Immerse yourself in Bath

Charles Cowling

The Centre of Death and Society at the University of Bath is perhaps the UK’s leading think tank in the field of DDD (death, dying and disposal). That statement is challengeable, of course, and might be disputed by excellent thinkers in the field at York, Sheffield, Winchester and Durham. What do I know?

Every year they have a summer conference. This year it’s on June 25 and 26 – Saturday and Sunday.

Do you picture unfeasibly clever people with XL brains talking way over the top of your head in words several feet long? Well, it’s not like that. A dimwit like me can go and understand most of it and enjoy terrific chats over lunch and coffee about all things mortal. It’s a great occasion, genuinely inclusive and warmly welcoming of ordinary folk. It’s a highlight of my year.

So do consider signing up. The venue is cosy, there’s a huge car park 5 minutes’ walk away and Professor Walter will pay your tariff if you forget your money.

This year the theme is Death and Dying in the Digital Age. They want people to present papers. People like you, perhaps? Go on!!

I hope to see you there!

Here’s what they say:

The 2011 CDAS summer conference will examine how new interactive digital technologies affect the social relationships of those who are dying, mourners, and descendants. 20 minute papers are invited from researchers in HCI, design, the social sciences and humanities; software developers and entrepreneurs; and the caring, funeral and memorial professions. Abstracts (up to 250 words) to be emailed tocdas@bath.ac.uk by SUNDAY 27 MARCH 2011 (NEW EXTENDED DEADLINE). Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Dying: Do digital communications change the experience of dying? Dying people and/or their carers can communicate bad news or regular updates to their friends by e-mail, Facebook etc: does this differ from letters, telephone calls, etc? Do dying people’s blogs make the experience of dying less private than their earlier print equivalents? Do such technologies erode the so-called taboo of death?

  • Mourning: How do social networking sites (SNSs) change the experience of mourning? What is the online experience of communicating with the dead? Of talking with other mourners about the dead? Do SNSs re-insert mourners into community, if so how? Do they change the 20c experience of grief as private? How are they evolving?

  • Digital inheritance: How are protocols developing for the following, and what evidence is there of practice so far? Digital wills; SNS policies re deceased members; digital archiving; digital archaeology; the mortality/immortality of digital data

Web page here.

 

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