Next weekend there is a two-week festival (from 10th May) in and around Birmingham entitled “A matter of Life and Death”, running alongside the National Dying Matters Awareness week. This is an ambitious programme of creative events designed to help people to connect and engage in a non- threatening way with the whole subject of death and dying. This follows on from a similar festival organised by BrumYODO last year.

Having seen the level of engagement in such a festival last year, Silks wanted to be a part of this exciting and dynamic initiative, encouraging early and meaningful conversations by all those facing death or serious illness.

We have seen first-hand how using creativity and the medium of the arts can facilitate proper attention to the issues that need addressing at such a time: from end of life care, to planning your own funeral, from writing a will to putting in place an effective Lasting Power of Attorney

Silks are very excited at having teamed up with this festival, alongside the international professional body STEP (Advising Families Across Generations) to help open up those all-important conversations, so that not just the practical, but also the legal, aspects of death and dying are addressed in a timely and measured way. All too often such discussions are postponed until very late in the day when emotions are running high and often time and capacity is running out.

We have events at the John Lewis Community hub all day on Friday which are free, including how to plan a fabulous funeral, a creative “precious” arts and crafts workshop, putting your affairs in order and a Death Café to discuss all things to do with death and dying. On Saturday much of the focus is at the Birmingham Library and is focussed on the family including exploring the effect that death, terminal and serious illness or disability has on siblings within the family and an exhibition of child friendly literature dealing with death, as well as a puppet show exploring grief. In the evening there is a Death over Dinner event hosted by Stirchley Baths. On Sunday more events are planned in and around the city, including a walking tour around the city, an exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and also exhibitors from funeral directors to hospices, legal organisations to palliative carers.

Other events are planned either side of the weekend from 10th – 26th May. These include film showings at the Electric Cinema, events at the Ort Gallery and the Barber Institute.  Our last event being a tour of a local crematorium and natural burial ground.

Many of the festival events are free, although places may be limited so do book in if you plan on coming and don’t want to be disappointed. Other events are subject to a payment of a fee and again the website can direct you to how to book and pay for these events.

We look forward to welcoming you to one or more of our events.