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Facing Death Creatively conference

St Christopher's CARE


1 day conference
12 Nov, 2021
9.30am-6.30pm (Registration from 9.00am)
All prices include VAT
St Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham, London

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"Mind and heart expanding"

Conference delegate


A one-day conference, featuring special keynote speaker Michael Rosen, to explore ways in which creative arts provide support and facilitate meaning at the end of life – as exemplified during the pandemic

Facing Death Creatively During a Pandemic

The theme of this, our fifth such conference is Facing Death Creatively during a Pandemic – exploring ways in which the creative arts have held us together through the last year or so, providing support and giving meaning to the end of life and bereavement.

Through a mix of seminars, exhibitions (making full use of our fabulous new St Christopher’s CARE exhibition space), performances and workshops, this one-day conference will provide attendees with an opportunity to reflect upon and share the many important ways in which creative arts play an important role surrounding death, dying and loss generally and specifically the innovative ways they’ve provided support during the pandemic.

We are also delighted to welcome a very special keynote speaker to this year’s conference – Michael Rosen, the writer, former Children’s Laureate and TV presenter. Among his many books, Michael wrote Michael Rosen’s Sad Book after the death of his son, aged 18. Michael himself spent seven weeks in intensive care with COVID-19 in 2020 and has recently published Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS.

Register your interest



  • Call for submissions

    We invite submissions to take part in the form of presentations, seminars, exhibitions, performances, participatory workshops etc.

    Proposals from multi-ethnic, cultural and cross-disciplinary practitioners are welcome.

    Themes might include, but are not limited to: 

    • Ways in which creative arts therapies have responded and adapted to the pandemic, around death, dying and loss
    • Re-imagining new ways of working, creative participation and meaningful encounters within the arts and palliative care as a response to social distancing/lockdown
    • How art forms can help individuals and communities survive, thrive and be resilient during times of collective loss and grief
    • How palliative care practitioners discover and enact modes of self-care and growth during times of isolation
    • Creative ways of engaging with death rites and rituals
    • Connecting with diverse communities on the subject of death, dying, loss
    • How arts practitioners facilitate the exploration of death and dying in online spaces.

    Please submit the following information to by 14 July 2021:

    • Title
    • Abstract (150-250 words)
    • Keywords (3-10 words)
    • Sources/References (max. 3 references)
    • Biography (max. 50 words per presenter)
    • Email addresses of presenters
    • Type of presentation (e.g. presentation, participatory workshop, performance).
  • What will I learn?

    The content for the conference will in large part be dictated by the variety of content we receive from contributors of all kinds. These can include performances, workshops and presentations on a range of topics including:

    • How creative therapists have responded and adapted to the pandemic
    • New ways of using creative arts in palliative care within social distancing restrictions
    • Assessing how the arts have helped people survive and thrive through a time of collective grief
    • How to adapt to an online approach.
  • Who is it for?

    This conference is a brilliant opportunity for arts and music therapists, palliative and bereavement practitioners, students, social practice artists and community members.

  • Tutors/Speakers:

    Keynote speaker:

    Michael Rosen - Photo credit M Kavanagh

    Michael Rosen

    Michael Rosen is one of Britain’s best loved writers and performance poets for children and adults.  His first degree was from Wadham College, Oxford and he went on to study for an MA and a PhD.  He is currently Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London where he co-devised and teaches an MA in Children’s Literature.

    Michael is also a popular broadcaster and has presented BBC Radio 4’s acclaimed programme about language, “Word of Mouth” since 1998, as well as regularly presenting documentary programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3, including the Sony Gold Award-winning “On Saying Goodbye”.

    Michael has published in the region of 200 books for children and adults, including “The Sad Book” with Quentin Blake (Walker Books) – a meditation on bereavement written after the loss of his son, Eddie;  “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” with Helen Oxenbury  (Walker Books) – made into an animated film for Channel 4 broadcast Christmas Day 2016 -  and “A Great Big Cuddle” with Chris Riddell (Walker Books) .  His poetry for adults includes “Don’t Mention the Children” (Smokestack) and “Selected Poems” (Penguin).  Non-fiction work for adults includes “Good Ideas: How to Be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher” (John Murray),  “The Disappearance of Emile Zola, Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case” (Faber), and his memoir “So They Call You Pisher!” (Verso).

    He has written a book for children and teachers on writing poetry ‘What is Poetry?’ (Walker Books) and has done three booklets for teachers on writing and reading. These are available through his website . He writes up a monthly news page on the website and a blog for teachers giving ideas for writing.

    Michael writes a monthly open “letter” to the Secretary of State for Education in The Guardian where he critiques Government policy on schools from the standpoint of a parent.  He visits schools, teachers’ conferences and university teacher training departments where he is in demand to give performances, workshops and keynote addresses. He also appears regularly at literary festivals all over the UK and Ireland.

    Michael has received several honorary awards, including degrees from the Open University, the University of Exeter, the University of London Institute of Education and the University of East London/Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.  For outstanding contribution to children’s literature he received the Eleanor Farjeon Award and was Children’s Laureate 2007-2009.  In recognition of his contribution to the profile of French culture in the UK, he was made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

    Photo credit M Kavanagh

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If you have any questions about this or any of our other courses, please contact the Education team who will be happy to help

020 8768 4656

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St Christopher’s Education Centre and VAT charges

At St Christopher's, a registered charity, it is important for us to maximise any surpluses to reinvest in the objectives of the charity.

Unfortunately, the manner in which we undertake our training currently means we are not able to invest as much of our surplus as possible, therefore from the 1 December 2017, St Christopher’s Education Centre will charge VAT at the standard rate on our training courses, the reason for this change in pricing is twofold:

i) We want to be able to reinvest any surpluses made from training back into all of our charitable objectives rather than only Education

ii) We want to be able to reclaim the VAT on costs relating to developing and running the training courses