Over My Dead Body with Professor Alice Roberts

In this session, Professor Alice Roberts and Dr John Troyer come together with progressive funeral director, Louise Winter, to discuss our relationship with dead bodies – both our own and those of others.

Professor Roberts is an academic, TV presenter and writer whose work focuses on evolution, physiology, human anatomy, archaeology and history. Her book, Ancestors, focuses on burials and funerals in archaeology. It also looks at the increasing number of cremations over the twentieth century and the pressing need for more environmentally friendly solutions, and considers the separation between the need to dispose of a dead body – and the need to memorialise a life, to mourn and grieve.

Dr John Troyer is the Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath and author of Technologies of the Human Corpse (MIT Press 2020). It investigates the relationship of the dead body with technology throughout history, starting with nineteenth-century embalming machines and taking a curious tour to arrive at today’s technologies that seek to extend and prevent death.

Louise Winter is a progressive funeral director. Her mission is to get people to really think about the kind of funerals they’re having, and why they have them. She believes that a good funeral can be transformational in helping us acknowledge and accept that someone has died. Louise is one half of the team behind Life. Death. Whatever.


Alice Roberts, Chair, Good Grief Bristol

Professor Alice Roberts

Facilitator, Louise Winter (c) Melissa Rodrigues

Louise Winter

Facilitator, John Troyer

Dr John Troyer