With just over a week to go until the very first Good Grief Festival (30th Oct to 1st Nov), we’ve rounded up some of our team’s favourite panel talks. Feast your eyes on this incredible array of speakers and topics…
Nature has an incredible ability to comfort and heal in times of grief, and our three authors each reconnected with the world in their own way following the loss of loved ones. Long Litt Woon, author of The Way Through the Woods, went mushroom hunting to honour her husband after he’d died. Sarah Jane Douglas lost herself in the Scottish munros following the loss of her mother, writing the uplifting Just Another Mountain. And Christopher Somerville wrote The January Man to document a year of walks, sensing his father at his shoulder at every turn.
Sunday, November 1st, 15:30-16:30
Living in a world rife with injustice, how can we make space for collective grief? Can grief be a force for positive change? How can we be more sensitive to the grief of those who have been silenced? We welcome Patrick Vernon who kickstarted the campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation; the Rt Hon. Stuart Lawrence, who runs the Stephen Lawrence Trust and Kathryn de Prudhoe of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group.
Friday, October 30th, 12:30-13:30
Why do we struggle to talk about death and how does that keep us from living? Does our discomfort around death impact on society and health? In this session we’ll join a conversation with oncologist, Sam Guglani, and palliative care doctors, Kathryn Mannix and Rachel Clarke, as they think about death and dying.
Sunday, November 1st, 17:00-18:00
Grief can be a powerful catalyst for change. In this conversation, our panellists will discuss finding new purpose and meaning after losing someone dear. Many people turn their loss into something that will benefit others, with grief becoming a driving force in their efforts to make the world a better place.
Sunday, November 1st, 12:00-13:00
Cariad Lloyd is the genius and voice behind Griefcast, the podcast in which funny people talk about death. In the Dead Parent Club, Cariad will be joined by authors Nikesh Shukla and Olivia Potts to delve deep into what it means to lose a parent, how early bereavement is processed at different stages of life and how it’s possible to find meaning that drives you forward.
Saturday, October 31st, 17:00-18:00
The kitchen table is often the epicentre of the grieving process. It’s a backdrop for sadness, laughter and night-long conversations about loved ones who’ve died. It’s where chairs remain empty at mealtimes – a poignant reminder of those who are no longer with us.
In Grief at the Kitchen Table, writers Nikesh Shukla, Valentine Warner and Olivia Potts will consider how food can be a uniting factor in facing and moving through grief.
Saturday, October 31st, 14:30-15:30
Revisiting the places where we feel connected to those we’ve lost can offer profound healing. Going back can be a powerful way of ultimately moving forward.
These panellists have undertaken their own very personal pilgrimages from the backpackers’ trails of Vietnam to the county cricket grounds of England. We’re also joined by Simon Bray whose Loved + Lost photographic project invites participants to find a photograph of themselves with their lost loved one, returning to the location of the original photograph to replicate the image with Simon.
Friday, October 30th, 15:30-16:30
Many of us have a deeply uncomfortable relationship with dead bodies – both our own and those of others. Join this enlightening talk with the BBC’s Professor Alice Roberts, Dr John Troyer (Director of the Centre for Death and Society) and progressive funeral director, Louise Winter as they discuss the separation between the practical aspects of disposing of a dead body and the desire to grieve and memorialise a life.
How do we grieve for the loss of normal life and all of our hopes, plans and expectations of the future? How do we adjust to complete uncertainty and as we hurtle through a period of unprecedented change? To consider these questions and more we’ll be joined by one of the UK’s foremost experts on grief, Julia Samuel, as well as Alex Evans and Ivor Williams of The Collective Psychology Project, the group behind This Too Shall Pass: Mourning collective loss in a time of Covid-19.
Friday, October 30th, 14:30-15:30
Join Good Grief’s special edition of the Sofa Singers, adding your voice to hundreds of others as we sing Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s beautiful version of Over the Rainbow (find it here on YouTube). This will be an opportunity to pay tribute to those you’ve loved and lost and those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saturday, October 31st, 11:15-12:15