image006Life affirming day about death at Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh, in partnership with the University of Dundee, is preparing to host a special day of free events and workshops aimed at encouraging people to prepare for their death. ‘In Memoriam’ takes place on Saturday 8 March 2014 and promises a life-affirming experience, which will explore through art, writing and discussion, the realities of dying and bereavement.

A range of pop-in events will be on offer throughout the day, including creative writing, storytelling and sculpture workshops. Talks will take place on the history of the Scottish funeral, art and mortality, and science and the body. There will also be a number of art installations to visit, as well as readings from Dundee University’s MLitt students. An evening discussion will follow with Professor Sue Black OBE FRSE, Professor Kirsty Gunn and the Right Reverend Richard Holloway FRSE, Former Bishop of Edinburgh & Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

As a topic, death is often considered taboo, yet a growing number of charities and organisations recognise that talking about dying is the first step in ensuring good end of life care. Only 4% of people have a written end-of-life plan and just 11% have a funeral plan, according to a National Centre for Social Research study.

Created and led by staff from the University of Dundee, In Memoriam won the Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research in 2013. Professor Sue Black, Head of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University said:- “In our modern world, death is marginalised and shunned from our daily lives. No longer the impartial friend and the great leveller, it has become the disowned and unacknowledged inevitability. In Memoriam celebrates good living, good death and good grief – a truly enlightening and uplifting experience.”

This events at the Royal Society of Edinburgh are free but registration is required in advance.