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Let’s Talk About Death, Baby!

I heard about Death Cafes recently and must admit that initially, it didn’t sound good.  The image in my head was of a dark space with people in dark clothing holding seances.  Yet my reaction stems from the Western culture I am immersed in that doesn’t want to talk about Death because it has been made taboo, and those who want to talk about it are seen as abnormal or unhappy.

The website and blog for Death Cafes, established in America, England and Mexico looks friendly and welcoming.

Australia established its first Death Cafe in Nimbin, started by Lisa Liversage in November 2012.  Her link is below.

I have done a cut and paste for you to read directly below.

“Jon Underwood founded Death Cafe in 2011 based on the work of Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz. Bernard offered ‘Cafe Mortels’ in Switzerland and France. Jon read of this in a newspaper article in November 2010. Jon was already developing a project to get people talking about death and immediately knew that Bernard’s vision clicked with his.

Death Cafe is part of a set of projects by Jon about death and dying calledImpermanence.

The first Death Cafe took place in Jon’s basement in September 2011 and was facilitated by Sue Barsky Reid. Following this, Sue developed a model for running Death Cafes that we have used ever since. This involves creating a safe, convivial setting where discussions are led by the group.

We have subsequently held Death Cafes in the Royal Festival Hall, a yurt, cool cafes and other people’s houses. We will shortly be holding our 100th Death Cafe. Around 1,000 people have so far attended a Death Cafe across England, Wales, the U.S., Canada, Australia and Italy. The events have invariably been very special and feedback has been fantastic.

We have established Death Cafe as a ‘social franchise’. This means that anyone with the skills and experience can host one if they sign up to our principles. These are that Death Cafes are always offered:

  • On a not for profit basis (though to be sustainable we try to cover expenses through donations and fundraising)
  • With no intention of leading participants towards any particular conclusion, product or course of action
  • In an accessible, respectful and confidential space, free of discrimination
  • Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!

In February 2012 we produced a guide to running your own Death Cafe which is available here. This has prompted other people to start their own Death Cafes, the first of whom was Lizzy Miles in Columbus, Ohio.

We’re in the process of moving over to our new website. We this will be a place to share info about death events, death art and death thinking.  

If you want to get in contact with Death Cafe please email: underwoodjon [at] You may want to attend or host a Death Cafe, be added to our mailing list or send us something for the website. Or maybe you’d just like to chat. Either way we’d love to hear from you.”
People are encouraged to start a Death Cafe in their area using the guidelines established by the Death Cafe founders.  You may come across a Death Cafe in your travels from the list below.
#121: Death Café Swindon, England
With Liz Rothschild
Tuesday May 21st
4 – 5.30 pm, Swindon Arts Centre

#122: Death Café Kennebunk, Maine 
With Kate Brown
Tuesday May 21st
6 – 7.30 pm, Centre for Mindful Health, 153 Port Road, Lower Village, Kennebunk

#123: Death Café Northern Virginia
With Kathie Conn and Rev. Barbara Watts
Wednesday May 22nd
7 – 8.30pm, 16003 Prestwick Court, Montclair, Virginia, 22025 
#124: Death Café Albuquerque, New Mexico 
With Gail Rubin
Thursday May 23rd
7pm, The Center for Holistic Health, 9412 Indian School Road NE (just east of Moon) 
#125: Death Café Bury St Edmunds, England

With Nigel George
Monday May 27th
7 – 10pm, The Garden Room The Quaker Meeting House St John’s Street Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SJ

#126: Death Café New York
With Rev. Jef Gamblée and Michelle Carter
Tuesday May 28th
6.30pm, Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester, 1698 Strawberry Rd., Mohegan Lake, NY

#127: Death Cafe Leeds, England
with Catherina Petit-van Hoey 
Sunday June 2nd
2.30 – 5 pm, Global Tribe Café, 18 Swan Street, Leeds, LS1 6LG

#128: Death Cafe Tucson, Arizona
with Kristine Bentz

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
7 – 9pm, Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Cafe

#129: Death Cafe Calgary with Wendy Kurchak 
Sunday June 9th
2 – 5 pm, Sage Center, 1245 70th Ave SE
Cake, coffee and chat at no charge and a guest speaker and register at yycdeathcafe @ gmail . com#130: Lyons, Colorado Death Café and Art Salon
With Phyllis J. O’Rourke
Sunday June 9th
12.30 – 5pm at Lyons Yoga and Wellness Center, 310 Main Street, Lyons, Colorado

#131: Death Cafe Columbus, OH
With Lizzy Miles and Maria Johnson
Wednesday, June 12th
7-9 pm at Panera Bread, 782 N. State Street, Westerville

#132: Death Café London
With Josefine Speyer
Monday June 17th
6.30 – 9.15pm Café Rouge, 38-39 High Street, Hampstead, London NW3 1QE
#133: Death Café Ottawa
With Emma Woodman and Kate Durie
Wednesday, June 19th 2013
7pm – 9pm Illume Espresso Bar 1433 Wellington Street West Ottawa, Ontario

#134: Death Café NYC
With Audrey Pellicano
Wednesday, June 19th 2013
6pm-7:30pm, Le Pain Quotidien, 7th Ave. between 17th and 18th St, New York City

#135: Death Café Toronto, Canada
With Linda Stuart
Thursday June 20th
7 – 9pm, The 519 Church Street Community Centre, 519 Church Street, Room # 301, Toronto, Ontario

#136: Death Café Baltimore, Maryland
With Val Sirani and Amy Brown
Saturday June 222nd
4pm, Belvedere Square, Atwater’s Market, 529 East Belvedere Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21212
RSVP to Vas213 @ or 914 552 8055.#137: Death Café Bury St Edmunds, England
With Nigel George
Monday June 24th
7 – 10pm, The Garden Room The Quaker Meeting House St John’s Street Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SJ
To look at this information for yourself click on the link below.

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