Skip to main content

Events Programme


PAST EVENTS: 2018-2019

Death Cafés in The Gate House Café, Abbey House Museum

Tuesday 17 April, 11.00-12.00

Friday 24 August, 11.00-12.00

Tuesday 16 October, 11.00-12.00

What is a death café?

At death cafés friends and strangers meet to discuss death over tea and cake. There is no agenda, objectives or themes, other than to increase awareness and openness about death. It is a discussion group and not a grief support or counselling session. The intention is not to reach a conclusion or a plan a course of action. We aim to create a comfortable, respectful, and confidential space.

Tuesday 20 March, 14.45-16.15: Professor Julie-Marie Strange, Beautiful Mourning: Remembering the Dead in Victorian Britain (£5, book in advance)

'The Victorians lived in what many have called a 'golden age' of mourning. Their 'celebration' of death is evidenced in myriad mementos, beautiful clothing, elaborate monuments, touching letters of condolence and diaries. Victorian practices around death and mourning were intended to help mourners come to terms with bereavement and to keep the memory of the dead alive. This talk explores the Victorian 'celebration' of death and their 'beautiful' mourning culture. It asks how did the Victorians mourn; who was this culture accessible to; and is there anything we can learn from them.  

Wednesday 9 May, 14.30-16.15: Ann Lightman, Women of Lawnswood Cemetery (£5, book in advance)

This talk will focus on a few women associated with Lawnswood Cemetery who won recognition for achievements gained outside the traditional roles of daughter, wife and mother. Although the historic focus for a prestigious cemetery in a great industrial city like Leeds is invariably on the men, Lawnswood's iconic image is the Ethel Preston memorial. The cemetery has fascinating stories to tell about the roles women played in this past.

Thursday 14 June, 11.00-15.00: Study Day, Death and Remembrance, with Dr Patrick Bourne and Dr Jessica Hammett, (£10, book in advance)

How did the ways in which we remember those who have passed change between the close of the Victorian era and the end of the Second World War? Join us to explore mourning cards, funeral bills and other personal effects of the deceased. We will discuss whether the culture of mourning and remembrance has changed, and if so, why.

Tuesday 17 July, 14.45-16.15: Dr David Selway, Death Underground: Memories of Mining Accidents (£5, book in advance)

Tragedy and death have always been inextricably linked with coal mining in the public imagination. Big explosions – such as those at Senghennydd, Gresford and Oaks Colliery – generated vast amounts of press coverage and public sympathy, and pit disasters have gone on to dominate representations of miners and their families in popular culture. This talk uses oral history interviews from the 1970s to explore how mining communities themselves remembered deaths and injuries underground. It looks at how the miners and their families responded to the dangers of their industry, and examines the resentment they often felt about how those experiences were represented by the press and the wider public.

Saturday 28 July, 12.30-14.30: Ellie Harrison, Making a Time Capsule Children's Workshop (drop in session)

How would you want to be remembered in 100 years? Time capsules are containers filled with objects which tell you about the people who made them. Once time capsules are filled they are hidden away or buried, and left for someone in the future to find. During this workshop you can make your own time capsule. Get inspiration from our Remembrance exhibition, and think about the objects that are important to you.

Ellie Harrison is a performance maker and artist. She creates a range of solo and collaborative devised performance work for studios, galleries, found and public spaces. Participation is at the heart of all of her work as a performer, facilitator and mentor of young people. Her work is often characterised by a playful and provocative approach to difficult topics, encouraging audiences to make decisions and participate.

Saturday 15 September, 13.30-15.30: Amanda Reed, The Gypsies Under The Bed Family Workshop (free, book in advance) 

In this workshop, Amanda Reed tells stories of the Gypsies she found when researching her family tree. Amanda will show photographs, documents and objects relating to her own ancestors, and will demonstrate how to make a paper flower for participants to take home.

Amanda Reed is a Gypsy/Traveller historian. She is the founder of the heritage and family history Facebook group ‘Gypsyville’.

Tuesday 18 September, 14.45-16.15: Dr Katie McClymont, Deathscapes and Diversity: Planning for Death and Remembrance in Multicultural England and Wales (£5, book in advance)

Practices around death and remembrance in the UK have changed rapidly over the decades, in part influenced by changing and developing patterns of migration and settlement by people with ancestral links outside of England and Wales.  This presentation will discuss the findings from an 18 month intensive research project which has investigated the needs and desires of people from migrant and minority ethnic backgrounds around death, bodily disposal and remembrance. It focuses on experiences from four medium sized towns to explore the everyday challenges and aspirations faced by diverse communities in different settings, and how governing authorities’ action and inaction have impacted how effectively services are provided.

Thursday 15 November, 14.45-16.15: Lucy Moore, Memorials and Memories: Different Ways of Remembering the First World War (£5, book in advance)

Lucy Moore is a curator, currently working across all nine Leeds Museums & Galleries sites to co-ordinate activities to commemorate anniversaries of the First World War.

Saturday 1 December, 13.30-17.00: event for World AIDS Day, Kirkstall Abbey Visitor Centre (free, book in advance, tea and coffee provided)

Professor Matt Cook, Archives of Feeling: AIDS in the UK c.1987. 

This talk will trace the emotional landscape of Britain at a key turning point in the history of AIDS. Drawing chiefly on the astonishing testimonies of around 600 largely straight men and women, Professor Cook will explore the feelings at stake in the epidemic, how they related to press and politics, how they shaped everyday lives, and how they played out for those dealing most directly with the escalating crisis. Such ‘archives of feeling’ are fundamental to our understanding of intersecting social and intimate lives – past and present.

West Yorkshire Queer Stories project team, talk on findings from their project.