Death Writes Team Wins Royal Society of Edinburgh Grant

Dr Elizabeth Reeder, Dr Naomi Richards and Dr Amy Shea of the University of Glasgow have been awarded a Research Network Grant (2022-24) by the prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh to continue their work on Death Writes/ Reading & Writing Death & Dying.

The grant is called COVID as Catalyst for Writing and Discussing Death, Dying and Grief through Objects, Diaries and Collective Archives. The aim of the Network is to develop and support a network of 30 Scotland-based writers from across disciplines and genres to write and publish powerful, accessible work that will broaden and diversify understandings and conversations about death, dying and grief. The Network will run from 17 January 2022 – 16 January 2024.

With the understanding that the pandemic has made mortality and inequalities around mental and physical health, death, and dying more visible, we will use this time as an opportune moment from which to create accessible writing that will reflect not just on the effects of the pandemic but also facilitate better understandings of illness, dying and bereavement in the variety of complex contexts we finds ourselves in.

The Network will act as a catalyst for its members/writers to undertake and complete writing projects, exploring how familiar objects, diaries and collective records (living archives) might aid them. Outcomes will include individual book manuscripts, an anthology of shorter work and a collective, living archive website. 

This will be a practice-based network of expert-peers who are all researching and writing into illness, dying, death, inequalities and bereavement. We will actively work to support the production of writing that will directly benefit those who read it, with the aim to foster thinking and acting into connection, community activism, repair and change.

Dr Naomi Richards writes:

"A primary aim of the DeathWrites Network Project is to diversify explorations of death, dying, and grief and to be accessible to and representative of a wide range of voices and experiences. We aim to decentre whiteness and decolonise our creative and critical outputs to foster values of equity, diversity, and intersectional inclusivity in our call for participants and in the ways we run our project. The work produced from the two-year project will serve as resources for other individuals, communities and writers to expand thinking, understandings and activism around death, dying and bereavement.

As part of the Network grant, we will hold:

  • Two Expanding the Field Symposia in March 2022 and Oct 2022
  • Nine Writing Workshops April 2022-Sept 2023
  • Final Symposium/Exhibition Oct 2023

As a team we are phenomenally excited about the potential of the Network acting as a catalyst and as a support for writers all over Scotland who are already working on, or considering working on, these themes. We will be putting out a call out in January 2022 for Scotland-based writers to apply to become a part of this Network. Please follow us on Twitter @DeathWrites1 or keep an eye out for a follow-up blog announcing the call in January. We will also be circulating the call through many and varied channels around Scotland."


First published: 14 December 2021