Exhibition encourages people to talk about death

Posted on Friday 17th March 2017

The “Art of Dying” was the basis for an exhibition held in the Social Learning Zone yesterday (16 March 2017).

Artwork by people involved with palliative and end of life care, patients and relatives was displayed as part of a collaboration between Bolton Hospice, Bolton Foundation Trust and the University of Bolton.

The project encourages people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement and to make plans for end of life.

Leigh Valance, Chief Executive of Bolton Hospice, said: ‘We collaborate in many ways and today it is our joint commitment to the Dying Matters coalition who promote National Dying Matters week in May.

‘Today’s event reflects thoughts and feelings about death by the contributors which are heart-warming, challenging and thought provoking.

‘All of the work is featured in an online gallery and at the end of today the visitors vote choice will be submitted to the Greater Manchester wide exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery during Dying Matters Week.’


Left to right: Dr Barbara Downes, Consultant in Palliative Medicine; Andy Wells, End of Life Educator; Mary Stubbs, Creative Therapist at Bolton hospice; Ellen Scowcroft, SPC MOT Co-ordinator; Laura Prescott, Bereavement Nurse Liaison RBH.

Twenty-three pieces of artwork were submitted as well as Mexican “Day of the Dead” skulls decorated by pupils of Romiley Out of School Club.

Dr Barbara Downes works as a Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Bolton Foundation Trust. Her role involves caring for patients facing serious life shortening illness, ensuring that they have their physical, emotional and practical needs managed as well as possible.

She said: ‘Dying is a great taboo and can be so difficult to talk about. These days we have great expectations of health care; for us to live longer, for illness to be cured and life prolonged.

‘But death happens, it’s a fact of life for everybody and it happens in different ways.  

 ‘We all need to consider what, if the worst happens, you would want; open conversation about these things does so much to help families cope with death, and bereavement’

‘Today’s event aims to deal with that taboo, talking about death doesn’t make it happen but does help us all deal with it better.’