Re-Imagining Grief: Our book with Sam Petherbridge

At our 2019 festival we explored ‘endings’ across the programme – from the end of gender, the planet and to the end of life itself. As part of this we brought artists together in a conversation called ‘Re-Imagining Grief’, asking: how can we support one another through grief, and how does engaging with death change the way we live?The conversations and connections that came out of that session were far-reaching, powerful and positive. We next took this idea to the Southbank Centre for Violet Nights, hosting a new panel with different artists but the same core ideas: unpicking the taboo around death, and considering the role of ritual and creativity in our generation’s experiences of loss.

The event sold out in only a few hours and showed the huge need for us to hold spaces like this more often, and ensure the collective realisations go even further than those spaces. So we collaborated with artist Sam Petherbridge to make a beautiful collage, concertina book of audience and participant takeaways from the conversation: tips and suggestions for how we might care for ourselves and loved ones in grief. We’re very glad to share these with you now in a time where we are confronting the death of loved ones, and physical togetherness is impossible.

The conversation is far from over, and we’ve agreed with Sam that we’d like to keep adding to these. So please send over any reflections you have for practices (big or small) that have helped you through grief, that have helped others, or that you think would have helped you. Or it could just be something that you wish people understood about it. We’ll find ways to keep this set of collective reflections growing…