Death and Dying in the Digital Age
Sat 25th & Sun 26th June 2011
2010 saw several international conferences on the subject of digital death, organised and attended by researchers in human-computer interaction (HCI) and design, with several articles published in HCI journals. The University of Bath’s Centre for Death & Society (CDAS) has extensive contacts in death studies, palliative and bereavement care, and the funeral industry, and is in a unique position to promote engagement between HCI/design research and death studies.
The 2011 CDAS summer conference will examine how new interactive digital technologies affect the social relationships of those who are dying, mourners, and descendents. 20-minute papers are invited from researchers in HCI, design, the social sciences and humanities; software developers and entrepreneurs; and the caring, funeral and memorial professions. Abstracts (up to 250 words) to be emailed to email@example.com by 14 March 2011. Topics could include, but are not limited to:
• Dying: Do digital communications change the experience of dying? Dying people and/or their carers can communicate bad news or regular updates to their friends by e-mail, Facebook etc: does this differ from letters, telephone calls, etc? Do dying people’s blogs make the experience of dying less private than their earlier print equivalents? Do such technologies erode the so-called taboo of death?
• Mourning: How do social networking sites (SNSs) change the experience of mourning? What is the online experience of communicating with the dead? Of talking with other mourners about the dead? Do SNSs re-insert mourners into community, if so how? Do they change the 20c experience of grief as private? How are they evolving?
• Digital inheritance: How are protocols developing for the following, and what evidence is there of practice so far? Digital wills; SNS policies re deceased members; digital archiving; digital archaeology; the mortality/immortality of digital data
The conference will be held in the centre of the world heritage city of Bath, in the amenable surroundings of the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institute (car park nearby, Bath Spa station 10 mins walk, Bristol Airport 1 hour). The cost, £45 for a single day, £80 for the weekend, includes lunch and refreshments. There will be opportunities to socialise over a drink on Friday evening or meal on Saturday evening (neither included in price). There is plentiful accommodation nearby, which delegates need to arrange for themselves.
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