november, 2021

02nov12:0012:30V Ashall: A dog, a vet and multispecies meanings of a good death12:00 - 12:30 Studio 1Event type:PresentationTopic:Other-than-human


(Tuesday) 12:00 - 12:30


Studio 1

Event Details

Vanessa Ashall: A dog, a vet and multispecies meanings of a good death

A dog, a vet and multispecies meanings of a good death. Our interspecies team creates an opportunity for attendees to explore what happens when we think about a good life and a good death alongside a companion animal. Vanessa Ashall is a qualified veterinary surgeon and interdisciplinary health researcher from the University of York, Quinn is a 3 year old German Wirehaired Pointer and Bentley Crudgington is a creative facilitator from the University of Manchester. Together, they invite you to explore with them: • How might the physical experience of walking with a young dog help situate our explorations of a good life? • Does the meaning of a good death change when discussing end of life care provision in the veterinary clinic? • What happens when we physically include a non-human in our formal and informal engagements with dying? The team will offer an immersive experience which physically engages attendees with an interspecies perspective on life and death. First, we invite attendees to join us for an early morning walk where Quinn will encourage us to think beyond only human understandings of a good life. Next, in a more formal discursive session, Dr Ashall will share lived experiences of life and death decision making in the laboratory and the veterinary clinic. Session attendees will be encouraged to use post human thinking (Haraway 2016) to explore the changing landscape of veterinary end of life care and to map connections and divisions (Latimer, 2014) between human and non-human animal experiences of a good death. Finally, throughout the conference, we will ‘follow the non-human’ (Friese and Nuyts 2017) from formal lectures to conversations over drinks. Dr Crudgington will capture in creative media the results of a physical or new material (Fox and Aldred 2017) approach to engaging with more-than-human understandings of life and death. Dr Ashall leads a pioneering interspecies and interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, which examines the meaning of a good death from within contemporary multispecies families. This proposal will share and enrich post human theoretical approaches to exploring the changing landscapes of veterinary and medical end of life care through creative participatory methodologies. Through including Quinn as a member of our research team, we develop the notion of speculative research, which demands new habits and practices of attention, invention, and experimentation (Wilkie et al 2017). Our aim is to explore the potential role of human-non-human animal interaction in coproducing knowledge, research dissemination and public engagement with clinical concepts of a good life and a good death.

Speakers for this event

  • Vanessa Ashall

    Vanessa Ashall

    I am an interdisciplinary health researcher and qualified veterinary surgeon. I am interested in the meaning and significance of human-animal relationships in the context of health and medicine. I am a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and a European Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law. I have 15 years of clinical experience working as a veterinary surgeon in the clinic and in the laboratory. My Masters degree in medical ethics and law developed into an interest in the concept of of comparative medical ethics and I was awarded a Clinical Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust in 2014 to research the social and ethical implications of using companion animals as living donors of blood and tissue for veterinary use. I have published on the ethics and regulation of animal research, veterinary involvement in animal research, informed consent and sociological and ethical aspects of human and animal blood donation. I have influenced policy and practice within the UK and EU through the provision of expert opinion and the development of ethical decision making tools. My current project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, uses the sociological concept of interspecies entanglement to explore end of life care from an innovative interspecies and interdisciplinary perspective.



    • Day 1
    • 31/10/2021
    • 16.00 Opening day events16.00 - 21.00Opening day events including keynotesSpeakers: Bayo Akomolafe, Beatrice Allegranti