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    Six Feet Under: Design + Death Symposium

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    Event description

    Join Open House Melbourne and special guests for a day of panel conversations shining a light on the architecture, places, issues and practices associated with death and the end of life. Across three moderated panel discussions Six Feet Under: Design + Death Symposium invites audiences to consider the intersection of design and death and discover how the spaces we associate with death and dying are, surprisingly, not so much about death but instead more about life and how we live. 

    11AM—12PM - Future Undertakings: Design and the Future of the Cemetery 

    During the pandemic many of us discovered our local cemeteries. We used them as public spaces in the same way we use our parks, gardens and waterfronts. As our city continues to grow, access to quality public space has never been more important. How might the cemetery play a broader role as our suburbs and neighborhoods increase in density? 

    Moderated by Dr Katrina Simon in conversation with panelists Hamish Coates, Bec Lyons, and Sam Holleran, Future Undertakings: Design and the Future of the Cemetery will look at the design of cemeteries. It will address the future of cemetery design, the ways in which our cemeteries might incorporate sustainability and how cemeteries can be used more expansively and flexibly as places for the living as well as the dead. 

    1PM—2PM - Designing for Diversity: Cultural Practices of Mourning 

    There are many ways to mourn. How does multicultural Australia grieve and, in an increasing secular society, what are the ways we can memorialise those who have passed away?

    Moderated by Dr Hannah Gould in conversation with Kimba Griffith, Kirsten Bauer and Ven. Thich Phuoc Tan OAM, Designing for Diversity: Cultural Practices of Mourning will address cultural and sub-cultural responses to death and explore the diversity of rituals and practices of mourning and commemoration in Australia. It will address the spatial aspects of these practices, shining a light on the design and planning of cemeteries and funeral and their ability to connect communities through processes of grieving.

    2.30PM—3.30PM - Towards the Light: Design at the End of Life 

    How do we prepare for death? What do we need to think about if we wish to die at home and what if home is not an option?  

    Moderated by Tania Davidge in conversation with panelists Dr Mark Boughey, and Dr Rebecca McLaughlan, Towards the Light: Design at the End of Life will reflect on the importance of design in spaces focused on the end of life, considering the places in which we might die and how we can live a good life, right up until the end. It will look at what it means to die with dignity and address how we can help our loved ones to lead the conversation, allowing them agency at the end of life. 

    During the Design + Death Symposium, interactive installations presented by DeathTech Research Team and GMCT invite participants to contribute a funeral playlist and consider (or reconsider) how they may like to be commemorated and buried. 

    Important information to note before you book: 

    • Please note this is a day-long symposium event with a break for lunch.
    • Please register any accessibility requirements by 5pm Monday 20 May. 


    11am Future Undertakings: Design and the Future of the Cemetery

    12pm Lunch break

    1pm Diversity + Dying: Cultural Practices of Mourning

    2.30pm Towards the Light: Design at the End of Life

    Design + Death is presented by Open House Melbourne in partnership with Major Program Partner Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and Program Partners Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and DeathTech Research Team in association with the University of Melbourne School of Computing and Information Systems and School of Culture and Communication.

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