The Art of Holding with Peter Banki, Ph.D

The Art of Holding with Peter Banki, Ph.D

While holding forms an integral part of many physical interactions, and while it can, by itself, generate intense emotions and sensations, it is rarely investigated on its own merit. Often we do not actually feel safely held, even though that is what we long for. We can only truly let go when we know that someone will be there to hold us. Once we understand what it is that makes being held a less than satisfying experience, we can be clearer about what it is that we wish to feel in an embrace and where to place our attention.

"Dying in the 21st Century: why has it got so hard and can we make it easier?" with Dr. Peter Saul

"Dying in the 21st Century: why has it got so hard and can we make it easier?" with Dr. Peter Saul

Dr. Peter Saul has helped to write all the current NSW Health guidelines about end of life, and is a senior intensive care specialist working in both public and private hospitals. His excellent TED Talk "Lets' Talk About Dying" has been seen by nearly a million people. Dr. Saul's workshop will give you advice as to how to talk to doctors, and how to make decisions for others and for yourself. It will include elements of planning ahead, understanding personal values (and how these influence the decisions we make for others) and how to take control when that is needed. 

 

Sleeping, Dying and Dreaming with Dr. Michael Barbato

Sleeping, Dying and Dreaming with Dr. Michael Barbato

This workshop will focus on some of the unusual language and experiences of dying patients. It explores the history and significance of end-of-life dreams and visions and will show how these experiences and the language used by dying patients are often ignored or misinterpreted in today’s highly sophisticated medical environment. It will explore the myths and truths surrounding their cause and provide examples to illustrate the profound healing effect end-of-life dreams and visions can have on the person dying and their carers.

Human Rooms with Efterpi Soropos

Human Rooms with Efterpi Soropos

When her mother Evangalia, died of breast cancer in 1995 a process began that both devastated and enlightened Efterpi Soropos to research and develop sensory concepts that would create a better perception of space and environment through the senses for vulnerable people. HUMAN ROOMS™ is an immersive experiential concept that can assist participants to reduce stress, induce relaxation and meditative states within a peaceful and harmonious environment that is self directed.

Forgiveness with Peter Banki, Ph.D

Forgiveness with Peter Banki, Ph.D

One of the most profound and intimate experiences is to be wounded and unable to forgive. The inability to forgive may not be something that is simply chosen. Something very powerful continues to say ‘no’, even if one would like to say ‘yes’, to forgive the other, believing that it will make things easier, lighter and better from now on. In certain cases even after one has said ‘yes’ and meant ‘yes’, the ‘no’ insists. 

Share My Coffin with Alan Schacher

Share My Coffin with Alan Schacher

In this role-playing workshop, based on Alan’s solo performance Share my Coffin, we imagine and enact the idea that one is in their own coffin being not ready (unprepared) for death and departure, with things left unsaid or yet to say, conversations yet unfinished, feedback not heard.

In their respective roles, workshop participants will take turns to lie in a simple coffin and speak with those gathered around who witness and support them by taking on significant roles, listening and/or responding as stand-ins, representing those with whom there may be unfinished business and issues.

A Panel on Compassionate Communities with Jessie Williams, Professor Debbie Horsfall, Jenny Briscoe-Hough and Caitlin Scott

A Panel on Compassionate Communities with Jessie Williams, Professor Debbie Horsfall, Jenny Briscoe-Hough and Caitlin Scott

What could a compassionate community be? And what role might it play in the dying process and in death? In what ways does the capacity for village-mindedness help us to carry the dead and care for the dying? Join a panel of people who are passionate about re-imagining the role of communities in death and dying in Australia.  

Experiencing Terminal Cancer with Tamara Targo

Experiencing Terminal Cancer with Tamara Targo

Terminal cancer is such a common diagnosis, but unless we have had personal experience with it we are very sheltered from how it feels to be diagnosed. Often we are at a loss just simply knowing how to respond when someone confides in us that they're dying. In this workshop Tamara candidly shares her own experience of being diagnosed with terminal cancer at 36, and provides an opportunity for everyone to explore how their lives would be impacted if they received this diagnosis. The second part of the workshop investigates the question of what is an appropriate response when the ill person tells you, the healthy person, that they're terminal. To conclude the workshop, there will be a no holds barred discussion and Q&A session around terminal illness where nothing is taboo.

The Consolation of Poetry with Luke Fischer

The Consolation of Poetry with Luke Fischer

Most poets write a lot about death, and funerals (along with weddings) are one of the few public occasions at which poetry is frequently read. In this workshop poet and philosopher Luke Fischer will share his own poetry (especially from his new collection A Personal History of Vision) and discuss how it addresses death and grief. He will also shed light on how Rilke's poetry finds meaning in these themes.  

Your Will - What Do You Really Want To Say with Donal Griffin

Your Will - What Do You Really Want To Say with Donal Griffin

In this workshop you will learn how to write a Will that reflects your own wishes and values. Donal Griffin will share with you what people have done well and not so well in terms of their Wills. Personal relationships often pay the price in a world where the property market means a lot. Too often, dry lawyers give people documents that are either too complex or too simple to look after a client’s family. This workshop will enable you to have the Will you deserve. In addition Donal will also share a little about the book he is writing for his son: The Irish Book of Living and Dying.

The Death Letter Project with Tina FiveAsh

The Death Letter Project with Tina FiveAsh

In this workshop artist/Photographer Tina FiveAsh introduces The Death Letter Project, a three-year undertaking, during which she invited fifty Australians to write a letter responding to: What is death? What happens when we die?

The project’s fifty letters, accompanied by photographic portraits of each contributor, provide a glimpse into the diversity of thoughts, beliefs, and experiences surrounding death in contemporary Australian society.

Death Denial with the Plush Animal Collective

Death Denial with the Plush Animal Collective

Leonardo Lion says he doesn't believe in death or in immortality. Maybe he has a point: for who of us really believes in their own death? And who of us can say with any certainty that there is such a thing as immortality?

Many people give up their plush animals well before they go into puberty. However, there are also quite a few who never give them up, and courageously carry them into adulthood. For me, they are not toys, but living creatures, with unique personalities, likes and dislikes, and even sexualities. Beyond giving emotional comfort and reassurance, they create magical worlds of intimacy that it is possible to share with others. In this performance, the plush animals will help us (not) to think about death and dying. Plush animals, in general, don't have much of a sense of time. They live in the present (or at least they pretend to). What's most important to them is just the attention they get and being loved. Maybe we can learn something from them. They have a lot to say!

Building an understanding of Grief from an Indigenous Cultural Perspective with Maree Clarke

In this workshop internationally renowned artist, Maree Clarke, will speak about mourning practices of South Eastern Australia. In particular, she will focus on the practice of wearing Kopi mourning caps.

Participants will first listen to a talk and then be guided through a process of experiencing clay headwear (Kopi) to support a deepened understanding of Aboriginal culture and the connections between arts and emotional well-being. The workshop will address ‘Sorry Business’, with the greatest respect.

The Kopi mourning cap represents loss, sorrow and grief. Aboriginal women would cut off their hair, weave a net of emu sinew and place the sinew on their head. They’d then cover it with several layers of gypsum, a white river clay, forming the Kopi. These Kopi could weigh up to 7kg and were a signifier of the wearer being in a state of grief. There is documentation of men also wearing the Kopi mourning cap. Women wore the Kopi from two weeks to six months depending on their relationship to the deceased. At the end of their mourning period the Kopi was taken off and placed on the grave of their deceased loved one.

In this workshop the wearing of the Kopi will be done with respect and reverence for the revitalisation of this mourning practice, within a contemporary context. Men and women are encouraged to attend.

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Maree Clarke is a well-respected figure of the south-eastern Australian Aboriginal community for not only her inspirational work supporting Aboriginal artists but also for her own successful career as a visual artist. In her practice she works to revive elements of Aboriginal culture that were lost in the period of colonisation and use art as a tool to heal some of our country’s deepest wounds.