Association for the Study of Death and Society logo
Manchester Metropolitan University logo

The Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS) and Manchester Metropolitan University presents:

The 15th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal: Diversity and Decolonisation

Wednesday 1st September – Saturday 4th September 2021

Please note that registration for the conference and evening programme is now closed.

About the Event

In increasingly fractured and confusing times, this conference seeks to locate death as the one intersection that truly touches us all.

The conference will present papers and panels on a range of topics connected to our main theme of ‘Diversity and Decolonisation’. As ever, this 'Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal' conference is multi-disciplinary and open to all, including artists, academics, professionals and practitioners of all kinds, whose interests and/or practices are related to death and dying.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, DDD15 will be presented entirely on-line and it is this year hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, on behalf of The Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS). The conference programme will, therefore, be presented in line with the GMT+1 timezone.

Conference Registration fees are as follows. You will need to chose one of these categories as you register:

  • Full delegate: £150.00
  • ASDS member: £80.00
  • PGR/Student: £80.00
  • PGR/Student ASDS member: £40.00

All payments must be made by credit/debit card as you register.

Since this is a virtual event all delegates will need to create their own unique registration in order to attend.

If you are not already an ASDS member and would like to join (and take advantage of reduced rates for the conference) please see the ASDS website for details.

The conference will be accompanied by a free-to-attend virtual arts and culture programme. These events are free and open to the public and will address the conference themes through exhibition, performance and discussion. Attendance at these events is included for delegates to the conference sessions. 

For any enquiries please email

A drawing of a person of colour's hands holding an hourglass
Manchester Metropolitan University logo
Association for the Study of Death and Society logo

Call For Papers

Abstracts and panel submission is now closed.

In increasingly fractured and confusing times, this conference seeks to place death as the one intersection that truly touches us all. The conference focuses on papers and panels on the following (non-exhaustive) list of possible topics, as they relate to death, dying and disposal:

  • Animals
  • Race
  • Colonialism/decolonisation
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Environmental emergency and extinction
  • Grievability and bare life
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Intersectionality
  • Representation(s)
  • Class
  • Economies
  • Neoliberalism
  • Migration
  • Inequalities
  • The posthuman
  • Radicalism
  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • New forms of care, solidarity, community and support
  • The role of technology eg. the internet, social media, online funerals, support networks etc.

The conference is accompanied by a free, accessible, community co-curated arts and culture programme that will address these themes through audio visual presentations, performance and discussions.



The conference offers a wide range of speakers, both academic and practitioners. Please see below for details of our keynotes/plenaries, panels and speakers, ASDS sessions and the evening cultural programme.

A final programme is now published below. 



DDD15 would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the Organising Committee, including academics, researchers and professional services staff from across Manchester Metropolitan University and key external advisors on our Diversity and Decolonisation theme.

Professor Craig Young

Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Craig Young is is a human geographer with interests in the intersection of the politics of memory and identity with memorialisation, cultural landscapes, death, and the dead body. He previously convened a series of day events and an ESRC Research Seminar Series on the theme of 'Encountering Corpses'.

Helen Darby

Manchester Metropolitan University

Helen Darby is Research Impact and Public Engagement Manager for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University. Over several years, they have been central in the creation and organisation of University activities focussing on death, including Encountering Corpses, Haunt Manchester and the Gothic Manchester Festival. Helen also volunteers with the LGBT Foundation to help deliver their ‘Rainbow Death Café’.

Dr Matthew Foley

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Matt Foley is Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research interests include gothic literature, modernism, and the soundworld of the novel. As well as being a member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, Matt is also the administrator of the International Gothic Association’s Allan Lloyd Smith Memorial Prizes, and academic lead for Manchester Met and Marketing Manchester’s gothic tourism project 'Haunt Manchester'.

Dr Emma Liggins

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Emma Liggins is Senior Lecturer in English Literature in the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests include ghost stories, haunted heritage and Victorian cemeteries. She has recently published The Haunted House in Women’s Ghost Stories, 1850-1945: Gender, Space and Modernity (Palgrave, 2020) and is currently working on the American ghost stories of Shirley Jackson and the graveyard as a Gothic space in the fiction of Susan Hill and Tracy Chevalier.

Dr Chloe Germaine Buckley

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Chloé Germaine Buckley is Senior Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has diverse research interests in the Gothic, Horror and the Weird across literature and culture. She has co-organised the Manchester Gothic Festival since 2017 and develops participatory research and engagement projects with the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies.

Dr Ben Edwards

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Ben Edwards is Reader in Heritage & Archaeology in the Department of History, Politics, and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research investigates the use of advanced digital technologies in heritage management and public engagement, and the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of Britain. 

Dr Seren Griffiths

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Seren Griffiths is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, Politics, and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University. Seren is a heritage specialist and archaeologist. She researches public archaeology and heritage practice using interdisciplinary methods, has period specialisms in European prehistory, methodological specialisms in archaeological science and is a 2020 BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker.

Professor Anya Ahmed

Manchester Metropolitan University

Prof Anya Ahmed is Professor of Wellbeing and Communities at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests include ageing, dementia, migration and BAME communities, marginalised groups  and homelessness.

Lorna Chesterton

Manchester Metropolitan University

Lorna Chesterton is a researcher in the Social Care and Social Work department at Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in social ageing and dementia with marginalised groups. Her research interests centre on how people’s culture, ethnicity, beliefs and socio-economic situations impact upon their health and access to services. Lorna’s background is in nursing, having worked for many years in the district nursing service.

Dr Gary Witham

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Gary Witham is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has research interests in cancer, vulnerability and dementia and leads on cancer, palliative and end of life care within the Department.

James McCrea

Manchester Metropolitan University

James McCrea is a doctoral researcher at the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University and has contributed to the visual branding of DDD15. James is an art historian and illustrator with thematic interests in death iconographies and materialities of human remains.

Dr Kami Fletcher


Dr Kami Fletcher is the co-editor of Till Death Do Us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed which examines the internal and/or external drives among ethnic, religious, and racial groups to separate their dead (University Press of Mississippi, April 2020). At present, Dr. Fletcher is an Associate Professor of American & African American History and Co-Coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies at Albright College. For more on Dr. Fletcher visit her website and/or contact her on Twitter using @kamifletcher36.

Lawrence Roberts

LGBT Foundation

Lawrence Roberts is Pride in Ageing Manager for LGBT Foundation. Established in 1975, LGBT Foundation exists to support the needs of the diverse range of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans.  Launched by Sir Ian McKellen in June 2019, Pride in Ageing has already made huge strides in helping to ensure that Greater Manchester becomes one of the best places for LGBT people to grow older. This programme was set up in response to concerns that too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people over the age of 50 are living in isolation and facing discrimination as a direct result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Debbie Jones

Funeral Celebrant

Debbie Jones is an Independent Funeral Celebrant and Professional member of the Green Fuse Guild of Funeral Celebrants and the Good Funeral Guild. Debbie writes and conducts person-centred, bespoke funeral ceremonies. She also hosts a regular Death cafe (online during 2020) and, in 1:1 sessions, supports those who wish to plan ahead for their own funeral. 

Tim Harrison

Sick! Festival

Dr Tim Harrison is Creative Director and Co-founder of SICK! Festival. He develops creative projects and programmes that connect the arts to urgent societal issues around physical and mental health. Collaborations with universities, healthcare services, charities and community organisations are central to his working practices. 

Dr Samantha Fletcher

Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Samantha Fletcher is Senior Lecturer in Crimonology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests are focused around matters of crime, harm, global justice and state power. Central to all Samantha's research concerns is a commitment to scholarship that can contribute to discourses and activities seeking to redress inequalities and harms, caused by powerful persons, in pursuit of capitalist accumulation of wealth.


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Virtual Event Help Guide

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