Clarification - themes and communities

Posted by Jon Underwood on Nov. 24, 2013, 5:08 p.m. 4 comments

Clarification - themes and communities

In the Death Cafe guide (6.1) we actively discourage having themes for Death Cafes. A themed Death Cafe is a Death Cafe that is devoted to the discussion of a specific topic, such as funerals, grief or planning future care.



However we also say that "6.3 In general Death Cafes are open to, and respectful of, people of all communities and belief systems. However it is fine, and can be very good, to have Death Cafes for specific communities and belief systems. For example we have had a number of Death Cafes specifically for the LGBT community. In the same way it is possible to have Death Cafes for other communities / groups e.g. Muslims, young people, older people, homeless people etc. Wherever possible these should be facilitated by people who are from that community."



I mention this because Besty Trapasso in Los Angeles has just posted a Death Cafe specifically for the pet owning community.



In my opinion this works because themes tend to narrow down the discussion. What happens if someone wants to talk about something else at a funeral-themed Death Cafe? Also these event are more likely to move towards being information giving sessions which Death Cafe is definitely not. And it is easy for people who know a lot about the theme to find themselves taking the role of 'experts' which also tends to skew the conversation.



However having a Death Cafe for a community makes a lot of sense. We all belong to so many different groups and it is natural and appropriate to discuss death with people who know where you're coming from. And if the coversation moves around, as it always does - no problem. As such I hope we have many more Death Cafes for differnt communities.



Please let me know your thoughts on whether this makes sense to you and if it could be more clearly communicated in our docs.


@ Elise

Thanks for asking Elise. I responded via email but just to reproduce this here:

Having a Death Cafe for a specific community and holding it in a space that is appropriate for that community makes absolute sense. So no problem at all with that, in fact it sounds like a great venue.

All the best,


Posted by Jon Underwood

If the specific community for which one is having a Death Cafe is a faith-based one, is it acceptable to hold the event at the place of worship?

Posted by Elise Lark

Love it...its the 'talking' that's important. x

Posted by salli lovett


We have a Death Cafe every week in Mexico City for LGTBQ aging and their friends, and interested others. The discussion is always dynamic!

Posted by Vincent Schwahn

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