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Empathy and Conversations about Death with Carked It!

Updated: Apr 22


Episode 32 - The Professional Empathy Podcast

Empathy and Conversations about Death with Carked It! - Simon Lowe and Euan Black.

Listen on Podomatic or on your favourite podcast platform (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google)

How often do you talk about death with your friends and family?

According to my guests Simon and Euan - talking about death leads to living a better life. Welcome to this episode of The Professional Empathy Podcast where we discuss empathy and conversations about death. Our guests are Simon Lowe, co-founder of the

Ageing Revolution, and Euan Black from the Good Death Impact Network. We want to issue a warning for our listeners, as this episode may delve into some uncomfortable topics related to death and dying.

We're excited to have Simon and Euan on the show to talk about their innovative approach to having these conversations. They, along with a team of collaborators, have created a card game called Carked It that aims to make talking about death something that is enjoyable, meaningful and even humorous.

Tune in to this insightful episode to hear our guests discuss the importance of empathy and how Carked It is breaking down barriers around having conversations about death.


1. Background

  • Ewan from Adelaide, Australia, is part of the Good Death Impact Network, a group focused on end-of-life issues.

  • They accumulated an innovation fund to address the lack of action in the ageing space, aiming to change negative perceptions around ageing and encourage conversations about death.

2. The Ageing Revolution

  • Ewan, along with his partner, initiated the Ageing Revolution to challenge societal views on ageing and promote different approaches to life and death.

  • They observed a need for tools and skills to facilitate empathy, self-awareness, and discussions about death, drawing inspiration from conversations around other societal issues.

3. Cultural Perspectives on Death:

  • Cultural backgrounds influence conversations about death, with Western cultures often avoiding the topic due to a focus on youth and fear of ageing.

  • First Nations people approach death differently, viewing it as a transcendence of energies and souls, highlighting the diversity in how communities discuss this universal experience.

4. Empathy and Game Design:

  • Ewan and his team designed a game, "Carked It!" to make serious conversations about death more approachable and enjoyable, recognising that fun facilitates engagement.

  • The game includes cards prompting discussions on various aspects of death, such as end-of-life wishes, funeral preferences, and the legacy one wants to leave behind.

5. Impact and Future Goals:

  • The game has received positive feedback, used in different ways to spark meaningful conversations about death.

  • Ewan hopes the game serves as a catalyst for change, encouraging people to embrace reality, have open conversations about death, and take proactive steps such as creating wills and making end-of-life preparations.


1. Initiate Conversations:

  • Encourage open and honest conversations about death within families, communities, and even broader cultural contexts to break the taboo surrounding the topic.

2. Create End-of-Life Plans:

  • Take practical steps to plan for the end of life, such as creating a will, documenting end-of-life wishes, and making funeral arrangements. Procrastination can lead to unpreparedness.

3. Use Games for Engagement:

  • Recognise the power of engaging tools, like the "Carked It!" game, to facilitate discussions about death. Utilise creative and enjoyable methods to make serious topics more approachable.

4. Challenge Cultural Norms:

  • Challenge cultural norms that contribute to avoidance of death discussions, especially in societies that prioritise youth and fear ageing. Foster an environment where ageing is viewed as a gift.

5. Promote Empathy and Understanding:

  • Foster empathy for oneself and others in the context of ageing and death. Provide tools and resources to help individuals understand and navigate the emotional aspects of end-of-life discussions.


Buy the game -

Empathy First -

Leanne’s TEDx Talk -


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Educator, TEDx Speaker, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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