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Dying, death and bereavement: Supporting Irish Hospice Foundation's Arts & Creative Engagement Programme

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3 min read

Dying, death and bereavement: Supporting Irish Hospice Foundation's Arts & Creative Engagement Programme

3 min read

20/07/21

Dying, death and bereavement: Supporting Irish Hospice Foundation's Arts & Creative Engagement Programme

With the support of Creative Ireland’s Creativity in Older Age programme, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) posed the question, how best can we engage with the arts to encourage an open conversation about dying, death, loss and grief?

COVID-19 magnified our experiences of dying, death, loss and grief. During lockdown most live art and creative engagement practices had ceased, yet people still looked to the arts and creativity for meaning, solace and inspiration.

In response to this, the IHF developed an Arts & Creative Engagement programme in collaboration with Creative Ireland. On average, in Ireland, 80 people die every day – meaning 800 friends, families, beloveds, co-workers and acquaintances, face grief daily. As the IHF Arts & Creative Engagement Programme began in autumn 2020, deaths in the pandemic were around 200 per day and the country was in level 5 lockdown.

In Ireland, an average of 80 people die every day – meaning 800 friends, families, beloveds, co-workers and acquaintances, face grief daily

As the programme matured, it provided people with opportunities to explore themes around dying, death, grief and loss through creativity. This included an innovative Seed Grants programme which offered awards to support organisations and individuals who wished to mark in some tangible way their response to bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IHF received applications from all over Ireland from health professionals, artists, craftspeople, community workers, mental health specialists, counselling services, disability support services, residential care settings, hospices, NGOs, community choirs and sports teams.

Eleven successful projects were selected, each one a meaningful creative response to the devastation that death brings:

 

For more information, visit www.hospicefoundation.ie

Read the Creative Ireland Report on Arts & Creative Engagement in Irish Hospice Foundation 2020-21 here

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