Hospice UK are pleased to announce the four successful projects to receive funding from the Dying Matters Community Grants programme in 2022.
About the Dying Matters Community Grants Programme
Supported by end-of-life services provider, Dignity, the Dying Matters Community Grants Programme funds innovative and creative projects with the aim of starting conversations about death, dying and grief, with communities that we know are least likely to have received such support.
At Dying Matters we believe that by starting the conversation, and breaking down taboos, we can work towards a society that is better equipped to support people through these life changing, but inevitable, experiences. The arts, in all its forms, can play a vital role in creating spaces where these conversations can flourish.
These grants put trust in groups to start conversations in the way that feels best for their community – conversations which can happen in a variety of everyday settings and not only in clinical environments.
Kate Davidson, Chief Executive Officer at Dignity, said:
“I believe it’s crucial we take the time to talk with our loved ones about death, bereavement and our end-of-life wishes. However, I fully understand that people may find these conversations difficult or sensitive.
At Dignity our core purpose is to help our clients say goodbye, to remember and celebrate the lives of the loved ones they have lost. We also support the communities in which we serve to help inform and educate them about all the end-of-life options available. That’s why I’m delighted we can support Dying Matters and encourage local groups to find such original and inspiring ways to initiate those discussions.”
Successful projects in 2022
Four projects were selected by the judging panel to receive grants from a total of over 130 applications. From the development of new tools to help people talk about death, to one of comedy nights – the successful projects vary greatly but all demonstrate innovative and creative ways of approaching the subject.
The external judging panel, chaired by Dying Matters Chair Simon Blake, were Gemma Allen, (Palliative Care Inclusion expert), Mark-Ashley Dupé (DJ and LGBTQ+ community organiser), Jane Ide OBE (ACEVO CEO), and Mike Miller (Trustee at Naomi House Children’s Hospice and Hospice UK).
1/ 1000 Conversations About Death
Artists Myra Appannah and Simon Wilkinson of BRiGHTBLACK use immersive videogame technologies to create a beautiful, projected video game world where participants meet animated characters and explore their feelings around death.
Located next to a social housing estate in East Brighton with a predominantly low income population, BRiGHTBLACK run workshops with young people from the estate to explore how video game technologies can create games which do more than just entertain.
stories allow us to create a more detailed picture of our inner worlds. When our external world does not allow such understanding to grow, such as the profound effect of our culture of death denial on our mental health, this is even more critical. And when people experience a story in first person, they are more likely to be immersed, to sympathise with the ideas in the story, to change their attitudes.
This genre, known as ‘post-escapist gaming’, has become an increasingly important platform for marginalised voices.
Participant conversations will be recorded and edited into podcasts which will be continually added to an online collection. The artwork will also go on tour.
This project will help young people to learn the skills to make their own work through highly accessible workshops and they will join BRiGHTBLACK’s thriving community of creators, collaborators, funders and investors.
2/ Uncovering: Pakistani Women’s experience of talking about death, dying, bereavement and caring at the end-of-life
Pakistani women often provide hands-on end-of-life-care. Yet, outside of their immediate community, little is known about their experience of death, dying, bereavement and caring. This project aims to reach, hear and uncover the experiences of the ‘unheard’ – Pakistani women living in under-served areas of Bradford.
Womenzone, a Bradford-based charity which aims to empower, inspire and enrich the lives of locally-based women have collaborated with The Leap, another Bradford-based charity. They aim to inspire people to create, and also have experience of supporting grass-roots and culturally sensitive approaches to art.
The use of art sparked ideas between local poet Sharena Lee Satti and The Leap, which allow ‘Uncovering’ to capture the testimonies in a respectful and accessible way. By using oral poetry the project will connect Islamic oral traditions to community connection. It also aims to open up broader lines of communication – within and beyond this community.
arts and culture are historically successful tools which have been used to discuss, highlight and explore social and tabooed issues and topics for centuries. Supporting the grief that goes alongside losing a loved one with a creative outlet will allow the women to create something from their experience.
This project is delivered in partnership with WomenZone, poet Sharena Lee Satti, local Palliative Care Doctor Jamilla Hussain, and The Leap, Bradford.
3/ Blue Life Plaques
Single Homeless Project support vulnerable and homeless people across London, supporting them to lead a fulfilling life. Through their art programme Arthouse, a series of creative workshops will explore the fragility of life, and will ask a key question: ‘how will you be remembered when you no longer exist?’
The Blue Life plaques project aims to switch the narrative for these groups from daily survival to one celebrating life, future goals and personal legacy. The plaques, made through sculpture casting, carving and mould making, re-invent the famous English Heritage plaques. Participants will photograph their plaques in personally-important public spaces across London, and discuss life’s fragility in an in-house podcast.
This project utilises art as a tool to engage in a skill-based activity whilst offering a safe, inclusive space to sensitively open up discussions around death, encouraging conversations about living, not just surviving and self-neglect.
Single Homeless Project’s Arthouse commented,
we believe everyone has the right, need and potential to make art. Art can provide that crucial first step in opening up conversations around death in a non-intimidating or ‘unscary’ way. Using art as a tool to break down social taboos provides opportunities for people to reflect on their own life and narrative and encourages them to think beyond their own personal borders.
This project is delivered by Single Homeless Project, London.
4/ Let Us Talk About Dying Matters
Let Us Talk About Dying Matters works with people from communities in Barking and Dagenham to help their members cope with the bereavement process – with the help of skilled comedians.
The aim is that the use of comedy will help bereaving individuals who are expected to show strength in dealing with bereavement. Breaking the status quo will ultimately allow them to move on and deal with the situation more easily.
The project owners commented:
art and culture are important tools in opening conversation on death and dying – as an icebreaker in initiating discussion, or by allowing people to socialise and seek help, find friends and meet others who are in the same situation. This in turn can initiate solutions from within those affected, and help start support groups that can continue providing support beyond the period of this project.
This project is delivered by East African Education Foundation, Barking and Dagenham