Death Cafe in Leeds

Hosted by The Patient | Carer Community and Humanities & Spiritual Health Society at the School of Medicine, University of Leeds.


April 26, 2017

Start time:

12:00 p.m. (UK)

End time:

2:00 p.m. (UK)


Worsley Building

Leeds Institute of Medical Education

University of Leeds


West Yorkshire


United Kingdom

Suggested donation:

Free to everyone

This Death Cafe has taken place

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About this Death Cafe

Much of the education of healthcare professionals involves learning how to help, heal and manage people with their health and wellbeing. Yet, when we start to explore how to talk about living with terminal illness, end of life care, death and dying, then the conversation can prove more difficult or even become non-existant.

After the success of our first Death Cafe at the University of Leeds in 2016 the Patient | Carer Community (PCC) will coproduce and co-host our second Death Cafe with the Humanities & Spiritual Health society (HuSH) at the School of Medicine.

In the spirit of the Death Cafe ethos the discussion is always led by the attendees. As hosts we offer a warm and friendly space for students, patients and carers to broach and explore life, death and mortality – all washed down with gallons of tea and plates stacked with cake!

Both Jools, Sonya and Philip look forward to facilitating this conversation. We hope to make the Death Cafe at the School of Medicine a regular event.

About The Patient | Carer Community and Humanities & Spiritual Health Society at the School of Medicine, University of Leeds.

We are a community of patients and carers working in partnership with students, educators and clinicians, leading the way locally and nationally in educating the medical profession.

We are making a difference by putting real stories at the heart of the curriculum so that patients, carers and their family members everywhere will experience the best possible healthcare.


Jools Symons – Patient and Public Involvement Manager at the Medical School.

My first experience of death was when my partner died at the tender age of 36 and I was 31. During that time I tried to be everything to everyone but I couldn't sustain the Superwoman act for too long... needless to say I soon crashed and burned!

So why hadn't I experience death before? Culture dictates that we don't talk about dying, as adults we fear it and in turn we shield our children from the truth.

I'd like to wag my finger at this taboo and talk about death, laugh, cry, share, celebrate but most of all normalise those conversations... so pull up a chair and let's eat cake!

Philip Sheridan – Facilitator, Poet & Writer

Two decades professional background working with children and families around separation and loss.

Lived experience of trauma, death and acquired disability. Proud member of the Patient | Carer Community at the School of Medicine, University of Leeds. Tutor at the School of Medicine.

Feeling very privileged and honoured to co-facilitate our first Death Cafe.


Sonya Bushell – Medical Student, President of Humanities & Spiritual Health Society

As a farmer’s daughter, I have encountered much death within the animal kingdom. Yet death is neither regarded callously nor trivially on our farm. We try to ensure that death comes at the right time and in the right way for every animal. We attempt to honour the absence (or change) that is inherent in every being’s death.

Starting medical school, and witnessing relatives’ experiences with disease and death, has prompted me to further reflect on death and our varied reactions to it. Recognising the importance of open discussion around death, I am looking forward to this Death Café immensely.