Doing Death Differently: 2nd Annual Death Literacy Conference

October 9, 10, 11 2015



Many thanks to the following presenters for making their slides available. (Click to download)

Associate Prof. Debbie Horsfall

Pia Interlandi

Victoria Spence and Kate Holmes

Sharon King

Kerrie Noonan


Conference day - Saturday 10th.

Join The GroundSwell Project, the Natural Death Advocacy Network, and Mistress of Ceremonies Deathtalker® Molly Carlile AM for the 2nd Annual Death Literacy Conference. Habitat Uniting Church, 2 Minona St. Hawthorn in Victoria. 

Friday Night oct 9: Natural Death Advocacy Network launch

Over canapés and Friday night drinks join us for a robust Q&A session about the changing landscape of death in Australia. The executive of the Natural Death Advocacy Network: Dr. Pia Interlandi, Dr. Peter Cock, Sally Cant, and Libby Moloney, will get things started by talking about the role of advocacy from everyday people to government policy.

The discussion will then be opened to include the audience so that we can tease out some of the issues affecting our industry!

NDAN is as much about advocacy as it is about creating networks – so come along and connect with others in the field! Now is the chance -with so many of us connected via social media Friday night will be a time to meet each other face to face, firm up those lasting personal and professional connections and really get to know what each other is about! 

Introducing Special guest Jazz musician Kimba Griffith who will be performing on the night. 

Saturday Oct 10: Doing death differently

8.30am Arrive and register

9.15 Welcome to The 2nd Annual Death Literacy Conference

Jessie Williams Chair The GroundSwell Project & Molly Carlile AM, Deathtalker® Mistress of Ceremonies

9.30 Developing death literacy: How do we develop death literacy and enable compassionate communities to flourish at end of life? 

Kerrie Noonan will present the practice and research that has helped to define death literacy.

10.00 Dying at home: How are community practitioners (such as doulas/midwives) and palliative care health professionals working together?

This presentation pairs Kate Holmes a palliative care nurse consultant and Victoria Spence a community-based end of life practitioner to practically explore the new partnerships emerging in the end of life care sector.

11.00-11.30 Morning Tea

11.30 Family-led funerals: How are independent funeral celebrants and funeral directors working together for positive outcomes?

Funeral director Libby Moloney and funeral celebrant Sally Cant will present how they worked together to support a person dying and her family through a home vigil, a family centered funeral and a shrouded cremation.

12.30 Natural Burial: What is natural burial? How do we support it in our communities? What are the benefits and challenges?

Pia Interlandi was a core member of the team Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve in the UK. In this presentation she will share her experiences of working with over 100 families.  

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00 Building Compassionate Communities in Tasmania: What can we learn from the community development in palliative care program?

The Better Access to Palliative Care program in Tasmania was designed to building the capacity of community, health professionals and services providers in palliative care. Tasmanian Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (TAHPC) has been providing support for community development via training and small local grants. This presentation will provide an overview of the impact of this program in Northern Tasmania through the eyes of Sharon King from TAHPC and Kim Schnieders from Interweave Arts a recipient of community development seed funding.

3.00 Creating local change: Developing a Deathstyle to compliment our Lifestyles: Co-creating cultural change in Byron Bay for the past 20 years.

Zenith Virago has been changing death in Byron Bay for two decades this presentation will provide practical advice for those of us looking to work collaboratively with our local communities for change.

3.30 Researcher in Residence: The future of compassionate communities in Australia. How can community development be integrated into end of life practices. 

Associate Professor Dr Debbie Horsfall leads the Caring at end of life research team. Debbie will spend the Death Literacy conference in the role of a researcher-participant. This talk will share her observations of the day combined with a little social theory about the future of the social movement for change here in Australia.

3.50 Social Action Marketplace & Afternoon Tea

  • Do you have something to share?
  • Do you have a new project you want to start but need collaborators?
  • Are you looking for a research or evaluation partner?
  • Do you have an idea to pitch - this is the time to do it! You have 1 minute and then we will network over afternoon tea.

4.45 Wrap up and close.

Molly Carlile AM, Deathtalker® will close the day.

Sunday Oct 11: Come to my Funeral

Putting our talk into practice, this day will focus on the journey from dying, through death, home based death care, and funeral ceremony (and of course to finish the conference there will be a wake!)

Through practical demonstrations and the enacting of the entire deathing process you will see our practitioners do what they do best and together seamlessly link the end of life cycle. With death doulas, shrouding, eco-coffins, family lead ceremony, through to hand lowering of the (not so dead in this instance) body into the earth, you will be able to see some of the best offerings that are available for your own end of life.

Register for the conference HERE