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Good Grief Festival to explore the many faces of grief

Press release issued: 8 October 2020

A free online festival exploring the many faces of grief will take place for the first time this month [Friday 30 October to Sunday 1 November]. Broadcast from a studio in Bristol and reaching thousands of people all over the UK, Good Grief, will include 70 events exploring the universal human experience of grief through panel discussions, conversations, interactive workshops and webinars.

Over 100 speakers will take part including Robert Webb (Peep Show, That Mitchell + Webb Look), Cariad Llloyd (GriefCast), Julia Samuel (This Too Shall Pass, Grief Works), chef and food writer Valentine Warner (The Consolation of Food), best-selling author Nikesh Shukla (The Good Immigrant, Brown Baby), BBC anthropologist Alice Roberts, illustrator Gary Andrews (Doodle-A-Day) and palliative care doctors Rachel Clarke (Dear Life: A Doctor’s Story of Love and Loss) and Kathryn Mannix (With the End in Mind).

Good Grief is a collaborative event led by the University of Bristol, funded by the Wellcome Trust, and supported by charity partner Cruse Bereavement Care.

The festival will be hosted by Linda Magistris, a former BBC presenter and founder of The Good Grief Trust, with a diverse line-up of speakers participating in panel discussions on the festival’s main stage, including The Covid Cataclysm: How Do We Grieve for 'Normal'?; The Dead Parent Club with Cariad Lloyd; The Healing Power of Nature in Grief; Empty Bed Blues: Losing a Life Partner; The Grief Gift: Making Meaning of Loss and Reflections on Death and Dying.

Dr Lucy Selman, Founding Director of Good Grief, from the Centre for Academic Primary Care and Palliative and End of Life Research Group at the University of Bristol, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the ways that grief and loss affect our lives. But although grief is universal, people often don’t know how to react when someone is bereaved, and those grieving feel isolated.

"We're thrilled to be holding Good Grief online this autumn, when it is needed more than ever. The festival will shed light on the many dimensions of grief, provide time and space to share experiences, and provide opportunities to come together and remember those who have died."

Facilitated by bereavement experts, researchers, and those with personal experience, the festival's Grief School will take a deep dive into different types of grief, with 15 sessions to choose from. The Grief School will examine grief after suicide, childhood bereavement, stillbirth, life threatening illness, substance misuse, pet loss, traumatic loss, grieving during Covid-19, and much more.

Good Grief's workshop and webinar programme includes Writing Memoir to Heal; Making Friends with Your Afterlife; Self Counselling Through Art; Poetry for Lost Loved Ones; Virginia Woolf and the Literature of Loss, Yoga to Release Grief and a Grief Café facilitated by The Good Grief Trust.

Good Grief online events are all free to attend. Book now at

Further information

Good Grief is a partnership event led by the University of Bristol with charities, bereavement services and cultural venues including Cruse Bereavement Care, The Good Grief Trust, St Peter’s Hospice, Creative Youth Network, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Arnos Vale cemetery, Off The Record, Winston’s Wish, Watershed, Bath University, The Harbour, Bristol Black Carers, The Good Grief Project, Sue Ryder and Grief Encounter South West.       

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. It sits within Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching. Follow us on Twitter: @capcbristol                                                               
Background statistics

  • Since March 2020, there have been over 63,500 excess deaths in the UK (Office of National Statistics); this is in addition to approximately 300,000 deaths that occur every six months in the UK. Each death is associated with on average five close bereavements.
  • Only 25 per cent of people in the UK feel supported following a death (Dying Matters Coalition, 2014) and <10 per cent access professional support (Sue Ryder, 2019).
  • On average, people experience their first close bereavement aged 20 (Co-op funeralcare, 2018).
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