Three things yesterday – a conversation, an interaction and a presentation – yesterday made me wonder why we don’t talk more about death workers.
At the Everyday Compassion conference in Glasgow yesterday, Kerrie Noonan from Australia’s Groundswell Project sought me out to tell me she’s a fan of Fling. We chatted about what we both do… rogue death champions, working outside the system (mostly).
Kerrie said she prefers to use the term death workers for the likes of us and all the people she encounters in various end-of-life roles.
This Thursday, 9 November, I’m hosting an Absent Friends Supper at Kinning Park Complex. It’s free to attend and starts at 6pm.
To Absent Friends is an annual Scotland-wide festival promoted by our friends at Good Life Good Death Good Grief.
The big news today is that Barbara Chalmers, Founder of Final Fling now has a Masters – with distinction – in funerals.
“Well, in reality, it’s an MDes – a Masters in Design Innovation, Service Design – and my final project was on funerals, so I consider it a Masters in funerals,” said Barbara. “I just found out on Friday at our degree show that I achieved a Masters – with distinction – in funerals (as I call it) and I couldn’t be more delighted.”
The Thing About Funerals Is… is a two-part exploration of funerals coming up on 24 June and on 7-8 July at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. Brought to you by Final Fling, they will both give breathing space for the public to engage in conversations, reflection and provocations about how we say our goodbyes.
Perfectly timed to keep up the momentum of Dying Matters Awareness Week, is next week’s A Time To Live: a documentary about dying. It airs on BBC2 on Wednesday at 9pm. “I met with documentary maker, Sue Bourne in March last year,” says Barbara Chalmers of Final Fling. “On the back of making the very successful film The Age Of Loneliness, the BBC asked Sue what she wanted to do next. She wondered what it would be like to live in the light of a terminal diagnosis and was looking for help to reach out for participants. I was glad to help and reach out to members of the Final Fling community – people who are engaged with the process of living and dying.
Final Fling’s Founder, Barbara Chalmers, is exploring Spirituality and Belief as part of a Masters in Design Innovation at the esteemed Glasgow School of Art:
I imagine that spirituality and belief comes into sharp focus for many of us when we are facing mortality… in our daily reflections, at times of heightened awareness, when we’re coping with death, dying and loss. Spirituality might feel like a need or gap. It might feel like a support or crutch. Belief might help make sense at a confusing or troubling time.
This week, we share a tribute to Ian Smith, the focus of this month’s Festival of Ian Smith at Summerhall artspace in Edinburgh. Ian co-founded Mischief La Bas.
6 years ago, Friend of Fling Barbara Millar, now an award-winning funeral celebrant, wrote a review of the work of Ian Smith at the launch of The Briggait, the stunning artspace at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, where Mischief is still based.
Barbara kindly shares her article as a tribute to Ian Smith.
Listening to BBC’s Moral Maze, I’m struck by the notion of the emerging need for the right to be forgotten. For the longest time, we had few ways of marking “I was here”. An individual could come and go in life and barely leave a trace.
I’ve just come across the Dock of Souls… a lovely artwork. I don’t have an afterlife belief, but I love to hear about traditions connected to death in other cultures and how art continues to reflect and respond to death and beliefs.
I was in Naples recently. Wherever I go, I can’t help looking for cemeteries, memorials, memento mori… symbolic reminders of mortality, life, death. And so that’s a total Mission Possible.
At the end of 2015, Scottish Government commissioned Citizens Advice Scotland to produce a report about the cost of funerals in Scotland. Final Fling met with authors John Birrell and Fraser Sutherland in December to talk ‘funeral poverty’ and feed into the report.
10 years ago, it occurred to me that maybe women do death differently. That’s when I bought the domain name, Final Fling, in the hope that I could contribute in some way. We’re more about emotional engagement than transaction. We’re collaborative, supportive, we cut to the chase and focus on the important things. We’re good at […]
Ageing or aging, however you spell it (and both are right) it’s the timebomb of our era.
My recent post about caring for an elderly parent is the context for my continued thinking around ageing.
There’s a cunning plan afoot to set up Death Cafe London – a permanent home for all things death, chat, support, cake. Death Cafes emerged some years ago now… first inspired by Bernard Crettaz, Jon Underwood picked the idea up in the UK and it has spread like wildfire.
The Centre for Death and Society (CDAS) is part of Bath University and was set up in September 2005. CDAS carries out research on all aspects of death, dying and bereavement… how we deal with mortality and face death and loss, how society ‘does’ death and the rituals around it, how policy-makers deal with death and regulate, relationships between the living and the dead, the impact of death on our lives, poverty and death, inequalities, technology, culture.
If you’re dying to live – or even more, if you’re not dying to live – maybe because of hard times, emotional stress, confusion, illness – we think you ought to treat yourself to Dying to Live workshops that take place in Dorset in November and Cornwall in June each year. Read more about them and book now for early bird rates.
It’s that time again. The Good Funeral Awards nomination process is underway. Nominations close 1 August 2014. Please nominate Final Fling!
To mark Dying Matters Awareness Week with its #yodo theme (You Only Die Once), Final Fling urges you to Take 5. With a simple 5 minutes you can make big inroads into starting end of life plans. You might even find you enjoy it!
April features national Tomb Sweeping Day in China. It’s a one-day holiday to pay respect to ancestors. I’m alert to this because I’m busy packing my bag for China and planning a good (respectful) rummage around to see what I can find our about their culture, traditions and relationship with death and dying. On Tomb […]
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