What is Dying to Talk?

Death and dying is a normal part of life- lets talk about it! Dying to Talk is recruiting ambassadors to help us talk abut death and dying in local schools. Are you aged between 14 and 19? Interested in applying? Find out more here.

Starting in February 2021, the Dying to Talk project will use archaeology to co-produce resources with young people in Bradford and Wolverhampton, aimed at building resilience around death and bereavement. The project will run until December 2021 and has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It will work with secondary schools and other stakeholders in Bradford and Wolverhampton, with our project partners, Child bereavement UK.

The objectives of the project include:

1) To engage young people in discussions around death, dying, bereavement and loss. We will also be recruiting Ambassadors (aged 14-19) from secondary schools in Bradford and Wolverhampton to work with the project team.

2) To work with Ambassadors and local schools to engage in the co-production of activities that promote discussion about death and bereavement.

3) To exhibit and promote existing Continuing Bonds and Dying to Talk resources, along with activities in a ‘Festival of the Dead’ in Bradford and Wolverhampton.

4) To create free-of-charge, downloadable resources for schools and young people to facilitate strategies to help the normalisation of talking about death and bereavement.

5) To work with school networks, LEAs, and bodies such as Dying Matters to promote the resources across the UK (and beyond).

6) To hold a practitioner event – inviting professionals across the voluntary and public sector who work with young people – to share learning from the project and good practice from across the sector.

Death, dying and bereavement affect us all; death is a unifying element of life. However, the professionalisation of death – the responsibility to deal with death and the dying – has been devolved to health and social care workers and other professionals. This removal of caring for the dead and dying away from friends, families and communities results in a weakening of the local support networks where bereavement support could be more sensitively delivered. It also diminishes the normality of death. It is perhaps not surprising then that we rarely speak about death and dying, often lacking the experience, language and confidence to do so. However, not being able to talk about the death of our loved ones can lead to mental health issues and other negative outcomes. This is especially true of young people, and is implicated in future depression, smoking, drug dependency, risk-taking behaviour, poor educational attainment, unemployment and criminal activity. This follow-on project uses the methods and findings of the Continuing Bonds (CB) project – which used archaeology to challenge biases and facilitate discussion around death and bereavement www.continuingbonds.live – talking its outcomes to a new audience of young people and practitioners in Bradford and Wolverhampton.