What does it mean to have a Good Death? In May 2017, a new arts and cultural festival took place in Birmingham taking on the subject of death and dying. As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2017, A Matter of Life and Death festival hosted an eclectic lineup of events, performances, exhibitions and workshops, encouraging creative and cultural reflection and discussion on life, death and everything in-between. Activities and performances took place at mac Birmingham and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery throughout the week.

Festival highlights included: an interactive eat-along experience exploring the history of funeral food, a hands-on willow coffin weaving workshop, a ‘Death Disco’, a visit to a Natural Burial Ground and Crematorium, an ‘Art Macabre’ life and death drawing salon and a preview performance of an exciting new theatre production called The Death Show.

The programme offered a range of opportunities to join the conversation and debate the issues around death and end of life care. Attendees also gained practical knowledge about how to plan a funeral, and what you can do to help someone cope with dying, death and bereavement.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery also hosted a special curated collections tour.

Our inaugural festival was awarded a Good Funeral Guide Award for the ‘Best Public Engagement’ event in 2017.