Guided Meditation Workshop at the SWW DTP Brilliant Bodies Fun Palace Event

In this blog entry, Jacob Lucas, a SWW DTP funded PhD student in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies at the Universities of Exeter and Bristol, discusses his forthcoming workshop at the Brilliant Bodies Fun Palace Event.  Jacob’s guided meditation workshop titled “Imagining Death” will touch on the wider themes of his research project, which investigates the Buddhist belief in rebirth.

Imagining Death: Let’s explore the most mysterious journey you will ever take!

“For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause” (William Shakespeare).

Death is something that will happen to us all but how often do we really take the time to think about it?

More importantly, how often do we take time to think about how it will really affect us?

The idea of death might conjure up morbid images of skeletons and corpses or perhaps just sadness, grief, sickness and funerals.

But these are the ways in which we think about other people’s deaths – what about our own?

At the upcoming Fun Palace Event “Brilliant Bodies” on Saturday 1st of October, my activity will give you the opportunity to go on an inner journey.

We will be using the laboratory of our minds to explore and imagine what it might feel like to die. 

This is a Fun Palace so we won’t be dwelling too much on sickness and decay but will try and imagine death itself.

What will it be like for us when our body is no more? Will we simply disappear? What else might happen? What other possibilities might we experience?

 If you want to explore these questions join me on the 1st October and let’s imagine the greatest journey you’re ever going to take!

Please Note: This journey of guided imagination will not dwell on the physical aspect of death too much but participants may nonetheless find the subject matter disturbing. Younger children and those for whom the subject of death may give rise to intense and difficult emotions should think carefully about taking part.

Mapping Embodied Culture – Elen Caldecott’s Fun Palace Activity

In this blog entry, Elen Caldecott, a SWW DTP funded PhD student studying Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University discusses how her forthcoming Fun Palace activity relates to the wider concerns of her research project.


Who owns the words in your mouth? And what are you allowed to do with them?

I use fiction to find truths. My methodology is to write a story, see how people react to the story, then wonder what words I might change to alter their response. Like the thought experiments used in Philosophy, I try to turn my question into a fictional situation and see how it plays out.

I began my PhD with a technical question – is it possible to use the Welsh language as a basis for a new English. Can the languages be hybridised in some way, like Esperanto, to be almost-recognisable to both language communities, but also alien to both? I was interested, as a creative writer, in knowing what my tools (words) were capable of.

As the project developed I realised that when two communities sit side-by-side and are forced to interact, frictions appear very easily. Especially if there is a power imbalance between the two. In that case, the side who feels the most vulnerable might try to guard the things that matter to them – it might be traditions, style of dress, rituals, songs or language.

In Wales’ case the language has become culturally charged, a repository of identity. The special position of the language is recognised even by Welsh people who don’t speak it. The situation is different in other Celtic nations where other cultural markers came to dominate – music, dance, religion and so on. In hybridising Welsh with the more powerful English, was I performing an act of treachery?

My work now seeks to answer this question. Who owns a culture? How is it embodied? Who guards it and protects it? But also, what happens when you let a culture hybridise, evolve and change? Does the nation evolve with the culture or is it destroyed in the process?

I hope that my Fun Palace activity will demonstrate some of these questions, and hint at some answers.

I will be asking people to look at a map which has patterned cloaks on it – embodied culture, as it were. Then, I’m inviting people to draw inspiration from a cloak which is already on the map and design their own, setting it beside its neighbour when it’s finished.

We might see a smooth evolution of seamless designs, where the geography of the map creates no borders.

Or maybe we’ll see some designs naturally die out, unmourned.

Or maybe one design will come to dominate, leaving no room for anything else, stifling the other bodies around it.

I hope that participants will reflect on their own place within their own culture. Are they in some way a hybrid? Do they feel secure or challenged in that identity? What might they be willing to lose and what is essential to who they are?

I’d love for the finished work to feed back into my PhD, and I’ll be gathering comments from participants to see what thoughts the experiment prompts in them.

Read more about Elen’s Work here

Read more about our Fun Palace Event ‘Brilliant Bodies’ here

Doll Hacktivist Workshop at the SWW DTP Brilliant Bodies Fun Palace Event


Learn the art of doll make-unders and become a fashion doll hacktivist in a unique workshop that is being led by SWW DTP students as part of the Brilliant Bodies’ Fun Palace event.

Fashion dolls such as Barbie and Bratz are sometimes seen as an extreme embodiment of society’s narrow expectations of consumer culture, beauty and physical form.  Learn how to make under fashion dolls in this workshop that is being run by PhD students of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership in collaboration with Devon Rescue Dolls. Thoughtful craftivism will be combined with gentle discussion about issues such as gender, sexuality, disability, materials and remaking – all of which will be delivered age-appropriately for those taking part.

The workshop is free to attend (dolls will be supplied). The event will be run twice to allow more people to take part.  Those interested in attending the event are able to reserve a place at the Eventbrite website: Please remember to select the appropriate 11am OR 2pm ticket after you click ‘Register’. Open to anyone aged 9+ but children must be supervised. If you are booking for a young person please only book one ticket for them; you do not need a ticket to accompany them.

The Doll Hacktivist workshop is part of Brilliant Bodies, a Fun Palace being run by PhD students of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Fun Palaces is a free, nationwide celebration of arts and science, @FunPalaces @EmbodimentDTP #BrilliantBodies


Saturday, 1 October 2016 at 11:00 – Add to Calendar


Wills Memorial, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ – View Map