Writer and broadcaster Michael Rosen was perhaps better prepared than most for facing death creatively. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the former Children’s laureate had to do in 2020 when he was gravely ill with COVID-19.
The 75-year-old author spent seven weeks in intensive care in hospital in London and is still living with the effects of long COVID, including a foggy eye, deaf ear and dizziness.
Perhaps inevitably, Michael wrote about his experience and the incredible care he received from the NHS in the book Many Different Kinds of Love, published earlier this year.
That’s what made him the ideal candidate to be the keynote speaker at our upcoming conference, Facing Death Creatively During a Pandemic.
In fact, this isn’t the first time Michael has chosen to tackle such a challenging and sensitive topic by doing what he does best – write. Among his best known and most touching works is Michael Rosen’s Sad Book written after the death of his 18-year-old son. So, expect a mixture of heartfelt, personal experience, some humour and a very relatable version of Facing Death Creatively.
While Michael’s presence will certainly be one of the highlights of this, the fifth such conference, we’re confidently predicting many more as explore ways in which the creative arts have held us together in the last 18 months, providing support and giving meaning to the end of life and bereavement.
These conferences are always a fantastic opportunity for arts and music therapists, palliative care and bereavement practitioners, students, social practice artists and community members to come together to reflect upon the hugely important role of creative arts surrounding death, dying and loss, through a mix of seminars, exhibitions (making full use of our fabulous new St Christopher’s CARE exhibition space), performances and workshops.
Practitioners from across the UK will share the successes they’ve had and challenges they’ve faced in using creative arts of all kinds to respond and adapt to the pandemic. Before March 2020, who’d ever imagined running painting sessions on Zoom? Mastering that skill as well as designing creative ways of engaging with death rites and rituals across diverse communities are just some of the other ways professionals have adapted and innovated to help people Face Death Creatively this last year and half.
Tickets for what promises to be a very popular all-day event at St Christopher’s CARE on 12 November are now available. With an early bird price of just £99 available until 14 October, book your place now to avoid disappointment.