants are invited to three creative writing workshops and to contribute to an anthology and celebration event. The anthology and workshop materials will be hosted online to encourage others to hold similar writing events, write about death, dying and grief issues, and to engage an even wider audience on the topic.

What’s happening soon?

Workshops in Bradford

  • 13 March 2019
  • 3 April 2019
  • 5 June 2019

Workshops in Manchester

  • 11 March 2019
  • 1 April 2019
  • 3rd June 2019

Workshops in Sheffield

  • 12 March 2019
  • 2 April 2019
  • 4 June 2019

All workshops are 19:00 -  20:30.

Venue information will follow shortly

Participants are asked to attend all three workshops in their chosen city.

Please email us for more information and to book your place.

Upcoming events

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