Dead Calm: Honest Conversations About Death
View all events in this series
We've always built memorials to our dead. But how do our memorials and commemorations differ across cultures and how are they changing in the 21st Century? Why do we have different types of memorials for different kinds of death?
In the third part of our Dead Calm series, Hilary Harper will explore the role, relevance and relief offered by memorials after death and disaster. What do official and unofficial commemorations mean and how do they affect the ways we mourn? From public shrines for war veterans to community commemorations for natural disasters to highly personal embodiments of grief – online, on social media, or at roadsides – these markers continue to play a role in how we process grief.
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.
Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker is an ARC Research Fellow in the Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School Population and Global Health, the University of Melbourne. Lyndon was born in Darwin and of Alyawarr decent from the Barkly tablelands region of the Northern Territory. He is member of the Australian Heritage Council and a member of the Advisory Committee on Indigenous Repatriation.
Lyndon is a cultural heritage expert who has advocated for Indigenous cultural rights, including the repatriation of human remains and material culture. He is a supporter of a National Resting Place for unprovenanced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander human remains returned to Australia from overseas.
Bjorn Nansen is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne. He is an Australian Research Council researcher fellow, a Digital Media Fellow in the Melbourne Networked Society Institute and an executive member of the Research Unit in Public Cultures. His research focuses on the margins and limits of digital media use in everyday life, with current projects exploring home media infrastructures and environments, children’s digital play and production practices, sleep and mobile media, and the digital mediation of death. He is a co-author of Death and Digital Media (Routledge, 2018).
Joy Damousi is a Professor of History at University of Melbourne.
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.