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Dead Calm: Honest Conversations About Death

View all events in this series

at The Wheeler Centre


What happens to our bodies when we die? Do our bodies define who and what we are – or are they a vessel for something more?

In the final talk in our Dead Calm series, we’ll focus on the site of death itself, exploring the physiological and philosophical implications of death for the human body. For many of us, ‘bodies’ are an integral part of the whole discussion of death and also the most confronting. Does the way we treat our bodies after we die have ethical implications, or merely practical ones? How do different religious traditions conceive of the body after death? And how is the meaning of death changing with advances in medical science?

Hosted by Hilary Harper, we’ll talk organ donation, artistic intervention, bioethics and more.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.


Portrait of Hilary Harper

Hilary Harper

Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.

Portrait of Dominique Martin

Dominique Martin

Dominique is Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism in the School of Medicine at Deakin University. She studied Medicine and Arts as undergraduate degrees and completed a PhD in Applied Ethics at the University of Melbourne in 2011 on the topic of markets in human biological materials. Her bioethics research focuses primarily on issues related to procurement, use, and distribution of medical products of human origin such as organs and tissues for transplantation, or gametes used in assisted reproductive treatments, as well as ethical issues in nephrology, and professionalism issues relating to sale of unproven stem cell interventions.


Portrait of Rohit D'Costa

Rohit D'Costa

Rohit D’Costa is the medical director of Donatelife Victoria, the State’s organ donation coordination service. He is also an intensive care specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Rohit has a specific interest in the organ donation conversation, being a national trainer for the Organ and Tissue Authority’s professional education package which focuses on this important topic. He also sits on the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society’s Death and Organ Donation Committee.

Portrait of Pia Interlandi

Pia Interlandi

Pia Interladi is a fashion designer holding a PhD in Architecture and Design from RMIT University, where in 2013 she completed her doctoral study [A]Dressing Death: Fashioning Garments for the Grave. A full time academic in the School of Fashion and Textiles as RMIT, she has also completed Funeral Celebrancy training from the Celebrants Training College and freelances  as a Creative Ritual Facilitator within the funeral industry.  In 2014 she co-founded the Natural Death Advocacy Network (NDAN), is an ambassador for Dying2Know Day and is a member of the Order of the Good Death.

Dead Calm: Honest Conversations About Death

Death. It’s often complicated, it’s sometimes cruel and it’s definitely compulsory.

In this series of conversations – curated and hosted by Hilary Harper – we’ll explore how we die, grieve and commemorate in Australia today. Can we learn to talk more constructively about death? What can we learn about death from other cultures? And what can people who work with the dead, and the dying, teach all of us about facing up to life’s one certainty?

Let’s set aside the euphemism, and tackle the taboos head-on – with some forthright discussions about the process, the mystery and the meaning of death today.


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.