What it is to Be There: Exploring Grief, Place and Memory
Although grief is a universal, human experience, it still remains a taboo subject for many. By focusing on a personal, lived experience of disenfranchised grief, this research aims to open up conversations about death and bereavement, in a manner that destigmatises grief and promotes compassion and understanding.
What did the project involve?
Although grief is a universal, human experience, it still remains a taboo subject for many. By focusing on a personal, lived experience of disenfranchised grief, the project sought to open up conversations about death and bereavement, in a manner that destigmatises grief and promotes compassion and understanding.
It also explored the links between physical and emotional places and how geography interacts with thinking, feeling, materiality, and memory.
The project focused on Acklam’s long-term project, ‘What it is to be there’, considering its potential for development into practice-based and creative interdisciplinary research. It engaged in practice as research, investing these ideas through site specific creative activities and also through meetings where the research team reflected on how their experiences and activities engage wider research ideas and questions.
Through a workshop, this ideas exchange project developed new partnerships across disciplines and with the wider community with an aim to establish an interdisciplinary working group.
Who are the team and what do they bring?
- Helen Acklam (Independent artist) is a creative whose practice explores ideas and questions emerging from an exploration of the self and identity and the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures
- Julian Brigstocke (Human Geography, Cardiff University) has expertise in cultural geography, non-representational theory and creativity, and ideas about thinking as material.
- Lesel Dawson (English, University of Bristol) is a researcher centred on the history of psychology, focusing on how representations of the experience of grief and the meanings attributed to it have changed over time. Lesel has published academic work on the history of emotions and on theatrical and cinematic representations of grief.
What were the results?
The project established an interdisciplinary working group with a view to developing further research ideas and grant applications, including ideas for a practice-based research.
The collaboration between the researchers allowed Helen Acklam to produce a public facing document What it is to be There. The work was brought together in April 23 during a residency at The Factory, Porth.