Honours Writing

    If you'd like to help in my honours thesis you can do so by completing a survey (it should take 5 minutes). You can find information about the surveys, and links to the surveys here. It will be appreciated!

    As some might have noticed my posts have dropped off recently, and I'm taking a while to reply to emails. This is due to a combination of not having time and simply being tired.

    My honours thesis is at an important writing stage, I'm analysing data and putting everything together. Basically I'm writing a few thousand words a day and reading a lot. This isn't actually as big a task as it sounds. Or maybe I've simply become use to it. However, by the time I'm done writing for the thesis I am tired of writing, and so I don't feel like writing even more for the blog.

    So between being busy and being drained I'm simply not generating content for the blog for a while. The thesis is due in November, so everything should be back to normal by December.

    As for where the thesis will be available; any individual or organisation who has participated will be eligible to get a copy, simply email me. I will also look to get it published and submit it to conferences next year, when I finally have time for that. A summary will also be put on the blog, however this will only be short and essentially a long(ish) abstract. Other than that I have no idea at this stage, but I know the full thesis will not be put on the blog. This is simply not the right audience or place for it, a 20,000 word academic article is never going to many (if any) people reading it here.

    Thank you again to those who have participated. This project would not have been possible for a large number of people and a few organisations.



LifeArt - Making Coffins

    This is an interesting video about how LifeArt make their cardboard coffins. Unfortunately it's only 240p and a low quality video. But it is definitely worth a watch, especially for those not familiar with LifeArt.

LifeArt Clean Coffin Technology

     You can read more about LifeArt coffins via their website. Essentially they're cardboard coffins, which are environmentally friendly. Personally I like them for their customisation abilities and how light and practical they are. You can get any image or design printed on them, or simply get a plain one and decorate it in person as I have seen some people do.

    LifeArt recently released an online design tool, allowing people to design coffins themselves. It's a fun tool to play with, LifeArt Online Design.

    However, a huge drawback is that they are not available directly to the public. To me this is a bit of a shame as LifeArt would make a wonderful art medium. I've seen families paint, write poems, and stick collages on the coffins. Opening this up to a wider community could be good.

    My personal belief is that LifeArt could be a great product and used in a great way, but often gets dismissed or ignored too soon. The environmental benefits, the costs, and the quality are not as important as the customisation. The very option and notion of being able to completely customise a coffin like this is great and should be given more credit. So I think it's wonderful to see LifeArt running with this through things like the online design tool. The ability to interact so directly with the coffin, and to change it so dramatically, is a very powerful thing. I've had the pleasure of seeing some amazing things mourners have done with LifeArt coffins.



Guest Post - Pros & Cons of Cremation vs. Burial

    Here's a short guest post about the positives and negatives of both cremation and burial. It is an interesting debate, to go with cremation or burial.

Death is an aspect of life that most people fail to understand. Even though everyone is going to experience it eventually, it’s often a topic of discussion that doesn’t come up. But, regardless of how far and fast you run away from it, there is always the stunning realization that at some point in the future you will cease to be.

One way to cope with this is of course to be prepared for when it comes to fruition. This may be a thought you’d like to keep out of your head, but as you ease into your inevitable demise, you can start with simple questions such as: should I be buried or cremated?

If you’ve never taken the time to ponder this thought, here are a few pros and cons to consider as you draw nearer to the infinite beyond.


Event - Hidden Sculpture Walk at Rookwood

    Every year Rookwood Cemetery is host to a sculpture walk called 'Hidden'. Sculptures are scattered throughout the Anglican section of the cemetery, using their surroundings as part of the sculpture itself in many cases.

Where: All Saints Chapel, on Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood Cemetery. Near the Anglican office.
When: 11:00am Saturday, on the 21st of September.

    The event is completely free and good fun, the path to follow is no always perfectly clear and sculptures can be hard to find (hidden in a sense). Which creates a fun feeling of exploration and adventure, and because of this every time you go you'll have a very different experience.

    Below I have photos from Hidden last year.


Reminder - Honours Surveys

UPDATE: Surveys are now CLOSED and interviews are no longer being conducted, thank you to those who participated!

HREA Panel B approval no. 13 031
    Just a quick reminder, in addition to the interviews and fieldwork I will be conducting two short surveys as part of my honours thesis.  Each surveys should take 10 minutes or less, and all answers will be kept anonymous. Your participation will be greatly appreciated and will really help my study!! :)

The Public Survey:
    This survey is open to anyone from the general public and has never worked in the funeral industry. Answer honestly and do not worry about a 'right' or 'good' answer.

Direct link:

The Funeral Staff Survey:
    This survey is open to anyone who has worked in the funeral industry in any capacity or role. Answer honestly and do not worry about a 'right' or 'good' answer.

Direct link:

    Feel free to share the surveys with anyone who might be interested. You are also welcome to participate in interviews, follow the link below for more information:

All participation in this project is appreciated, if there's any further questions or comments feel free to email me via theothersideoffunerals@gmail.com.

    This project is part of honours in anthropology at the University of New South Wales and has received ethics approval (approval no. 13 031) from HREA Panel B at UNSW. If there are any questions or issues you can contact me via theothersideoffunerals@gmail.com or my supervisor Dr Amanda Kearney at the University of New South Wales.


Upcoming Events

    There are many funeral industry and death related events held around Sydney each year. These are a few that I know of and think look particularly interesting or relevant.

Hidden Art Exhibition at Rookwood -- 21st Sept - 31st Oct
    Every year there is an art exhibition in Rookwood Cemetery, it is free and quite fun, seeing the different exhibits on display among the graves.  I particularly like how some incorporate that specific place of the cemetery within their artwork.

   On the last day they hold a little closing ceremony with videos and food, which was very fun and informative last year.

    Hidden homepage with more information.

ESMP Open Day -- 26th Oct
    The 2012 Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park open day was a blast, I really had a great time and there was such a variety of stuff to see and do.  This is also one of the only funeral home open days I know of.

When  -  26th October, 11am to 2pm.
Where  -  Military Rd, Matraville

    My post about the ESMP 2012 open day.

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) -- 2nd November
    This is a new event, or at least one I have not heard of in Sydney before. It's a celebration of things related to death and the way life and death are so entangled. There will be a skull painting competition and more.

When  -  2nd November, 9am to 5pm.
Where  -  Gore Hill Oval/ParkCorner of Pacific Hwy and Reserve Rd, St Leonards.

Day of the dead event page.

Living with Our Dead -- 10th November
    Living with our dead is an event organised by a Sydney celebrant to remember and honour the deceased and bring the idea of death into an acceptable and public setting. I don't have any other information at this stage, so if you're interested follow the link below.

Living with our dead site.

Living with our dead FaceBook page.