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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Is it Time? Cafe Culture

30th May 2013, 19:00 to 21:00, Botanic Garden, Lane, South Road, Durham, DH1 3TN, Professor Douglas Davies


Richard Bliss and Esther Salamon invite you to the third and final CAFE CULTURE event in Durham – a convivial evening of discussion and debate with Professor Douglas Davies, as part of the Is it time? programme. 

This is the final Cafe Culture event and it is scheculed to take place in the café in the Botanic Garden on Thursday, 30th May. The Botanic Garden is located on Hollingside Lane, South Road, Durham City DH1 3TN - http://www.dur.ac.uk/botanic.garden. Car parking is free car. Public transport is close by from the main road and it is approximately a 5-7 minute walk to the Botanic Garden.

You can enjoy refreshments in the café before the event or snacks and refreshments during the event. This venue is wheelchair accessible. Although the discussion will begin at 7p.m. (and will finish at 9p.m.), you are advised to arrive early as places at this venue are limited - the doors will open at 5.30 p.m. Below is a little information about the event, Professor Douglas Davies and Dr Lutz Doering, who will chair the event.

Imagining ourselves dead

Cremation, woodland burial, or dissolving under pressure are actual or potential options open to us as we imagine ourselves as dead. How do these possibilities align with our sense of destiny and dignity at a time when apparent freedom of choice and political constraint underlie life and death in today’s Britain, and at a time when emotions pervade our private and public faces with death both pressing and yet often seeming to be an irrelevance? 

Douglas Davies will try to describe the place of options and emotions over life and death as theories of grief shift and older old age promises shade and light at ends of lifetime tunnels.

About Douglas Davies

Douglas Davies trained in both anthropology and theology at Durham and Oxford, and has worked extensively on the interface between them. He is Professor of the Study of Religion at Durham University and Director of its Centre for Death and Life Studies. He is an ordained Anglican.

His deep interest in ritual, symbolism, and belief has been pursued in studies of cremation, graves, and woodland burial, as well as a lifetime study of Mormonism, of aspects of the Church of England, and of emotions in religion. His books include, - Death, Ritual and Belief, - The Re-use of Old Graves, - A Brief History of Death (also in Greek and Japanese), -The Mormon Culture of Salvation, -Joseph Smith, Jesus and the Satanic Vision, and - Emotion, Identity and Religion. He has jointly produced - The Encyclopedia of Cremation, - Bishops, Wives and Children, and ‘Natural Burial. He is a Doctor of Letters of Oxford University, was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Theology by the University of Uppsala (1998), is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, an Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and a Serving Brother of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

About the Chair

Born and raised in Germany, Dr Lutz Doering read Theology and Jewish Studies at Erlangen, Jerusalem, and Heidelberg. He is Reader in New Testament and Ancient Judaism at Durham University. His research is situated at the interface of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. In this academic year he is leading the subtheme ‘Calendars and Festivals: Identity, Culture and Experience’, supported by the Institute of Advanced Study as part of its 2012/13 theme ‘Time’.

About Is it time?

It is a multi-artform, multi-disciplinary project that involves academics, artists, cultural organisations, communities and the general public in a range of interactive activities, performances and events in County Durham between October 2012 and June 2013. People are being invited to consider and respond to key issues of the past and present and identify and offer solutions to the big issues of the future. The project has been developed in partnership with three Durham University departments – English, Archaeology and Theology – through the Institute of Advanced Study, and is led and managed by Projects Galore. Is it time? is supported by Arts Council England, the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University, County Durham Cultural Partnership and Lindisfarne Gospels Durham.

Contact esther@projectsgalore.co.uk for more information about this event.