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Transitions and Transformations

Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group Virtual Symposium

3 December 2020

About the Event

2020 has been a year of unprecedented transitions. During the past few months, many will have made fundamental shifts in their thinking about life and death; some will have confronted their mortality for the first time, whilst others will have experienced transformative losses. Even those who are used to thinking about these raw emotional states, cannot fail to acknowledge the disruptive impact of these events. In recent memory, death, dying and bereavement have rarely been more publicly observed or discussed phenomena. We have been reminded of the fragility of life in media coverage that included images of temporary mortuaries, and regular briefings that focused on daily death tallies. In addition, the politics of death have arguably become simultaneously more visible and invisible, as the manipulation of death statistics and discussion of ‘excess death rates’ have emerged into mainstream popular media.

Transitions require an acknowledgement that there is a shift from one state to another. Yet, taking COVID-19 as an example, there is much that is yet unclear about the legacy of this experience. Questions remain about the transformative effects of powerful emotions stirred up by the crisis, whilst those that are likely to emerge for those who have been bereaved are yet to be fully explored. In addition, new and ongoing academic activity has been, and will continue to be, shaped by restrictions on movement and social distancing measures.
Prompted by the ongoing global pandemic, we are creating space for researchers to reflect on recent transitions and transformations that have impacted upon understandings of, and approaches to, death, dying and bereavement. In this one-day conference, we invited researchers and practitioners to submit abstracts on this theme. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • COVID-19
  • Brexit
  • Changes in law/policy e.g. Parental Bereavement Act
  • Migration/globalisation
  • Approaches to research/research methods
  • Popular culture
  • Professional practices

Presentations will be 20 minutes long with additional time for questions.

The symposium will be held virtually on Thursday, 3 December 2020. An online access link will be sent via email to all registered attendees.

Find out more about the Study Group.