Please read the latest coronavirus advice before visiting any of the hospice sites.

Facing Death Creatively conference

St Christopher's CARE


1 day conference
12 Nov, 2021
9.30am-5pm (Registration from 9.00am)
Early Bird discount
until 14.10.21: £99
Normal price: £132
Discount: £66 for students
All prices include VAT
St Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham, London

Book online

Useful information

"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.

  • 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.

    Attending the conference

    In order to attend this event, you will be required to provide evidence that you have received both doses of your COVID-19 vaccination OR evidence of a negative lateral flow test, taken the morning of the conference.

  • 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

  • Programme

    Time Event Description
    9:00 Arrival Refreshments Registration
    9:30 Welcome from Mandy Bruce, St Christopher’s Art and Music Therapy Team Lead
    Community conversations about death during lockdown
    9:35 Celine Marchbank: The healing power of the creative process Celine is a photographic artist who’ll discuss the power of making creative work at times of loss and despair and how this process can help people feel more comfortable talking about and exploring complex emotions.

    Celine will present three pieces of creative work. The first, Tulip, tells the story of her mother’s last year of life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A Stranger in my Mother’s Kitchen, is an exploration of the grieving process told through cooking her mother’s recipes. Finally, Celine will present a new body of work made while she was recovering from COVID-19.

    10:05 Brum YODO: In Memoriam Flags – Creating Community Engagement Inspired by Art


    Diane Parkes and Debbie Kerslake, board members of BrumYODO, share the secrets of their extraordinary success in an arts project they ran in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome and artist Luke Jerram during Dying Matters Week 2021.

    The team brought Luke’s In Memoriam artwork to Birmingham and then organised a series of events which saw 700 people create their own memorial flags, in the process sparking reflection, commemoration and discussion around death and dying.

    They’ll also reveal how they attracted more than 1,000 people to visit the artwork and reach 5 million people through the media coverage.

    In this presentation they will also consider how flag-making was used to connect with diverse ages and communities as well as provide an outlet for those at the forefront of care during the pandemic.

    10.35 The Academy of Medical Sciences –
    Simon Denegri OBE, Executive Director of the Academy of Medical Sciences
    Despite the increased exposure to death and dying caused by the pandemic, people still need help people to take steps into difficult but essential conversations with loved ones.

    The AMS will describe how Life Support, a mobile-first website launched in December 2020, marries smart, appealing design with practical tips and advice as well as personal experiences and expert insights on topics such as what dying looks like, how to have a dignified death, and overcoming the fear of talking about death.

    You’ll discover how the creators balanced the sensitivity of the topic with a creative approach that would make an engaging experience and learn about the feedback the site has received.

    11:05 Q&A A chance to ask question about all of the first three presentations
    11:15 Break
    Michael Rosen – Keynote Speaker
    11:30 Michael Rosen: Presentation Writer and broadcaster Michael Rosen will bring his own near-death experience and his personal encounters with loss to this unmissable talk.

    In 2020, he spent seven weeks in a coma in hospital with COVID-19.

    Michael committed to writing about his experience in intensive care and rehab in the recently published, Many Different Kinds of Love. It’s just one of at least three of his books that tackle the issues of death, dying and loss. After losing his son Eddie in 1999, he wrote Michael Rosen’s Sad Book and a collection of poems, Carrying the Elephant.

    12:30 Michael Rosen Q&A
    13:00 Lunch Featuring a video from the London Sinfonia project and St Christopher’s
    Adaptions and innovations in a challenging situation
    13.55 St Columba’s Hospice Care Arts Team: Practice and service development in the midst of uncertainty In this presentation, Dr Giorgos Tsiris, Arts Lead, Hans Clausen, Community Artist and Anna Ludwig, Community Choir Facilitator, at St Columba’s take a step back and reflect on the interplay between practice and service development. Drawing on their experience they’ll reflect on the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic and how they’ve responded creatively to them to support hospice patients and their families in varied ways.
    14:25 Rosie Robinson, Rainbows Hospice, Loughborough: The Masked Singer Masked Singer – Music Presentation In this presentation, Rosie Robinson, Music Therapist at Rainbows, will assess how the pandemic has tested the physical properties of music and sound as key elements of this type of therapy as well ways of overcoming the obvious barrier created by the essential wearing of masks.

    Rosie will explore the ways music therapy has adapted and evolved alongside the pandemic to embrace restrictions and continue to provide high levels of therapeutic care with practical examples from her work at Rainbows.

    14:55 Harlington Hospice and Michael Sobell Hospice: Adaptability and Creativity: Supporting children during the pandemic Using case studies and a video, art Pyschotherapists Paula Boyle, Eve Jones and Nana Zhvitiashvili,

    will examine how the Child and Adolescent Bereavement Service at Harlington Hospice and Michael Sobell Hospice reacted creatively to the pandemic with a

    new therapy space in the inpatient unit, online sessions, a parent’s group, family sessions and fast response end-of-life sessions.

    15:25 Q&A
    15:35 Break
    Re-connecting as a creative palliative care community
    15:50 St Christopher’s Arts and Music Therapy team Mandy Bruce, Lara Fletcher-Cooke and Seán Kenny, the Art and Music Therapists at St Christopher’s, will lead us in a participatory workshop, to create a site specific art installation. Together, we will explore themes of connection, disconnection and reconnection.
    16:45 End reflection and Q&A
    16:55 Event wrap-up and Thank you
    17:00 Drinks, nibbles and networking

More information


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

You might also be interested in

Talk to us

  • If you want to know more about an education event, or would like to discuss bespoke options, get in touch

    020 8768 4656

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • We will only contact you regarding your enquiry (unless you have previously explicitly opted in to receive communications from us).
  • Receive our education email updates

Learning at St Christopher’s

St Christopher's Education
Our programme

Why our education programme?

We have a well-established programme of high quality, cutting-edge, specialist palliative care education, designed for those working in the UK and internationally.
Studying here

Why St Christopher's?

Education is at the heart of St Christopher’s mission to promote and provide hospice care of the highest standards.
How we educate

Why our way of learning

Including the Namaste toolkit

Library and bookshop
Containing material on all aspects of palliative care, death and bereavement

Start learning your way today

Our virtual learning offers...

  • Bite size sessions
  • Learning at your own pace
  • On demand video resources
  • Led by professionals
  • Tackling today's challenges
Sign up to receive updates

Other helpful information

More about St Christopher's education

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