The Life Café at Dying.Dialogues conference


On 29th January, Claire Craig and Helen Fisher presented ‘The Life Café: Thinking Through Things’ at Dying.Dialogues conference. Dying.2021 ‘offers an opportunity to creatively engage in conversation about fragility, death, dying, loss, grief through the lens of art and design.’ Hosted by Design TO, OCAD University and Taboo Health, it was the perfect forum to share this research and open a dialogue about how the objects we own can support meaningful conversations about end of life and loss.

The use of objects and critical artefacts as a method to enable conversations was presented through a series of Lab4Living projects, starting with Exhibition in a Box, through the Life Café, Enabling Ongoingness and The 100-Year Life. Within the context of the 100 year life, a consideration of the role of design at end of life and death is important. This enquiry continues funded by Research England (E3), interrogating how conversations around care, end of life and grief can be better enabled within the home and how the objects we own can support this.

Helen and Claire presented a paper and poster to the conference’s audience of artists, designers and clinicians, leading to some lively debate and questions:

‘Fascinating work, thank you for sharing! I’m curious, have you noticed different reactions from people of different backgrounds, cultures, spiritualities, demographics?’  Dying.Dialogues participant

‘Thank you for a great presentation. Have you noticed an observable change in behaviour or policy by care givers as a result of a Life Café?’ Dying.Dialogues participant

Dying Dialogues – Lab4Living Poster