Dr Naomi Richards is Director of the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group at the University of Glasgow.
Naomi is a Lecturer in Social Science at the University of Glasgow. Prior to joining Glasgow in 2015, she held positions at the University of the West of Scotland (2014-2015) and the University of Sheffield (2009-2014). She has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh.
Naomi specialises in death and dying, ageing and old age, and visual and ethnographic methods. Over the last decade, she has been funded by the ESRC to undertake empirical and theoretical investigations into the UK right-to-die debate and the phenomenon of old age rational suicide. She is currently Principal Investigator for the ESRC funded Dying in the Margins (2019-2023), a qualitative project aiming to uncover the reasons for unequal access to home dying for people experiencing socio-economic deprivation. She has also been involved in two Wellcome Trust funded case studies (2018-20). The first examined the relationship between palliative care and assisted dying in three jurisdictions where assisted dying is lawful. The second examined the global transfer and translation of the Death Café phenomenon.
Over the years, Naomi has collaborated on research projects about challenging stereotypes of older women; transitions to palliative care in the hospital setting; transitioning out of hospital back home or into a care home; and sensory and palliative care approaches for people with advanced dementia.
She has a long-standing interest in documentary filmmaking and participatory visual methods, stemming from a Masters in Visual Anthropology at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester
Naomi also co-convenes the Reading and Writing Death and Dying Arts Lab with Dr Elizabeth Reeder in Creative Writing and former PhD student Dr Amy Shea. The Arts Lab aims to support and encourage writers from all genres and working in all forms to produce work on the theme of death, dying and bereavement. In November 2021, the team won a Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Network Grant: COVID 19 as Catalyst for Writing and Discussing Death, Dying and Grief through Objects, Diaries and Collective Archives (2022-24). The aim of the Network is to support writers in Scotland to produce work on this theme.