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Addressing and Dressing the Dead

Dr Pia Interlandi is one of Australia’s leading experts in the area of holistic and natural death and dying. She is one of the movement's pioneers and her work was critical to reigniting contemporary conversation about natural death practices into the public discourse.  

During her 20's Pia undertook her doctoral studies at RMIT University to ask why do we dress the dead? and what do we leave behind? This research traversed ephemeral and practical aspects of our post-death care as well as considering the manner in which our bodies become reunited with the earth. This PhD included one of the only studies to address decomposition rates in the context of Natural Burial, which was documented by Professor Kathy High in Death Down Under.. Colloquially referred to as ‘The Pig Project’, it is one of the only documentaries to show the unseen, underground, processes that the body undergoes in natural burial.

In 2013 she was featured in an ABC Artscape Anatomy documentary called ‘Soul’ in which she worked with her first Garments For the Grave client. This documentary was viewed by over 300,000 Australians on its first broadcast.  It has been screened in the US, UK, Poland, the Netherlands, NZ and Japan.

Ahead of its formal opening, Pia was invited to join the team at Clandon Wood Natural Burial reserve in Surrey UK. From site planning, grave digging, plant and wildlife maintenance, memorial markers and digital mapping through to grave selection with the terminally ill, dressing and encoffining the dead, funeral celebrancy and memorial events. Pia was involved in over 100 natural burials across Clandon Wood’s first year of operation. Clandon Wood was awarded the 2014 & 2015 Best Natural Burial Ground in the UK, and 2014 Cemetery of the Year.

It is Pia’s ability to entwine the poetics and science of death, and to reconfigure notions of disgust into something beautiful, that lead to her nomination and coming second in the 2014 Good Funeral Awards (UK) for the 'most significant contribution to the understanding of death'. 

When her Nonna died, Pia decided to return to Australia and initiated the co-founding of the Natural Death Advocacy Network.


Academic Bio

Pia Interlandi is a senior lecturer in the School of Fashion & Textiles at RMIT University. She teaches undergraduate and honours courses in New Fashion and Textile Propositions, Fashion Strategies and Environments, BioDesign and Materials and makes contributions to postgraduate Textile Forensics. She is particularly interested in the disposal and end-of-life of materials. Pia is a long-serving member of the DSC College Human Ethics Advisory Network.

Pia's internationally recognised, practice-led research traverses fashion design, end-of-life, and funeral industries. She specialises in co-creating garments and death rituals for body care and dressing conducted by the family. She has dressed over 150 individuals and has been called on by the funeral industry for specialist body care, exhumations, and bereavement casting. Her creative works have been exhibited at top-ranking galleries and museums including The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Science Museum (London), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam).  

A regular contributor to public discourse on creativity at end-of-life, natural burial and emerging disposal practices, Pia uses co-design research methodologies and the tools of fashion to address rituals and realities of dying, death, disposal and dispersion.

Pia co-founded the Natural Death Advocacy Network in 2014, and is also a founding member of the Order of the Good Death, and 2013-2018 ambassador for Dying To Know Day. In 2020 she helped to establish the Australian Death Studies Society and the Australian Home Funeral Alliance.

  • Training / Qualifications:
  • Independent Funeral Celebrant Training - (The Celebrants Training College), 
  • Digging Deeper After Death 5 day Intensive (Natural Grace)
  • If you selected "other" under Training / Qualifications please enter details here:
  • PhD Architecture and Design RMIT University, Bachelor of Fashion Design (Honours), Passing On NDAN Professional Development.


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