Full Circle on Death


Full Circle:  Confluencenter Explores the Sounds, Tastes and Sights of Death on Nov. 1

Full Circle Website Slide

 Press release from Confluence Center: 

As autumn transitions to winter, it’s the time of the season to delve into death. In deference, the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry is hosting a free, three-part event on Saturday, Nov. 1 – from 11 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – that examines how humans deal with dying and the implications of facing mortality.

Full Circle reflects on death through the cultural lens of music, food and art at the UA School of Music and Art complex, located at the northwest section of 2nd Street and Olive Road.


  • Changing the Face of Death is a Creative Collaborations special presentation with Professor Emerita and Confluencenter’s Senior Fellow, pianist Paula Fan, in dialogue with Hospice Chaplin Counselor Greg Griffen. The production pays homage to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ groundbreaking 1969 book, On Death and Dying, and also gives a nod to the late 15th-century morality play Everyman. The stages of “everyman’s” journey are explored in song by distinguished Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams.
    11 a.m. UA School of Music’s Holsclaw Hall, 1017 N. Olive Rd.

  • Death: Customs and Cuisine –Southwest Folklife Alliance’s Executive Program Director Maribel Alvarez, Ph.D. (a founding board member of Confluencenter), and Folklorist-in-Residence Nic Hartmann are presenting a review of food traditions associated to death rituals and ceremonial family gatherings in Tucson and other regions of the United States and the world. Additionally, local home cooks and tradition bearers will share tasty samples and stories from a large and whimsical spectrum of funerary foodways; from the sweet and venerated pan de muerto from Mexico to the often-ridiculed Jell-O salads.
    12:30 p.m. UA School of Music’s Holsclaw Hall lobby, 1017 N. Olive Rd.


  • Picking up the Pieces: Artifacts From the Migrants’ Journey isartist Deborah McCullough’s closing reception for her exhibit of evocative installations created with the artifacts migrants leave behind as they cross the Southern Arizona desert in search of a better life.
    “Concern for the well-being of migrants everywhere is what this sacred art journey is about,” McCullough shares.1:30 p.m. UA School of Art’s Lionel Rombach Gallery, 1031 N. Olive Rd.

Confluencenter’s mission is to enrich the collaborative atmosphere for innovative research and interdisciplinary endeavors at the University of Arizona and beyond. Confluencenter works with faculty in the colleges of Humanities, Fine Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences; awards Faculty Collaboration Grants and Graduate Fellowships for interdisciplinary research; and hosts monthly Show & Tell and Creative Collaboration events. More details are available at Confluencenter.arizona.edu.

Contact:  Jamie Manser, jlmanser@email.arizona.edu,

621-4587, Communications & Events Coordinator

Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry
University of Arizona
1133 E. Helen St.
Tucson, AZ 85721-0302


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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Creative collaboration between baritone singer Jeremy Huw Williams performing six “Everyman” monologues from Jedermann, accompanied by pianist Paula Fan (Frank Martin music), interpreted by Chaplain Greg Griffey about the stages of death. A Christian concept of death is emphasized here as a wealthy man faces his mortality. Then Prof. Alvarez talked about folklife and food outside of Holsclaw Hall, with Ph.D. student Nic Hartmann who shared stories from Newfoundland about alcohol & death, “coliba” drinking in honor of the dead. Following these talks, two sisters of the Franco familia from La Estrella bakery demonstrated how to make Mexican Pan de Muerto for el Dia de Los Muertos, plus decorating sugar skulls for the ofrenda. Lastly the audience went over to the Lionel Rombach gallery to see a grim exhibit about border crossers, who often die in the desert trying to emigrate to America. The exhibit was realistic and very disturbing with photos and abandoned memorabilia from men, women and children (clothing, shoes, underwear, bottles of water, toothpaste & brushes).

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