Invitation to a summer postgraduate workshop on witnessing at the end of life

Published on: Author: Solveiga Zibaite Leave a comment
Solveiga Zibaite

I’m delighted to announce that we are hosting a free postgraduate student workshop on Witnessing at the End of Life, which will take place on the 11th and 12th of June 2018.

This two day workshop is designed for postgraduate students by postgraduate students. My fellow PhD student Jacqueline Kandsberger and I are organising the event which will take place at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies on the University of Glasgow’s campus in Dumfries, Scotland.

The workshop theme is centred around one of Dame Cicely Saunders’ most enduring concepts and ethos of the modern hospice movement – the act of being present, of witnessing, at the end of life. Held in recognition of Saunders’ centenary anniversary the workshop will engage with questions such as:

  • What does it mean to “witness” at the end of life?
  • How can we represent experiences and knowledges that emerge from witnessing at the end of life?
  • What are the political, ethical, and experiential implications for work that includes witnessing the end of life?

There will be no audience, and no use of Powerpoint. Instead of formal presentations, we will offer a place for giving and receiving feedback on your work-in-progress from a diverse group of peers. You could introduce a problem you might have encountered, an ethical dilemma that needs solving, or an exciting concept that needs developing related to witnessing at the end of life.

We are inviting graduate students from across the spectrum of disciplines, including but not limited to the arts, humanities, social sciences, theology, medicine, nursing and allied health, engineering, veterinary, and environmental sciences.

Our goal is to encourage collaboration among disciplines and to reveal (and forge) unexpected linkages in end of life studies. We particularly encourage those who wish to take risks in developing their ideas across traditional empirical, methodological, and theoretical boundaries in academia.

Jackie and I warmly invite you to this challenging and rewarding workshop retreat in our beautiful campus situated in the famous Dumfries and Galloway countryside.

The Witnessing at the End of Life – postgraduate workshop call, with further information, can be found on Eventbrite.

I’m delighted to make this announcement in my first blog post since joining the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group as a PhD candidate in October 2017. I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a new PhD researcher and one of your workshop hosts. I am an anthropologist from Lithuania. My current research is a comparative study on the Death Café movement in the United Kingdom and Lithuania, a companion to Dr. Naomi Richards’ larger research project on Death Cafes, which is supported by Professor David Clarks’ Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. My previous research was on conventions and ethics of online mourning and I hold an MA in Social Anthropology (University of Edinburgh, 2015) and a MSc in Cultural and Social Anthropology (University of Amsterdam, 2017). I am also an author, with my debut novel to be published in Lithuania in late 2018.

I have been overjoyed by the warm welcome to the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group and I am tremendously excited about spending the next three years working alongside these outstanding academics. Being part of a small group means that I am able to take up opportunities and responsibilities, otherwise rarely available to new PhD student and I am beyond thrilled to welcome you to the workshop in June.

In the meantime, as I become more established in my new role, I plan to blog regularly about my work here. My non-academic work can be found on my personal website, where you can read about my creative writing and other ideas in development. If you’re interested in my work I’d love to hear from you, so do contact me at






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