What you do at a Death Cafe

gallery-of-modern-art studio

Death Cafe venue… the rooftop studio in Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art

What do you do at a Death Cafe? That’s often the first question folk ask when they hear about Death Cafes.

Of course, the most important thing is what you feel about being at a Death Cafe… alive! And, we hope, part of a community of engaged people who are interested in life and death and facing up to notions that death is a taboo subject. Rubbish! It’s so central to life.

One Death Cafe we held at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow for Dying Matters Awareness Week attracted a bundle of new people and a few ‘regulars’.

And what did they do?

Talk, exchange thoughts and feelings, laugh, get to know each other a bit, have a cuppa, enjoy some Guinness cake.

We try slightly different approaches from time to time. Like the one we did for Death Cafe of Remembrance we held for Absent Friends Festival in November 2014, where we focussed in on memories and loss.

For this one, Douglas Hall from Friends at the End led a discussion that focussed on emotions.

Here was feedback from some participants:

“I thought the discussion topic worked well, giving the participants an immediate focus, without the need for ice breaking,” said Sandi. “Jimmy and I blethered away as if we had known each other for ages!   It was also good to respond to the handout of emotions and to share thoughts and exchange views. The help-yourself nature of refreshments was great.  I look forward to the next event.”

Jimmy commented on our Facebook page: “Eat delicious home made cake and meet new friends”. What’s not to like!

Olivia said: “Fantastic event, really interesting and great to talk, would love to attend future events… Also, Guinness cake was to die for (if you’ll pardon the pun!)”

We shared lots of thoughts, ideas and inspiration for each other to check out including… Grief Encounter: a support network for bereaved young people dealing with loss (with upcoming sold-out comedy night); new legislation on ‘substitution’ affecting Powers of Attorney… we’ll get more info from our legal advisers and report back; and finally, folks were interested that it’s possible for family to view a cremation – if they’ve organised that in advance.Several are interested in more regular gatherings in Scotland so we’re talking with colleagues who are running Death Cafes to see what we can come up with and talked with one participant about running on in Kilmarnock soon.

If you’re interested in attending a Death Cafe, sign up here to be kept in the loop.


If you’re interested in running a Death Cafe and want help, some posters you can use or just a chat, email us.


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