RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


210 Geographies of loss, grief and carrying on: the nexus of death, diversity and resilience (2)
Affiliation Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group
Convenor(s) Avril Maddrell (University of the West of England, UK)
Charlotte Kenten (GOSH, UK)
Katie McClymont (University of the West of England, UK)
Olivia Stevenson (University College London,UK)
Chair(s) Avril Maddrell (University of the West of England, UK)
Timetable Thursday 01 September 2016, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Session abstract Building on a growing body of work on geographies of death, dying and remembrance (e.g. Evans 2014; Maddrell and Sidaway 2010; Stevenson et al 2016, Social and Cultural Geography), these sessions will explore the spatial dimensions of social, cultural, material and immaterial complexities of the nexus of human and non-human life-death, absence-presence, grieving-consolation. Papers are invited from Geography, History, Planning, Design and related areas which are attentive to difference and diversity (Global South/ North, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, age) and address critically-engaged, theoretical, empirical and methodological issues, including: The physical, emotional, spiritual and virtual spaces and practices of living-dying, including life-shortening illnesses, suicide, survival, remembrance and consolation; Discursive and material spaces and boundaries of grievability, including non-human loss; Intersections of time-space in practices and performances of loss and resilience; Inclusive and exclusive deathscapes and practices; Policy and planning needs and responses in diverse and multicultural societies; Research methodologies, ethics and researcher care and resilience
Linked Sessions Geographies of loss, grief and carrying on: the nexus of death, diversity and resilience (1)
Geographies of loss, grief and carrying on: the nexus of death, diversity and resilience (3)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
'Knockin' on heaven's door': reflections on end of life research
Charlotte Kenten (GOSH, UK)
Olivia Stevenson (University College London,UK)
The geographies of dying and death have tended to focus on literal and representational end of life spaces, such as cemeteries and memorials. As a result little attention has been given to experiences, practices and processes of dying/s, death/s and survival/s. Based on the authors' experiences of conducting UK based research, this paper reflects on the research journey - practicalities, challenges, methodological issues and ethical terrains - involved in conducting qualitative research with those contemplating and attempting suicide, those at the end of life and those who remain. We also reflect upon how the denial of the varied and often multiple liminal spatialities assists in maintaining death as an absence, rather than a presence-encounter where the endings of life intermingle with everyday life. Drawing on our experiences during the research process we explore to what extent we might be able to use our observations to inform debates about the ethics of end of life research, the encounters and boundary crossings between participant and researcher, and the wider socio-political contexts in which dying and death are located.
Socioeconomic inequalities in suicide: What is the role of contextual factors in understanding geographical inequalities in suicidal behaviours?
Jo Cairns (Durham University, UK)
Clare Bambra (Durham University, UK)
The notion that social context is important in understanding suicide and suicidal attempts, such as the concept of 'social autopsy', is not new but to what extent the material context also contributes to such understandings is growing in interest. This has been influenced by rises in geographical inequalities in suicides over the past decade. In the UK, for example, there is a stark divide between Scotland and England with Glasgow namely having the highest suicide rates for middle-aged males. However, there remains limited understanding of the contextual effects that may contribute to such uneven suicide geographies and the extent to which area-level deprivation may explain this and through what mechanisms. The objective of this systematic review then is to examine (1) the association between area-level socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviours and (2) the possible mechanisms that may link area-level socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviours. Searches in five main databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Psychinfo, EconLit, Social Sciences Citation Index) will be conducted. Peer-reviewed papers published in English language from Europe between 2005 and 2015 will be data extracted and quality appraised if they meet the inclusion criteria. A narrative synthesis of the papers included in the review will be presented.
She wonders/wanders about walking the paths of the Glory Wood in the glass dress spilling red ribbon and ash, an unraveling
Davina Kirkpatrick (University of the West of England, UK)
The overarching aim of my doctoral research is to explore an 'archaeology' of absence (informed by Shanks 2001) through practice as a means to bear witness to loss. The study draws on interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives from bereavement, grief, memory studies and collaborative practice. I have investigated the functions of articulating loss and absence, through stories and otherwise, in exploring personal grief narratives. This has been achieved through contemporary arts practice and the participatory creative enacting of rituals in the landscape which involve the interweaving of people, objects, place and story, so as to externalize emotion through creative activity to match the void of absence.
Following Pearson's (2007p14) question: "How does place act as mnemonic?" the thesis examines the possibilities for creative mediation between absence, objects and the revisited landscape. Particularly pertinent are my explorations through practice to the presence of absence.
In wanting to create words, objects, moments of meeting and site-specific artworks I am endeavoring to find control and structure. The thesis presents personal and collaborative artwork, auto-ethnographic text and interviews with artists where loss has been a prompt for making work. My methodological framework, drawing on and extending Law's idea of method assemblage (2004), is rooted in this relationship between theory and practice. How I develop and work through ideas and emotions through choices in materials and the immersive and reflexive processes of thinking, making and writing. My presentation will include a four and a half minute film.