Richard Holloway 'In Conversation’ with QMU on death, dying, grief and loss
Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, was delighted to welcome Richard Holloway FRSE (Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) on Wednesday 25 September for an 'In Conversation' event on death, dying, grief and loss. The aim of the afternoon’s discussion was to create a conversational space for staff and students to share, reflect upon and talk openly about the shared human reality of death.
Born in Glasgow and raised in nearby Dunbartonshire, Richard left home at the age of 14 to be educated and trained for the priesthood at an English monastery. By the age of 25, he was ordained and back in Glasgow, working in some of the city's most deprived areas, before eventually rising to the upper echelons of the Anglican Church. He is also a writer and broadcaster and has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, Sunday Herald and The Scotsman, in addition to hosting shows on BBC Scotland and Radio 4.
Over 80 attendees from QMU's student and staff community came along to engage with the celebrated author and former Bishop of Edinburgh, who spoke with great warmth and humour. Richard shared memories, anecdotes, and passages from his previous books - as well as selected excerpts from philosophy and poetry. The floor was then opened for the audience and event moderators (Kristina Mountain and Dr Erna Haraldsdottir from QMU's Nursing division, and Dr Michelle Elliot from the division of Occupational Therapy) to continue the conversation.
During the event - personal experiences, reflections on emotionality in professional contexts, challenges facing staff and receivers of health care services, and a collective appreciation for the opportunity to share and to listen - were all conveyed. Richard Holloway reflected afterwards that he "enjoyed the session and was impressed by the participants and the quality of the discussion”.
"The panel, as a whole, stimulated a fascinating discussion and space to think about our attitudes, beliefs and responses to death, dying and palliative care," said one attendee. "It was valuable to have people present from across different disciplines. Richard was so inspiring to listen to and very thoughtful and present. It made for a truly special experience."
Another said: "[The event was] entertaining, relevant and very human. I enjoyed the concept of a conversation rather than labelling it a 'talk' or 'lecture'. It worked well, and people felt able to speak up. The talk was also transferable across all aspects of health and well-being."
Notes to Editor
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