Borrowed Time: on death, dying & change

Borrowed Time:

on death, dying & change


Dates TBA

April 3 update

After much discussion we have decided to postpone Borrowed Time
until November 2021.

We’re exploring a number of possible actions and activities to lead us up to November 2021 including the potential for an online film exhibition and a publication and online formal and less formal conversations, some of which may be locally organised.

Please read further details

@artdotearth | #borrowed-time

What constitutes ‘a good death’? How do we know death, personally? What room do we make for the dead – within our relationships, our ways of speaking, our shared geographies? And how might the insights of end-of-life care and death practices help us to navigate the fundamental unsustainability of the dominant culture, and to better imagine what comes after it?

Over three days on the Dartington Hall estate in England’s southwestern corner, we’ll open a space to explore these and other questions pertaining to death, dying and change, and to ask what dying has to teach us about living well, and living sustainably. 

While many experience death as sudden or violent, dying more often comes to us gradually. That there is a deep resource of hope, wisdom and resilience to be found in confronting and preparing for death’s arrival is something long understood, across all cultures. What, then, might such preparation entail in the context of anthropogenic mass-extinction? 

One way or another, this greater dying now presses upon us – whether we are experiencing ecological loss and displacement first-hand or negotiating the uneasy, grief-laden sense of borrowed time that has become an insistent background noise for many. How might those whose lives are as yet relatively sheltered by structural or geographic privilege learn to listen better to the obscure, too-big-to-hear keening of biological annihilation? Might art and shared testimony prove better equipped to hold and integrate such unimaginable loss than the spreadsheet, the relentless graph? 

In the face of these dilemmas we’ll gather to re-align our time here together by turning to meet death – through story and song, personal witness and critical discussion, feasting and silence. Whilst we welcome academic papers and expect focussed panels to form a valued element of this gathering, we’re also specifically inviting people to bring other and perhaps less tried-and-tested ways of speaking to death, dying and change. These might include experiments with embodied knowing, deep listening, or movement. Proposals of performative and other artwork are invited, as are ideas for ritual and ceremony. Workshops whose durations may run an hour, half a day, or even all night are most welcome, as well as equivalent opportunities for smaller group work that allow for a more intimate sharing of experience.

We invite you to a creative summit where an end-of-life carer may find themselves sharing a conversation with a poet, a dancer and a climate scientist, and where the nature of our theme may steer such conversations towards the urgency, honesty and radical hospitality called for by a time of accelerating change.



Keynote performance: Paul Michael Henry
Keynote 2 speaker Caroline Hickman (University of Bath)
Keynote 3 speaker Dr Rachel Clarke (Your Life in My Hands, Dear Life)

Academic Partner

Falmouth University




[Bee image: Sarah Gillespie End of the Summer (detail) mezzotint engraving]




most recent  [read all news and information]

A postponement and a re-think

A postponement and a re-think

We’ve decided after much discussion to postpone Borrowed Time until November 2021. It’s becoming clearer every day that the measures ... Read More
Thank you!

Thank you!

Dear all, thank you so much if you have sent in a proposal. We very much appreciate the time and ... Read More
If I Die Sooner Rather Than Later

If I Die Sooner Rather Than Later

Poet/writer/performer Em Strang has set up a new Facebook public group, If I Die Sooner Rather Than Later. It is ... Read More
Keynote event: Dr Rachel Clarke

Keynote event: Dr Rachel Clarke

Keynote Presentation - Dr Rachel Clarke Dr Rachel Clarke is a palliative care specialist within the NHS and is a ... Read More
Keynote event: Caroline Hickman

Keynote event: Caroline Hickman

Keynote Presentation - Caroline Hickman Caroline Hickman is a psychotherapist who teaches at the University of Bath and is a member of the ... Read More
Call for proposals

Call for proposals

We've released the Call for Proposals for Borrowed Time. Please make sure you read all the details before submitting. This ... Read More
Keynote event: Paul Michael Henry

Keynote event: Paul Michael Henry

Keynote Performance - Paul Michael Henry Paul Michael Henry is a Scottish performance artist, dancer and musician. His work is ... Read More


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