Join us for a fast-paced, interdisciplinary fueled two days of learning, sharing and connection as we engage with one another, across disciplines, practices and professions to transform the end of life into a person-centered experience.

This inclusive interdisciplinary conference explores dying and death and the ways culture impacts care for the dying, the overall experience of dying, and how the dead are remembered. Culture not only presents and portrays ideas about “a good death” and norms that seek to achieve it, culture also operates as both a vehicle and medium through which meaning about death is communicated and understood. Sadly, too, culture sometimes facilitates death through violence.

Given the location of this year’s conference, a central theme in our proceedings (augmenting those listed below) will involve tracing on-going and profound shifts in contemporary attitudes toward death. Hospices or almshouses (in Dutch: Godshuizen) are charitable housing that were usually built for needy or elderly people. The initiative often came from crafts organisations or rich individuals ordered their establishment. In Bruges these houses already start to appear in the 14th century. Generally they consist of groups of small, soberly furnished houses that are gathered around an inner courtyard. The houses are usually not more than one story high. Luckily some 40 of those complexes still survive in Bruges today.  Most of them still serve a social purpose (as housing for elderly, poor, disabled people,…). Our conference explores these connections, and those between contemporary technologies, social media hubs, and current health care delivery systems that impact current end-of-life issues and decisions, including the experience of bereavement and grief, and particularly how patients, staff, and survivors intersect amidst newly emerging care settings.

We welcome submissions that engage medical, therapeutic, cinematic, historical, ethnographic, ethical, literary, anthropological, philosophical, theological, political, artistic or performance oriented approaches to relationships between death, dying and culture, such as:

  • How might health care systems integrate empathic design principles across the entire spectrum of the end of life experience? How might new technologies offer new propositions for models of care?
  • How might we implement best practices in high-quality, patient-centered care?
  • How do options such as Physician Aid in Dying (sometimes called Physician Assisted Dying) factor into contemporary dying trajectories, and how best might we consider the quality vs. quantity balance?
  • How might cultural, spiritual and traditional belief systems and practices more fully empower our relationship with mortality, both in personal and professional settings?
  • How are cultural attitudes toward death and dying currently depicted across various artistic and media platforms?

We welcome all those who struggle and strive to address questions such as these, and those that seek to analyze, re-imagine and/or improve the end of life experience. Augmenting our rich conversations, our ethos aspires to create essential partnerships that can drive local visions for patient-centered, high-quality care that can help transform the end of life experience in differing geographic environments. To that end, we invite collaboration with organizations and individuals ready to change the conversation about living and dying with a view to forming a publication to engender further collaboration and discussion.

Progressive Connexions also invites papers from caregivers, artists, therapists, theologians, thought leaders, stake holders, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, designers, patients, activists, journalists, policy makers, developers, technologists, and academics from across these and other disciplines that respond to or innovatively (re-)frame any of the following additional core conference themes listed below:

1: Health Care Systems: Patients, Staff, and Institutions

  • Modern Health Care Delivery Systems and Care for the Dying
  • Palliative Care
  • Hospice
  • Elder Care/Ageing in Place Models
  • Trauma and Emergency Care
  • Nursing Homes/Skilled Facilities/Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs)/Assisted Living
  • Clinical Competencies in Pain Management and Symptom Control
  • Measurements, Incentives, Regulatory Statutes, and Recommendations
  • Continuity of Care Across Treatment Settings
  • Interdisciplinary Care

2: The Caregiver-Patient Relationship

  • Caregiver’s (Physician’s?) Obligations and Virtues
  • Medical Paternalism and Respect for the Patient, Autonomy
  • Truth-Telling/Truth-Hearing
  • Informed Consent
  • Medicine in Multicultural Societies
  • Contested Therapies Within the Physician-Patient Relationship
  • Conflicts of Interest; Problems of Conscience
  • Caregiver Stress/Caregiver Burnout/Compassion Fatigue
  • Being With Someone Who Is Dying
  • Assessment Challenges/Barriers

3: End-of-Life Issues and Decisions

  • Defining Death
  • Organ Transplantation and Organ Donation
  • The Interplay of Ethical Meta-Principles at the End of Life
  • Nonmaleficence
  • Beneficence
  • Autonomy
  • Death Anxiety
  • Choosing Death
  • Advance Directives/Advance Planning/Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatments (POLST)/Do Not Resuscitate
  • Considering End-of-Life Issues and Decisions and Legislation

4: Relationships Between Death and Culture

  • Death and the internet
  • Death and social media
  • Death and music
  • Death in literature
  • Death in film
  • Death and broadcast media
  • Death and athletics
  • Death in comic books
  • Death and television
  • Death and radio
  • Death and print media
  • Death and popular art / architecture
  • Death and advertising
  • Death and consumerism

​Our conference is a dynamic convening of design, tech, health care, policy, media, the arts and activist communities committed to generating human-centered, interdisciplinary innovation for the end of life experience.

What to Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, roundtables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 9th November 2018. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 23rd November 2018.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 1st March 2019.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: End of Life 2 Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Dr Nate Hinerman: nphinerman@usfca.edu
Project Administrator: brugesendoflife@progressiveconnexions.net