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Beyond belief: talking to the dead

Are paranormal experiences real? Can being 'spiritual' help with the way you feel about death, dying and grief? This film interactive delves into spiritual healing and your views on life after death.



Should everyone have an 'end-of-life' plan?

Not everyone feels comfortable talking about it, but thinking about what kind of death you want could have many benefits. Watch this short film made with BBC Ideas featuring Dr Erica Borgstrom whose research focuses on advance care planning.



Supporting colleagues affected by bereavement during Covid-19

Read this short article about supporting our colleagues to return to work and thrive following loss in relation to COIVD-19.



Life or Death Decisions Interactive

Ever heard of advance care planning? Setting out what you’d want to happen to you if you became too unwell to make your own decisions doesn’t have to be morbid but can be incredibly helpful and give you peace of mind. Find out more in this interactive video simulation.



Open Thanatology Seminar Series

From 2020, we have held online seminars to share our ongoing research and education interests. Seminars have included topics such as organ donation, nurses’ experiences of caring for the dead, and sexuality in young people with life-limiting conditions. Video recordings and/or slides from these seminars are freely accessible.




Death around the world

In this short cartoon. Dr Erica Borgstrom from the school of Health, Wellbeing and Social care explores some of the different customs and traditions that people throughout the world perform in relation to the end of life.


At a loss

Open University researchers have developed an iTunes audio 'At a loss' providing accounts from women and parents on stillbirth and neonatal death. Individuals talk about their decisions on the role of post-mortem and the views of mortuary staff and their role in bereavement support are incorporated.

At a loss - iTunes podcast


Death & Dying Seminar Series

This monthly seminar series showcased a different theme on death and dying across the life-course by engaging leading academics and professionals. The series culminated in culminated in a conference attended by over 50 delegates.


A Time to Live

This was a BBC/OU collaboration documenting the experiences of people living with a terminal diagnosis. It was watched by 1.5 million people with an additional 250,000 iPlayer views. The academic consultant on the programme was Kerry Jones.

See the article on

A Time to Live article


The Big C and Me

Jan Draper and Mathijs Lucassen worked with as academic advisors to an OU/BBC collaboration called The Big C and Me. This was a series, filmed over a year, that followed the lives of nine people suffering from cancer from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

Jan and Mathijs also describe what it is like to work as academic advisors on OU/BBC collaborations such as this one.



An introduction to death, dying and grief

Explore interesting and challenging ideas around death, dying and grief. This free course, An introduction to death, dying and grief, invites you to think more deeply about death and dying and encourages you to think about it in different ways. This course will introduce you to different perspectives on death; ethical issues related to dying and end-of-life care; as well as expressions of grief. Please note that this course includes video about people talking personally about their experiences in relation to death and dying. If you have been affected by the issues in these videos, there are resources included in the course for further information and support.

'Living with Death and Dying'

This free course, Living with death and dying, explores how knowledge of and beliefs about death and encounters with death affect people's lives. It will also examine the concept of a 'good death' from an individual perspective in order to enhance the quality of dying.