Festival Events

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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