Moth Talks: In the face of death

Moth Talks were hosted by the School of Communication Design at Falmouth University on Friday 8th Jan. Moth is a research group established by Ashley Rudolph and Nikki Salkeld, Senior Lecturers in Graphic Design at Falmouth University. The work explores, through the discipline of Graphic Design, visual language associated with death and end-of-life experiences – creating visual ‘toolkits’ (analogue and digital) as devices for change in: attitudes, conventions and context surrounding death issues.





The talks also incorporated an exhibition and launch of the publication for the current Moth Project In the face of death. This was a collaborative project between Falmouth University and Augsburg University of Applied Sciences working with Prof Stefan Bufler MA(RCA) and Prof Michael Wörgötter along with communication students from both institutions. The students were asked to design a graphic system of symbols, creating meaningful and applied visual language to print, artefacts, digital and social media platforms. It focused on ideas and beliefs at the end of life, (the moment at which we die) and the consequences of that.




The show continues until the end of Jan 2016

The Moth talks brought together, writers, philosophers, diplomats, sociologists, innovators designers, artists, teachers and historians: Ashley Rudolph , Nikki Salkeld, Dr Stephen Cave, Prof. Tony Walter, Joe Macleod, Lucy Willow and Mercedes Kemp.



Dr Stephen Cave who is a writer and philosopher, has written essays, features and reviews on many philosophical, ethical and scientific subjects.

His internationally acclaimed first book, *Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, was published in English and other languages in spring 2012.



Prof. Tony Walter. Facing Death, Facing Loss. Vernacular symbols of loss in a post-Protestant society.

Protestantism has profoundly shaped western European cultures of mourning. Banned from caring for their dead, Protestants could (officially) only remember the dead. In reaction, grief’s emotions came to be creatively expressed in vernacular symbols: nature, the romantic, the gothic, candles, music and angels.

Tony Walter is the world’s only Professor of Death Studies. He was a freelance writer for many years, before becoming Lecturer, then Reader, in Sociology at the University of Reading 1994-2007.

Over the past twenty five years he has researched, written and lectured on death in modern society, e.g. funerals, afterlife beliefs, personal bereavement and public mourning, human remains in museums, new discourses of spirituality, death in the news media and in online social media.

He joined the University of Bath in 2006. From 2011-15, he was Director of the University’s Centre for Death & Society. Now an Honorary Professor, he continues to work with CDAS, gives presentations around the world and is writing three books that bring together his past 25 years’ work.



Joe Macleod. Closure Experiences

We are now encouraged to drunkenly stumble from purchase to purchase, with any sense of longevity and responsibility removed. Long term side effects of this are exampled in the Product, Service and Digital landscapes that we frequent. The consequences of our behaviour results in a changing climate, industries fined billions for mis-selling and individuals casually eroding their personal online reputations.

Joe Macleod has been working in the mobile design space since 1998 and has been involved in a pretty diverse range of projects. At Nokia he helped develop some of the most streamlined packaging in the world, he created a hack team to disrupt the corporate drone of powerpoint, produced mobile services for pregnant women in Africa and pioneered lighting behaviour for millions of phones. For the last four years he has been key to establishing ustwo as the UKs best digital product studio, with 180 people globally in London, New York and Sweden, while also successfully building education initiatives, curriculums and courses on the back of the Include Design campaign which launched in 2013. He now works independently on projects and is currently focusing on his work around Closure Experiences.


Lucy Willow & Mercedes Kemp. Senior Lecturers in BA(Hons) Fine Art. The Falmouth School of Art. Café Morte.

Lost for Words is a culmination of the work of Café Morte to engage in and encourage discussion around the subject of death with a wider community of artists, curators and healthcare professionals. It has been curated with the intention of creating a thoughtful and contemplative space for both artists and audience to reflect on their own personal interpretations on death and how it is represented in art and literature. The works are varied, expressed through a variety of different media and address through physical means the often, unthinkable concept of absence and loss.




[Photography By Beki Nash]


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