The reality of death and dying is rarely discussed openly in modern Western societies, while death sometimes is even considered to be a ‘failure’ in the context of traditional, medically-focused healthcare systems. Similarly, loss and transition are part of the National School Curriculum in the UK, but many schools still find approaching these subjects difficult. In this context St Christopher’s hospice in London has initiated and delivered the ‘Schools Project’ since 2005.
The St Christopher’s Schools Project is an innovative community arts programme. It takes the form of short-term collaborative arts projects between terminally ill patients and students from primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges within the hospice’s catchment area. The Schools Project has attracted the interest of many other hospices, as well as other healthcare institutions and inspired the development of similar projects, both nationally and internationally.
The aim of the Schools Project is to introduce the hospice and its work to the school communities in a creative and non-threatening way. Within a structured framework students are given the opportunity to interact and engage in music and art making together with terminally ill patients, culminating in an exhibition or performance. Promoting healthier attitudes towards death and dying amongst the students, their teachers, school peers, parents and carers, is at the core of the project. During 2017 the Arts Team delivered five Schools Projects with local primary and secondary schools.
See examples of work created through the Schools Project here.
If you are a patient and would like to take part in a Schools Project there is a project taking place on Thursday mornings between 11am and 12 noon on 3, 10, 17 and 24 May and Friday mornings between 11am and 12 noon on 4, 11, 18 and 25 May.
For further information on St Christopher’s arts projects please contact the Arts Team