Today I started a new role as writer-in-residence at the Coffin Works museum in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. This residency will allow me to research the nature of death rituals, particularly for those without a secure religious identity. I am really lucky to be able to work in an office in the shroud room (pictured).
I am excited to be working alongside museum manager Sarah Hayes, whose brilliant research on the history of coffins (and this picture of early embalming from the Civil War) can be found here, and Josie Wall, operations and volunteer assistant, and PhD researcher on the history of cemeteries and Victorian funeral practices.
I am using this residency to research and write on death rituals, and to analyse the long history of aestheticising young, female, corpses in literature, art, and cinema. I will also use this residency to run object-focussed writing workshops, rituals, and a Death Cafe. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with BrumYODO and A Matter of Life and Death Festival. I will also use this residency to reflect on my own initial death doula training.
I’m really happy to have a home here in the shroud room at Coffin Works, and I’m really looking forward to developing this project.