Workshops

Workshop for Volunteers and Professionals

Are you part of an organisation, company or volunteer group whose work relates to death or to dying well?

Our facilitated group workshops are designed for volunteers and professionals who support dying people, their families, or the recently bereaved.

Our workshops open up new conversations about death through the reading of and reflection on short extracts or pieces of literature, both historical and contemporary. The aim is not to be prescriptive but rather to provide a different (and non-medical) structure within which to approach aspects of death, dying and bereavement: including for example, dying at home, the nature of ‘care’, the experience of pain, and complex emotional and intellectual reactions to the idea and the reality of death and dying.

Through a series of practical activities – reading, self-reflection, and discussion – our workshops provide open but supportive spaces for the testing out of ideas, as well as for enjoyable conversation about some great works of literature and, if you wish, the chance to write creatively yourself (no experience necessary!)

It is hoped that all participants will benefit from this opportunity to widen their perspectives, vocabularies or strategies for thinking and talking about death, dying and grief, and to tune in to what clients and patients may be articulating.

We can tailor the workshop to suit the needs of each group and can also facilitate a guided intention-setting exercise in order to benefit participants in terms of continuing development in the weeks and months after the workshop.

There is no charge for workshops, which are run by the project leaders. They are designed for groups of 4-10 people. We also make further resources available for participants during the session and via our website.

“I wouldn’t have spent time looking at poems and literature …[but] the different views of the group really encouraged me to look again and again and again.”

“Now I might encourage my clients to use words poetically to express their feelings.”

“I will take away thinking more deeply about the meaning of words. I’m very motivated to follow this up with further reading.”

Get in touch!


Light and Dark

In this workshop we will explore three different perspectives on light and darkness, both literal and metaphorical. We’ll begin with a famous sonnet by John Milton, written about his blindness and will then move on to two contemporary poets who explore the phenomena of light in different ways. We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts […]

Poetry and Later Life Creativity

Today’s theme is the creativity of later life and the valuable perspectives that come from being at this stage of life. We’ll read two poems and look at a painting together, reflecting on our own views from the different ages and stages we’re all at.   The Texts   W.B Yeats (1865-1939), From ‘Sailing to […]

Poetry and the Absurd

Today we’re looking at the absurd, those things that make us laugh and/or cry, confuse us, intrigue us, maybe even make us cross. In the workshop we’ll read three poems together, by a mixture of different poets and we’ll share our reactions as well as perhaps our own tales of the absurd.   The Texts […]

Poetry, Stars and Space

  Another mixture of poetry and visual arts in this workshop. This morning we will read two poems together from poets that you most likely have heard of and we’ll also look at the work of a fascinating artist who might be new to you. It will be great to hear your thoughts.   The […]

Texts, Textiles and Textures

Responding to a request from a regular attendee at our workshops, this morning we are thinking about how texts can explore ideas of texture and textiles – they do after all share a linguistic root ‘text’. This morning we will read three poems and look at an interesting visual art installation. We’ll talk about how […]

Poetry and Home

This workshop explores ideas of home and belonging. This morning we will: Read two poems and one short extract from a novel, all of which share ideas about home in different we ways. We’ll discuss how they work and how they make us feel. It’ll be interesting to see what memories or thoughts they evoke […]

Poetry and Flowers

This workshop responds to the Springtime mood of last month’s class, exploring poetry about flowers!  This morning we will: Hear some poems which describe and observe flowers, and use flowers as a jumping-off point for a wide range of different ideas and moods. Discuss how the authors express their feelings and convey their thoughts. Talk […]

Poetry and Change

This workshop looks at three very different poems which deal with the theme of change.  Change can be positive or negative: an antidote to a humdrum routine; a sign of growth and development; something to be welcomed or to be feared. Changes in the world around us can be disorientating. Changes in ourselves or in […]

Poetry and the Natural World

Happy New Year! And welcome to the first of the Spring series of our workshops for Arthur Rank’s Living Well community. This week we are turning to poetry which reflects on the natural world. At the same time we also want to take a quick dip into an important aesthetic idea connected with Romanticism: the […]

Poetry for Christmas

Christmas and the New Year have served as inspiration for some wonderful poetry capturing the mixture of feelings that come with this time, whether warm memories of childhood and festive family gatherings, the bleakness and beauty of midwinter, or the hopeful turning of a blank page in the diary ready for the year ahead. Our […]

Poetry and Journeys

Welcome to the Autumn series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. This week we want to explore the theme of journeys and we’re excited to look at texts suggested by members of the group. Journeys are everywhere in poetry on the topic of death and dying, […]

Poetry and Trust

Welcome to the Autumn series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. This week we want to explore the theme of trust. As the season moves to autumn and amidst a lot of turmoil in the world, we’re aiming to have an uplifting conversation around this topic […]

Poetry and Secrets

Welcome to the Autumn series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. This week we want to explore the theme of secrets and secrecy. We are interested in the idea that poems, like people, contain secrets that they may or may not choose to reveal. This morning […]

Poetry and Breath

Welcome to our 2022 series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. Here is the second of two sessions guided by topics of interest for our participants. This week you have chosen the theme of breath. We intend to use this prompt to think both about the […]

Poetry and Dementia

Welcome to our 2022 series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. We are very pleased to run the first of two sessions guided by topics of interest for our participants. This week you have chosen the theme of dementia, something we’ve previously touched on in workshops […]

War and Remembering

Welcome to our 2022 series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. Today’s session coincides with a difficult political moment – the Jubilee celebration and the remembering and shows of patriotism that it represents, with a backdrop of global tension with war on Europe’s borders. We’ll take […]

In A Good Place: Poetry for Dying Matters Week 2022

Welcome to a special open session for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. This week we will cover the theme suggested by Hospice UK for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2022: what does it mean to be “in a good place” in relation to death and dying? This morning we […]

Collection of old portrait photographs

Collection of old portrait photographs

Poetry and Photographs

Welcome to the third of the 2022 series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. Today’s session follows up on our previous discussion about precious objects. We want to think about photographs and how, like a poem, they can capture a moment or sensation. Photographs can become […]

Poetry and (Making) Memories

Welcome to the second of the 2022 series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community. Today’s session explores poetry on the subject of memory. What is it that we want to convey to those we have left behind? How can a choice of a poem or reading […]

Poems for a Funeral

Welcome to the first in a new year series of workshops with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community! Today’s session explores poetry for a funeral or memorial service. What is it that we want to convey to those we have left behind? How can a choice of a poem […]

Poetry and Lyrics II

In the last of our summer series of workshops we will: Listen to some recordings and read some song lyrics on life, loss and love! Talk through the lyrics reflectively together, share our perspectives and favourites, and think about our own experiences as listeners and readers. Our aims are: For us to have fun together […]

Poetry and Lyrics

In the third of our summer series of workshops we will: Listen to some recordings and read some song lyrics on life, loss and love! Talk through the lyrics reflectively together, share our perspectives and favourites, and think about our own experiences as listeners and readers. Our aims are: For us to have fun together […]

Poetry and Dreams

In the second of our summer series of workshops we will: Take a moment to think about how poetry and literature can give us new ways of relating to each other. Read and react to literature on the theme of ‘dreams’. Talk through some different poems reflectively together, adding in some snippets from other favourite […]

Poetry and the Moment

In the first series of our next series of workshops we will: Take a moment to think about how poetry and literature can give us new ways of relating to each other. Read and react to literature on the theme of ‘the moment’. Talk through two poems reflectively together, adding in some snippets from other […]

A Conversation with Death

A creative workshop inspired by the tradition of the Ode 'To Death'.

Poetry and Death

In the last of our first series of workshops we will: Take a moment to think about our work together over the last few months. Read and react to literature on the theme of ‘death’. Think about how authors picture “death” – as a character, as a threshold, as a philosophical idea, or as nothing […]

Poetry and Care

In the workshop we will: Read and react to literature on the theme of ‘care’. Think about the history and etymology of care and how we use the word today. Talk through two poems reflectively together, adding in some snippets from other favourite writers, and use them to think about our own experiences. Our aims […]

Poetry and Family

In the workshop we will: Read and react to three poems on the theme of ‘family’. Talk through the poems reflectively together, add in some snippets from other favourite writers, and use them to think about our own experiences. Our aims are: For us to have fun together and learn from each other by talking […]

Poetry and Memory

In the workshop we will: Read and react to two poems on the theme of ‘memory’. Talk through the poems reflectively together, add in some snippets from other favourite writers, and use them to think about our own experiences. Our aims are: For us to have fun together and learn from each other by talking […]

7 Arguments With Grief: A Workshop on the Language of Loss

A performance and conversational workshop for professionals and volunteers who support people around end-of-life care, dying, and bereavement. The A Good Death? project aims to improve conversations about death and dying by introducing you to unfamiliar and sometimes challenging literary writing from the past and in the present. In this workshop, we are very proud […]

Arthur Rank Hospice Charity: Workshops for Volunteers

The A Good Death? project aims to improve conversations about death and dying by introducing you to unfamiliar and sometimes challenging literary writing from the past and in the present. We hope to provide some new and fruitful angles and vocabularies and to spark new kinds of reflection. Thank you for joining us! In the […]

Death crafts and conversation!

For Deathly Encounters!, an evening event hosted at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology  in central Cambridge, we were excited to trial two new variations on our workshops. In both cases, the value comes from engaging with historic approaches to death in culture, and from the rich conversations which are prompted by social handicrafts. Mourning […]

Death Poetry, Open Discussion

This 45 minute workshop introduces three poems by contemporary and early-modern authors on the theme of loss.

Death and Bereavement. Workshops for bereavement counsellors

In June 2019, the Good Death team hosted members of the Cruse Bereavement Care Cambridge team for the first of an ongoing series of workshops exploring death writing and its potential to open up conversations and provide new perspectives for the bereaved.