What is Death Cafe?
At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death.
The objective of Death Cafe is
The Death Cafe model was developed by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid, based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz.
Our Death Cafes are discussions about death that are always offered:
- On a not for profit basis
- In an accessible, respectful and confidential space
- With no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action
- Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!
Death Cafe is now an established 'social franchise' that has spread quickly across the globe. To date we have offered around 402 Death Cafes to over 3,000 participants in Europe, North America and Australasia. Death Cafe has no staff and is run on a purely voluntary basis by Jon Underwood in Hackney, East London.
We remain energised by the amazing quality of the dialogue at our events, the people we connect with and the interest we have received.
People often ask why we doing this. Everyone has their own reasons for getting involved in Death Cafe. In the video below, Death Cafe Portland organiser Kate Brassington gives hers.
If you're interested in holding a Death Cafe yourself, please see our guide.
In 2010 Jon Underwood decided to develop a series of projects about death one of which was to focus on talking about death. In November Jon read about the work of Bernard Crettaz in the Independent newspaper. Inspired by Bernard's work, Jon immediately decided to use similar model for his own project and Death Cafe was born.
The first Death Cafe in the UK was offered in Jon's house in Hackney, East London in September 2011. It was facilitated by pychotherapist Sue Barsky Reid, Jon's mum. It was a wonderful occasion. We went on to offer Death Cafes in a range of places including funky cafes, people's houses, a yurt and the Royal Festival Hall.
Jon and Sue Barsky Reid produced a guide to running your own Death Cafe, based around the methodology Sue developed. This was published in Feb. 2012 and first person to pick it up was Lizzy Miles in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently over 100 people have worked with us to provide Death Cafes in the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Italy and beyond.
We have had widespread press coverage and it was a proud moment to have an excellent piece in the Independent newspaper where we'd originally come across the idea for Death Cafe.
We are working on plans to establish a dedicated Death Cafe in East London. Watch this space!
If you want to find out more about Death Cafe please do visit us:
- On Facebook: facebook.com/deathcafe
- On Twitter: @deathcafe