A little History
In 2010 Jon Underwood decided to develop a series of projects about death one of which was to focus on talking about death. In November Jon read about the work of Bernard Crettaz in the Independent newspaper. Inspired by Bernard’s work, Jon immediately decided to use a similar model for his own project, and Death Cafe was born. Jon died suddenly on 27 June 2017.
The first Death Cafe in the UK was offered in Jon’s house in Hackney, East London in September 2011. It was facilitated by psychotherapist Sue Barsky Reid, Jon’s mum. It was a wonderful occasion. We went on to offer Death Cafes in various places including funky cafes, people’s houses, cemeteries, a yurt, and the Royal Festival Hall.
Jon and Sue Barsky Reid produced a guide to running your own Death Cafe, based on the methodology Sue developed. This was published in Feb. 2012 and the first person to pick it up outside of the UK was Lizzy Miles in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently, hundreds of people have provided Death Cafes in over 85 countries since 2011.