We are delighted to be able to announce the CDAS Conference 2022: Institutions and Death.

Running over two days, the 9 & 10 June 2022, this will be an online conference exploring institutions and institutional responses to death. The ways in which institutions themselves shape and inform understandings of death, loss and grief and the inequalities and disenfranchisement that can arise as a result.

The call for contributions is now open - please submit your responses online.

Institutions and institutional responses to death vary radically and are quite often riddled with inequality and disenfranchisement. As a result, the end of life, dying and bereavement in institutional settings deserve further exploration and critique, along with the ways in which institutions themselves shape and inform understandings of the death, loss and grief.

But what exactly are institutions, institutional responses and institutional(ised) deaths? How are institutions and institutionalised deaths (re)presented? And how do institutional spaces come to form and define the experience of loss? The 2022 CDAS Conference seeks to address some of these questions and more, taking a broad outlook on what we mean by the term institution(s), both formal and informal, organised or anti-, structural or spatial. As an interdisciplinary conference we welcome presenters and participants from all academic backgrounds, and we particularly encourage students and early career researchers to share their work with our highly engaged audience.

The 2022 CDAS Conference will be online, and we are mindful that after spending much of the last two years in front of computer screens many of the CDAS community would value the opportunity to chat more freely with one another. While we cannot facilitate that in person this time round, we are instead actively seeking contributions that are empirical, theoretical, abstract, artistic or dialogic to create the most interactive and engaging online conference that we can. We want to organise a conference that encourages a plethora of opportunities to discuss, debate, imagine, innovate and learn.

To this end, along with a topic that fits the thematic call we are asking that you think creatively about the type of format in which you would like to present your research, and to select your chosen format when you submit your abstract. Please write your abstract with your chosen format in mind. You will be asked to select a format when you submit your abstract. Formats include:

  • Panels: A group of short presentations followed by a long(er) discussion. We suggest no more than four papers per panel with each paper a length of 5-10 minutes max with time for an extended discussion between panellists and attendees. For this, you could host a panel or be one of the presenters.

  • Debates: Short presentations by debaters followed by a long(er) discussion between debaters and attendees. For this we suggest you identify two presenters and a facilitator to manage the debate and discussion.

  • Reading group: Where you ask attendees to read a particular book, article or series of works in advance and come prepared to discuss, analyse and unpick. An opportunity to debate the works of your favourite death studies writer perhaps?

  • Film group: As above, but with film.

  • Workshops and masterclasses: A group of people working on a particular task. This could be an opportunity to learn about research in an interactive way where attendees participate; or it could be a creative workshop, for example poetry, storytelling and fictional writing, or photography; or it could be a masterclass where you discuss, share and learn about a particular skill, for example communicating your research to the media or volunteering within institutional settings such as hospitals or prisons. Please give some details of how the workshop or masterclass will be structured/what it will include in your abstract. Support will be available should you want assistance in designing your online workshop or masterclass.

  • Talking Circles: Where you share research, experiences, ideas and perspectives in a respectful, ordered and facilitated way. You can learn more about talking circles (here)[https://firstnationspedagogy.ca/circletalks.html]. Focuses might include, for example, experiences of loss in the workplace or experiencing (sacred) deathscapes.

  • Conference papers: A traditional presentation of research with opportunity for question and answers. Even though we are inviting alternative formats for this year, we’re still open to this more conventional approach as an important opportunity for you to present your research to an interested audience and receive their feedback on your work.

  • Sandpits: Brainstorming sessions focused on a particular research area with a view to producing an action plan and next steps. This is a great way to bring people together around a social problem or a research project.

  • Other: surprise us!

We’re open to other suggestions for formats and activities within the conference, so if you have an idea you’d like to discuss with us informally in advance of submitting an abstract then get in touch at cdas@bath.ac.uk.

Looking for inspiration? Possible topics could include:

  • Health systems, health settings
  • Migration, statelessness, globalisation and nationality
  • Socio-legal processes of death investigation
  • Assisted dying; debates about life, death and personhood
  • Social movements and activism (eg. AIDS, ACT-UP, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ)
  • Institutional structures and systems (eg. patriarchy and structural racism)
  • Criminal justice: prisons, the Carceral state at the end-of-life and when bereaved, state ordered executions and capital punishment
  • Deathscapes, institutional(ised) spaces at the end of life and post-death
  • Museums, heritage and dark tourism
  • Processes and practices of institutionalisation
  • Death technologies of control, discipline, and preservation
  • Commemoration and memorialisation, the construction and institutionalisation of death narratives and scripts
  • Institutional appropriation and commodification of death culture
  • Human Rights Law and genocide
  • Families as institutions, the conceptualisation of historical and contemporary death in family life
  • Political protests and dead political leaders, acts of remembrance
  • Institutional responses to COVID-19
  • Feminist critiques of institutions and death
  • The politics of post-mortem evidence in policy making and with policy makers
  • Urban planning, urbanisation
  • Media (re)presentations of death, dying and bereavement

Please submit applications via the online form by 31 January 2022