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Continuing Bonds: Archaeology meets End-of-Life Care

Caption: Plastered skulls, Tell Aswad, courtesy of Danielle Stordeur, CNRS

Continuing Bonds: Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is an innovative collaborative project between archaeologists and health and social care practitioners, exploring the use of archaeological case studies in opening up conversations around death and dying in the present.

The project is led by Karina Croucher, a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Bradford, with co-investigators Laura Middleton-Green in the Faculty of Health Studies at the University of Bradford and Christina Faull at LOROS Hospice in Leicester. The project also involves two Post-Doctoral Researchers: one (Lindsey Büster) with an archaeological background and the other, with a specialism in health and social care.

Four themed workshops on: Images of the dead, Ancestors, Age and circumstances of death, and Memorialisation, will present archaeological and ethnographic case studies to health and social care professionals in Bradford and Leicester in each of the two years of the project – the second series being informed by feedback from the first.

The project aims to evaluate (using quantitative and qualitative methods) the value of using archaeology to challenge our modern perceptions of and attitudes towards death and dying, and as a vehicle through which people can begin to discuss their own mortality and their own end-of-life care. Though the workshops are primarily aimed as healthcare practitioners, fringe and spin-off events aimed at the wider public are planned, as is a closing workshop with primary school teachers.

The project is currently only a few months in to what will be an exciting journey for all involved and updates will be posted across our social media platforms (@CBondsStudy; #ContinuingBonds) as it progresses. 

Recruitment of health care students and professionals for our first set of themed workshops is now underway. Please email ContinuingBonds@bradford.ac.uk for more information, or see our blog.  You can also download our Continuing Bonds participant flyer (pdf).

You can now also follow and contribute to the Continuing Bonds Pinterest account, where we are collating material and exploring ideas for our forthcoming workshops.