Abby BuckleyAbby Buckley is transfixed at the threshold where life becomes death becomes life; a liminal space of becoming …

The sudden death of her 22 year old son, Robbie, in a car crash in 2012 changed everything. She had few cultural cues for dealing with human death in her urban secular life. With little resistance in her dumbfounded state, the Death System efficiently took over and expeditiously dealt with Robbie’s death. “It quickly swept his death neatly and cleanly away so we could all get back to living our lives.” Human death is not visible or welcomed in our Australian urban lives. Why?

Setting up the pilot Before I Die wall, Gawler

Setting up the pilot Before I Die wall in Conversations Cafe, Gawler, SA

Abby is now a passionate researcher, facilitator and speaker about creative community activities that engage people in death while they are vitally alive. She hosts Death Cafes, events for Groundswell’s annual Dying to Know Day, runs workshops and presents at conferences. She received three local government community grants to develop a mobile Before I Die wall. Her PhD research focuses on becoming death literate through creative community engagement. Serendipitously, she is now learning about the Death System in a hands-on way, working as the Marketing Coordinator at Adelaide Cemeteries Authority.

Spanning a 30 year business career, Abby started out as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young Sydney, Finance & Administration Manager in the Defence and Manufacturing industries and successfully pitched for venture capital to develop an innovative web application in her entrepreneurial start-up web development business. In 2015 she sold her business to pursue her PhD. She has served on various boards and committees in the Tourism and Education sectors. After completing her Master of Education (Social Ecology) with Distinction and receiving the Dean’s medal, Abby developed and facilitated the course Leading for Innovation and Sustainability to MBA students at the Australian Institute of Management.

Biannually Abby walks as a Team Leader with Operation Flinders Foundation, trekking with youth-at-risk on a challenging 100km Bush Adventure Therapy program in the Outback Flinders Ranges.

In her ongoing process of ‘becoming’, she has connected with an inspirational network and is finding her voice to join them for social, ecological and cultural change around death, dying and bereavement.