Picking Up STEAM Podcast

We are seeing a disruption of death. It is normal for people to post on social media at a funeral; you can speak to a chatbot or a physical avatar with the data of a dead loved one; you can curate Spotify playlists to play in coffins. Why? Experts Bjorn Nansen and Tamara Kohn speak with Thomas Feng about the eerie new developments of death in this episode of Picking Up STEAM.

Listen to the episode here.


Dead Calm @ Wheeler Centre

In September, Bjorn Nansen participated in a round table discussion on “Memorials” in the series of talks, Dead Calm: Honest Conversations About Death, hosted by the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. The series aims to “set aside the euphemism, and tackle the taboos head-on” by bringing together diverse voices of scholars, community activists, artists, and writers.

The discussion on memorials was framed as follows:

“We’ve always built memorials to our dead. But how do our memorials and commemorations differ across cultures and how are they changing in the 21st Century? Why do we have different types of memorials for different kinds of death?

In the third part of our Dead Calm series, Hilary Harper will explore the role, relevance and relief offered by memorials after death and disaster. What do official and unofficial commemorations mean and how do they affect the ways we mourn? From public shrines for war veterans to community commemorations for natural disasters to highly personal embodiments of grief – online, on social media, or at roadsides – these markers continue to play a role in how we process grief.”

Listen to the episode here.


Portable Report Launch

Future of Death and Ageing logo

Last week our team member Michael Arnold launched a new report from Portable, entitled The Future of Death and Ageing, at Portable’s headquarters in Collingwood, Victoria. 

Portable is a digital design and technology company, who have recently entered the Death space. Their report starts with a provocative, powerful question about the state of death and dying in contemporary Australia:

We are all end users… so why does it suck so much?

The report continues to introduce 19 key recommendations for individuals, governments and policy makers to address. How might one ‘design your death’ better? 

Download a copy of the report and find out more about their work here.




Your online life after death @ Eavesdrop on Experts

If Facebook continues growing at its current rate, by 2130 the number of dead users will surpass the living.

In fact, the number of the dead on Facebook is already growing fast. By 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died, and that number has only gone up since. These days, it’s not unusual to see memorial pages on social media – but how is the digital world changing our approach to death? From algorithms that can post tweets in our style after we die to bequeathing a digital legacy – Dr Martin Gibbs from the Interaction Design Lab at the School of Computing and Information Systems, alongside Associate Professor Tamara Kohn and graduate researcher Hannah Gould, both from the School of Social and Political Sciences, are exploring the impact of digital disruption on death itself.

Read more and listen here.


Future Hospital: Future Patient

DeathTech member Professor Tamara Kohn participated in a panel on The Future Hospital for Melbourne Knowledge Week.

From the website:

“Are you impatient for a better experience of healthcare? This panel explores the possibility for a new, better patient experience. Using human centred design, these medical innovators will rethink medical services, systems and technology to put you back at the centre of your medical care.”

“This event is part of Future Hospital. Check out the hospital before you check in. Discuss robot pills and medical drones, play doctor in a guided theatre experience, or be part of a live experiment. Tour the Future Hospital to find out what health will look like in a world of virtual reality, 3D printing, remote care, precision medicine, and medical devices inside jewellery.”




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