Good Grief Conference

The Good Grief Conference 11 – 13 May 2020

Join our multidisciplinary three-day Conference at the University of Bristol and learn about the many facets of grief and bereavement.

Come to listen to cutting-edge scientific research, fresh perspectives from literature and music, and the voices of those who have become expert through personal experience. Visit our Conference page to book tickets for individual events. To buy one-day and multi-day Conference passes, visit our Conference Tickets page.

The conference programme is available to download here


What is Grief? – Monday 11 May

Losing someone can have a profound impact on who you are and how you see the world. But what is grief? The first day of the conference will feature speakers from sociology, English literature and psychotherapy to address these questions. It will explore creative representations of loss in art and also investigate public perceptions of grief. Speakers include: Andrew Hilton, founder of Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, Jane Harris (The Good Grief Project) and psychotherapist and paediatric counsellor, Julia Samuel MBE, founder and patron of Child Bereavement UK.

Types of Grief – Tuesday 12 May

Are there particular forms of loss that are harder to share because of trauma and stigma? And what is the relationship between grief and creativity? On Tuesday, we will bring together personal and professional perspectives on grief to explore the challenges faced by those bereaved because of substance misuse, suicide or stillbirth. Clinical Psychologist Kirsten Smith will examine complicated grief and Michel Faber will read poetry from Undying: A Love Story, which he wrote in memory of his wife. 

Anthropological and Cultural Perspectives on Grief – Wednesday 13 May 

To what extent is the experience and expression of loss shaped by cultural expectations and practices and are there aspects of grief that cut across cultures and times? Today’s chair, Professor Alice Roberts, introduces experts on topics including Muslim perspectives on bereavement and grief in popular culture. Douglas MacGregor, founder of Songs of Loss and Healing, explores how loss and grief are expressed through music around the world.

The Good Grief Conference is accompanied by Loved+Lost, a photographic exhibition by Simon Bray. Reserve your tickets online from 27 February. 

You can download the timetable in PDF format here.


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