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Training Course: Arts and Culture – Bereavement and Grief

IHF Arts Training course grief bereavement tutors

We are developing this training course to explore the many roles of arts and culture in contemporary dying, grief and bereavement. It’s aimed at professionals in the arts and health who work with, or are interested in working with, people who have experienced loss. A prototype version was successfully trialled in May 2024. 

While small in number, there are a selection of practitioners representing a range of clinical and creative backgrounds across Ireland currently working through creative arts to support people impacted by grief and loss. However, there appears to be limited understanding of each other’s disciplines, and this is often thought of not as abundance, but as competition. Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) recognises there is need for complementary or discreet skills training and is developing an Arts and Culture – Bereavement and Grief training course to fill this space.  

A prototype modular version of this programme was held in May 2024 funded by Creative Ireland. Teaching methods were in person and online conducted over two weekends and four evenings. Interactive materials and case studies underpinning an array of topics were delivered by collaborators representing a cross-section of arts and health organisations.  

These included staff from Helium Arts, RSCI, LauraLynn Children’s Hospice, St Francis Hospice, Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists (ICAT), Milford Care Centre, Marymount Hospice, Anam Music Therapy, SoloSirens, and Réalta (the national arts and health development agency) alongside the IHF team. 

It was attended by an exceptional group of 14 arts and health professionals bringing together a diverse range of lived and learnt experience. These were selected from 116 applicants, and included researchers / practitioners involved in oncology, perinatal loss, psychology, primary schools, social work, acute hospitals, along with creatives involved in dance, music, movement, and literature. Developing an outline of a project formed part of the learning outcomes. Other learning outcomes included:  

      • Understanding of the scope and breadth of Irish Hospice Foundation’s work 

      • Contemporary understanding of Grief, Loss and Bereavement  

      • Existing supports and resources across Ireland 

      • Roles and functions of creative work  

      • Appreciation of what different art forms may offer  

      • Self-care and work practices 
      • Awareness of the requirements of working creatively in hospitals and community 

      We also engaged 2Into3 to provide an evaluation of this training course. We look forward to publishing their findings here shortly.  

      The course was designed and led by Dominic Campbell, our Arts and Cultural Engagement Manager, and developed further in conjunction with our education lead medical expert and consultant, Aisling Lavelle.  It evolved from two days of skills and information exchange facilitated earlier this year as a first step in exploring how diversity of practice can be complementary. This was attended by creatives and healthcare professionals representing a spectrum of practices.  

      If you are interested in learning more about the course or want to attend a future version, email [email protected] 

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