The idea of the Death Café comes from the work of Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz, who saw the concept as part of a set of projects about death called Impermanence. Founder Jon Underwood, in the UK, read about Crettaz's work in a newspaper article and in November 2010, opened the first known Death Café.
We adopt the European "salon" model of Death Café: free-flowingconversation around the topic of death from-any-angle. Openness is the only pre-requisite. Our chosen professions - Audrey in grief recovery and Nancy in the prescriptive arts - makes us especially sensitive to the two biggest things that negatively impact health and wellness:
repressed emotional statements about loss and regrets and
doubts about one's coping strategies and belief systems.
As NYC's pilot Death Café,we attract a wonderfully curious bunch of both listeners and storytellers - ranging from death doulas and Reiki masters, anthropologists and Jungian analysts to filmmakers, professors and chaplains, retired cops, and social workers.
What distinguishes our Death Café?
We're a non-for-profit;
We meet in an accessible and respectful space, free of discrimination, where people can express their views safely;
Free of facilitators, guest speakers or talent shows;
With no intention of leading participants towards any particular conclusion, product, belief system, or course of action;
Drawing together individuals of every kind of spiritual/ philosophical/ religious/intellectual beliefs, pursuits or questions
Encouraging members to support one another and continue their conversations outside Death Café