SFA’s End of Life: Continuum (EOL) project shares cultural knowledge about traditions, expressions, and practices associated with end of life, grief, mourning and death in Southern Arizona’s folk, ethnic, occupational, faith-based and alternative communities.
End-of-Life Audio Stories
End-of-life (EOL) care is tender and important work, but end-of-life caregivers often go unseen and unheard. We’re working with Tucson Medical Center’s Palliative Care Department to gather stories from nurses and caregivers at end of life. Stories will be added to a community archive (in progress).
The Lives of End-of-Life Caregivers
In 2020-2021, we worked with a cohort five ethnographers to document the lives of five end-of-life caregivers in Southern Arizona. Their research aims to amplify stories and methods of end-of-life caregivers in order to demystify their work, share best cultural practices, reduce stigma, and connect audiences to end-of-life care planning options. Ethnographic findings are shared here and in a special end-of-life exhibit at the Arizona State Museum.
Walking Each Other Home: Cultural Practices at End of Life
This 2022-2023 exhibit at the Arizona State Museum shared stories and traditions that were documented as part of our End of Life: Continuum project supported by the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership with funds from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation. Download the Walking Each Other Home booklet featuring some of the exhibit material here (for print) and here (for online viewing).
Walking Each Other Home Virtual Panel Series
A series of virtual panel discussions took place in early 2023 and the recordings can be viewed online here. The series was supported by AZ Humanities and AZ EOLCP and included the following discussions:
- Cultural Considerations at End of Life (Jan. 31, 2023): Dr. Maribel Alvarez, Jim Griffith Chair in Public Folklore at the University of Arizona, moderated a discussion with panelists Lynn Hourani, Muslim Community Alliance and Dr. Zhao Chen, UA College of Public Health, who responded to short ethnographic videos that document Muslim, Chinese, Jewish, and LGBTQI cultural expressions at the end of life.
- End-of-Life Caregiving/Homecare & Hospice vs Palliative Care: Folklorist Kimi Eisele moderated a discussion with panelists Dr. Kimberly Shea, UA College of Nursing; Amalia Mora, SFA project ethnographer; Deborah Young, home caregiver, who shared stories about the occupational folklife of home caregivers and demystified the differences between hospice and palliative care.
- Planning for Death: A discussion between Sarah Ascher, AZEOLCP, and Carla Sutter, AZ Healthcare Directives Registry, walking viewers through the process of completing advance care directives, discuss end of life care work and policy in AZ and reflect on the many ways AZEOLCP is “fundamentally changing the way we talk about and plan for death.” Understanding one’s cultural and family values is imperative when reflecting and thinking about what one might want in an advance care directive and how to discuss these desires with family members and the medical caregivers.
End-of-Life Cultural Practices in Southern Arizona: Gatherings & Videos
In 2019, as part of our Continuum: End of Life program, SFA facilitated a series of community gatherings, which were guided by local hosts and included a meal, conversation, and education about end-of-life practices, rituals, and traditions. While these gatherings were private, these videos offer a mini-ethnography of several key community members to illuminate some of the practices and traditions shared. Films and gatherings made possible with support from the Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and The David and Lura Lovell Foundation.
A Unifying Force: End-of-Life Practices in Tucson’s Jewish Community
After Dinner, Walk 100 Steps: Practices for Health and Longevity in Tucson’s Chinese Community
Let them Grieve: End-of-Life Practices in Tucson’s LGBTQI Community
Death Is a Door We All Walk Through: End-of-Life Practices in Tucson’s Muslim Community
View all the videos here.
The Southwest Folklife Alliance is a partner in the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership, a growing network of organizations and individuals committed to ensuring quality of life at every stage through education, support, sound policy and choices.
Since 2014, the EOL project has developed materials documenting local traditions associated with death and dying, including interviews, photos, citizen reports, and a list of national and community resources.
Finding Refuge: The Comforts of Culture in Grief, Trauma, Death and End of Life for Refugees resettled in Southern Arizona. (June 2018)
International Border: End-of-Life in Tucson’s Mexican Immigrant Communities(May 2018)
Cruzando Fronteras: Enfoques sobre el final de la vida en la comunidad inmigrantes mexicanos en Tucson (May 2018)
Arriving in the Light: End-of-Life in Southern Arizona’s Muslim Communities (February 2018)
Folklife Well Seasoned: End-of-Life Approaches & Traditions of Elders Living Alone (Oct. 2017)
Continuum End of Life Booklets (4), May 2016
Continuum Journal, May 2015
Continuum Resources Listing and Workbook, May 2015