Festival Events

Check out this link for more information about how to get involved in To Absent Friends 2015.

A fantastic array of open events took place as part of To Absent Friends 2014:

Exhibition at Edinburgh Central Library

A To Absent Friends exhibition of photographs, beer mats, memory cubes and other tokens of memorialisation was on display at the Edinburgh Central Library from 25 October - 5 November.

The library also hosted a workshop introduction to scrapbooking on the 4th November.

Here and now

Alexandria Patience presented Here and Now, a performance linking together traditional Scottish stories, with the real-life stories of Scottish immigrants to Calgary.

HERE - relates to being ‘here’ but understanding the connection to the lives of those who are now dead – those we love and those with whom we feel connections of other kinds.

NOW – relates to encouraging the inclusion of the audience’s lives and stories within the performances, with a recognition that we too will die and our stories can be left behind.

Alexandria Patience is an interdisciplinary artist with a background in theatre practise. Her focus is in story and in creating engaging indoor and outdoor events,

and integrating community involvement in her performances. She was joined in this performance by musician and composer Donald McNeill.

Friday 7th November, 7.30pm, St Mark's Unitarian Church, 7 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2DP. A family event.

Remembrance in Argyll & Bute

Marie Curie organised two remembrance cafés in Rothesay and Isle of Islay in November 2014 as an opportunity for people to share stories, photos or mementos that reminded them of those special people who are no longer with us, or just to take the chance for a moment of reflection. Free cake and a cuppa. People also had the opportunity to leave thoughts and messages on our tree or remembrance.

The To Absent Friends photo exhibition was also on display at Cowal Community Hospital in Dunoon between 3-7 November 2014.

Scrapbooking workshops

What is scrapbooking?

A photograph can say a thousand words but not when it's sitting in a box under the bed! Scrapbooking has evolved from the days of sugar paper books with magazine clippings and photographs glued in them. Today, scrapbooking is a creative process that preserves your memories and shares family events and history through photographs and story telling (journalling).

This workshop in Edinburgh Central Library was an introduction to scrapbooking and an opportunity to preserve some memories of a dead loved one. Using a favourite photograph and writing a short story people were able to make and take away a creative keepsake in remembrance.

Edinburgh Central Library, Tuesday 4 November, 2pm - 4pm

Death Cafe of Remembrance

Many people are keen to talk about death for all sorts of reasons. It helps us share sorrow; it helps us come to terms with our own mortality; it helps us accept loss; it helps us celebrate people we’ve loved and lost. Sometimes folks need ‘permission’ or a safe place to share openly. And that’s what a death café provides.

Final Fling hosted a Death Café of Remembrance on Saturday 1 November at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. Final Fling has run several Death Cafe's since launching Scotland’s first Death Café in 2013, and in 2013 produced Scotland’s first Day of the Dead Festival, a creative celebration of life and death, for Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.

The Death Café of Remembrance brought these experiences together to create a unique event as part of the Scotland-wideTo Absent Friends Festival. Artists who presented work for Day of the Dead joined in Death Café conversations about how creativity can help us express the inexpressible, capture memories, and offer opportunities to come together productively to create and communicate.

Participants were invited to bring along a photo or object of someone loved and lost for an interactive session.

Barbara Chalmers Final Fling Founder hosted the Death Café, with contributions from:

  • Greer Pester, who ran a Shrine Making workshop for Day of the Dead, sharing practices she learned during an exploration of death rituals in north and south America in 2013 funded by Creative Scotland.
  • Nichola Scrutton, who presented HearAfter, a sound installation that re-presented the human voice – words and sounds – to create contemplative and immersive sound art inspired by the birth-life-death cycle, memory, and the transformative process of decay.

The Death Café of Remembrance also paid tribute to artist Adrian Howells, whose work included Unburden: Saying the Unsaid as part of Day of the Dead in 2013. Adrian sadly died in 2014. His work focussed on one-to-one performance and we talked at the cafe about the power of connecting in this way as part of remembering.

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