News archive 2002
The Art of Dying17 Sep 2002, PR 40/02
Major programme of events explores changing attitudes to a good death
On 11 October 2002, King’s College London begins a year-long programme of events entitled
The Art of Dying, which will explore twenty-first century attitudes to death and dying, and how our approach to death has changed since ancient times.
The idea that life is a continual process of dying has been a commonplace of Western and non-Western thought since time began. But ideas about and representations of a ‘good’ death have changed across time and across cultures: for ancient and medieval civilisations, the art of dying (ars moriendi) was an integral part of living. In an increasingly secular world, the advancement of science brings longer life without many of the traditional frameworks that have supported the passage from life to death.
The Art of Dying symposium will address a range of questions associated with death and dying in a vigorous programme of lectures, seminars, performance and displays. Encompassing philosophy, music, history, medicine, art, theology, psychiatry, fashion, theatre, history, film and law, they include:
- What do people die of, and what happens when someone dies?
- How have the causes and locales of death changed through history, and how are they likely to change in the future?
- How is dying recognised and death anticipated and prepared for?
- What is the role of pain, and how is pain managed?
- How do artistic representations of death affect our apprehension of it?
- How can the truth about death and dying be told more effectively?
- Should societies allow their members to choose when and how they die, or even assist them to die, if that is what they wish?
- Participants include such eminent figures as Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of St Christopher’s Hospice, scientist Professor Lewis Wolpert, clinician Sir Cyril Chantler, designer Helen Storey and theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller.
The Art Of Dying is jointly convened by Professor Barry Ife (Vice-Principal, King’s College London), Professor Irene Higginson (Professor of Palliative Care and Policy, School of Medicine), and Professor Brian Hurwitz (D’Oyly Carte Professor of Medicine and the Arts, School of Humanities).
The full Art Of Dying programme is included in its accompanying leaflet. Or, for further details, see The Art of Dying webpages
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 12,400 undergraduate students and over 4,700 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of over £300 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of £87 million (2000-2001).
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