Design Thinking for Experimental Contemplatives Dinner & Workshop
About Love, Death & Mourning
Manresa Gallery and St. Ignatius Church, University of San Francisco, 2014
Curated by and co-hosted with Joyce Grimm, Manresa Gallery

This Experimental Design Thinking Dinner & Workshop at Manresa Gallery, USF, was co-organized with curator Joyce Grimm. Drawing upon a menu of conversation prompts, select video and audio clips (my own and other’s work), and a workbook, participants built memorial objects for one another. Experimental adaptation of Death Over DinnerDesign Thinking at Stanford’s D. School, and my previous work.

Poetically pragmatic, the objective was to empower seemingly difficult conversations about the unknown into an experience of engagement, empathy, and presence. 

I have the prototype that Frank made. The more I look at it, the more I’m amazed that something so simple could have so much resonance. I’ve been meaning to email him to tell him that.”—Participant

[The Invitation] 

Design Thinking for Experimental Contemplatives Dinner & Workshop
Manresa Gallery

About the Evening…

Interdisciplinary artist and experimental designer Mel Day recently stumbled upon the work of a group of healthcare and wellness leaders who are committed to breaking the taboo regarding conversations about the end of life. They launched the website and interactive adventure, Let’s have Dinner and Talk about Death.

Day has since hosted her own customized version of these dinners and/or workshops at various locations (including an OpenIDEO meet-up, UC Berkeley class, and performance at Root Division, SF). The most recent event will take place at Manresa Gallery on April 25th and you are invited to attend.

For this special dinner event, Day will lead us through a menu of conversation prompts. Through a guided design thinking process, she will usher us in making memorial objects in honor of those no longer with us.

This is not meant to be a morbid experience, but instead a very human one. Over dinner we will raise a generous glass to each other and our loved ones, we will consider what we want, both in life, and during its closure. Poetically pragmatic, the objective is to transform and empower seemingly difficult conversations about the unknown—about absence, ambiguity, and uncertainty—into an experience of generous engagement, radical empathy, and presence. Joined by the artists (Taraneh Hemami, Lynn Marie Kirby, Cara Levine, and Ali Naschke-Messing) of Thresholds of Faith: Four Entries into the Beyond exhibition, we will gather and break bread together inside the resonant space adjoining Manresa Gallery, St. Ignatius. You will leave with a thoughtful-sacred-object-in-the-making and an unusually intimate collaborative experience.

*No previous art or design experience required

*dinner link if you missed it above  

See more images of the event and information about the event here.


This and other events are part of a larger, ongoing Yellow Coat (Instructions for Perpetual Light) Project, in which the Yellow Coat is worn by a growing community of people in honor of those no longer with us.