"Once certain stories get embedded into the culture, they become master narratives - blueprints for people to follow when structuring their own stories, for better or worse."
What are our “blueprints” for dying? Where do these stories come from and how do they inform the care we seek and receive? What stories complicate our “master narratives,” and what can we learn from those stories? Inhale/Exhale explores these and other questions about our end-of-life care in the South Puget Sound through a multidisciplinary community stories project. Our goal is to amplify the practices, structures, and rituals we need to have safe, supported, and empowered care at the end of our lives. Through the project we hope to share powerful stories and ideas, illuminate systemic problems, and ask what is possible for end-of-life care in the South Sound community.
The Stories + Ideas We'll Gather + How We'll Share Them
Our project will cover a variety of topics - from green burial and DIY funerals to the role of death doulas and music in our end of life care. We'll share the stories at our November launch event:
A Confluence of Ideas and Stories about Death and Dying
November 15 - 16
The Lord Mansion in Olympia, WA
The weekend will include an exhibit, films, workshops, speakers, playback theater, live storytelling, conversations and more! Together, we will consider our own stories around death, access new ideas and resources, and listen to stories in a variety of formats. Following our project launch, we'll continue to share stories through a podcast and host ongoing events so we can continue the conversation so we can create new blueprints, for ourselves and our community.
We are guided by a commitment to continually refine our practice, to listen deeply, and to find relevant, innovative, and evocative ways to share stories. We aspire to gather and share nuanced, layered stories with artistic and ethical integrity. We are grounded in a story gathering and story sharing practice that:
- Shares skills to help others to tell their own stories
- Asks with respectful curiosity and listens to understand
- Acknowledges our inherent subjectivity while practicing neutrality
- Owns our power as sharers of others' stories and produces stories with ethical and artistic integrity
- Recognizes the vulnerability of sharing stories and cultivates agency, safety and trust
We consider ourselves stewards of other peoples’ stories and we never share a story without the person’s feedback and consent. Furthermore, we believe that the story sharer owns the story and can ask to withdraw from the project anytime.
Project Advisors and Collaborators
Our project is designed and carried out by a collaborative of healthcare practitioners and artists. Our network includes:
- Jessica Babcock, Window Seat Media
- Marissa Bolaños, Womb Revolution
- Jessica Caldwell, Northwest Home Funerals & Green Burial Education
- Debe Edden, Heartparkle Players
- Megan Felling, Around the Circle Midwifery
- Elizabeth Lord, Story Oly
- Sophia McLain, Writer
- Meg O'Leary, Winnow
- Lucien Spect, Dancer/Writer
- Eliana Stockwell-Ferber, No One Dies Alone
- Elaine Vradenburgh, Window Seat Media
- Angie Ward, National Home Funeral Alliance
- Angie Warner-Rein, RN
Like us on Facebook or sign-up for our newsletter to stay in the loop. To share your story or assist with the project, contact Project Curator, Elaine Vradenburgh, at firstname.lastname@example.org.