Death School: what it is and what it isn’t

Telling people about Death School has been helping me to better understand what I’d like Death School to be. It has also shown me how difficult it is to get past the limits of our ideas and vocabulary for death. Some people hear about Death School and think it must be about grief and coping with loss; others think it is an extension of hospice; others think of art therapy. Some people hear about it and try not to give it a second thought.

While Death School is interested in all of these, I’ll call them modalities, for understanding death, Death School is not about any one in particular. Instead, I think of Death School as a place where we can collect and understand all of the ways people in our culture and in other cultures have come up with for understanding death, AND Death School can be a place where people come up with new ways, their own ways, for understanding death.

I deliberately want to leave some ambiguity in Death School’s first event, which I’m currently writing. I’d like there to be a conversation about how our tools and resources for understanding death are limited by the time and place (the context) in which we are living. I’d like to talk about how people go about creating new contexts – for understanding death and also just in general. How do we create a new time, a new place, for new understanding to happen?

That, for now, is what Death School is about.