Being Human Festival: Making death more sustainable

Man-made waste is at the heart of the COP26 debate in Glasgow this week as world leaders gather to cut pollution.

But what about man as waste? How sustainable is human burial and cremation? And why can’t we break the taboos around alternative remembrance?

A LJMU project, out of the School of Art & Design, seeks to raise awareness of these issues, consider the debate around alternatives, such as natural decomposition and to reimagine how we remember or pay homage to loved ones passed.

The role of cemeteries as a place for burial is also challenged by looking at cities such as Berlin where cemeteries are being converted into green spaces to facilitate shared grieving.

New 'circle of life'

Mark Roughley programme leader for the MA Art in Science, said: “Together with our MA students, we aim to engage the public in better understanding the human encounter with death and to explore the environmental impact of current end of life practices.”

The ‘Let’s Talk About a New Circle of Life project is running a programme of events during November as part of the national Being Human Festival, co-organised by The British Academy.

On 19 & 20 November, the public is invited into ‘a safe space’ to confront mortality, connect with loss, and explore how our current burial practices might be unsustainable.

A Walking Death Café on Friday, 19 November will take place in outdoor places of remembrance where participants are encouraged to talk openly about loss and about current burial practices and those alternatives.

On Saturday 20 November two artist-led craft workshops will take place at Granby Winter Gardens, led by MA Fashion and Realisation student Emma Summerscales and MA Art in Science student Amanda Kearns-Rulton around alternative burial methods, such as mycelium burial suits.

A film screening of 'Suiting Denis' who was an early adopter of a green burial suit, will take place before a panel Q&A session hosted by Liverpool LASER Talks. Book here.


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