People in Kirklees invited to discuss attitudes to death

The attitudes of people in Kirklees towards death are to be investigated in a wide-ranging research partnership involving Kirklees Libraries after they were part of a consortium that won a £50,000 grant from the highly competitive Engaging Libraries Programme.

How will the project engage the public?

Kirklees Libraries will work with libraries in Newcastle in the North East and Redbridge in London to investigate if people’s attitudes to death change depending on where they live, their cultural backgrounds or both, building on a successful project on the same topic run by Redbridge Libraries. The project will engage the public through interactive installations, death cafés, panel debates and workshops in local hospices.

Who runs the Engaging Libraries programme?

Almost half of all UK library services applied to the Engaging Libraries programme, which is run by The Carnegie UK Trust, Wellcome and the Wolfson Foundation. It brings vital research projects at universities into the heart of local communities, using libraries to encourage and share learning.

Kirklees Chief Librarian and Libraries Connected President Elect Carol Stump said:

“Having followed the earlier incarnation of the Engaging Libraries programme with interest, we are thrilled to have successfully partnered with one of the great successes from that first phase to explore the difficult themes of death and dying through the safe and trusted space of the public library.

The broadening of scope from the first project, both in terms of widening the geography and the activities, as well as working with our additional local partner Kirkwood Hospice, should provide some significant learning for the wider public library sector, and I’m delighted to support it both in Kirklees and across the wider Libraries Connected network.”

Sarah Davidson, CEO of the Carnegie UK Trust said:

“Engaging Libraries is all about giving people the opportunity to access, use and respond to research. Libraries have a unique position as trusted, safe spaces at the heart of our communities, and this programme is designed to help people explore new ideas and even play a role in influencing research.

“The process will also give university researchers a great opportunity to make connections between their ideas, research findings and the knowledge and experiences of local communities. We are really looking forward to working with all the winning projects.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture & Society, Wellcome said:

“We are delighted to be supporting a second phase of Engaging Libraries with the Wolfson Foundation and Carnegie UK Trust.  We saw a strong demand from the library sector in how they could connect together people’s ideas and interests to research, we hope that this helps stimulate new partnerships and ideas and changes the way libraries can develop their social innovation role.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said:

“We are delighted to be working in such fruitful partnership with Carnegie and Wellcome. These are important and intriguing projects, with a wonderful regional spread and tackling some complex, challenging, crucial issues for society. We also hope that these projects will act as exemplars for how public libraries and research institutions can work together.”

When will the projects be developed?

The 14 projects selected to be part of Engaging Libraries will undertake a development period of up to 6 months, supported by the Engaging Libraries team and a bespoke programme of events and workshops to further develop and refine their project ideas before launching their activities.

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