The BIG Conversation

Pilgrims Hospices will be hosting a mini arts festival on Saturday the 18th of May at their education centre on London Road, Canterbury. It will bring together local community groups, artists, health professionals and local businesses to run a series of interactive workshops, talks and information stands, all designed to encourage reflection and conversation around death, dying and bereavement. The festival will form part of a wider national programme of events for Dying Matters Week 2019. Dying matters week is a national campaign which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement and to make plans for the end of life. Workshops will include: • Life drawing with Art in Canterbury.

Based in Conquest House in Canterbury City Centre, Art in Canterbury run regular life drawing classes for all levels of skill and experience. This workshop will include reflective discussion on mortality and celebrating life and is open to all levels including complete beginners.

• Profane embroidery workshop with Profanity Embroidery Group, Whitstable. P.E.G. Whitstable are a group of embroiderers and textile artists who have made a name for themselves by ‘saying the unsayable’ through their profane and sweary embroidery creations and campaigns. There is no stitching experience necessary to join in and participants will work alongside members of P.E.G to create an alternative embroidered spin on their thoughts around death.

• Singing with the Lemon Zingers. The Lemon Zingers are a vibrant and upbeat local choir who rehearse and perform regularly around Canterbury. Participants are invited to an open rehearsal with the choir as the festival comes to an end to sing songs to celebrate life, love and memory.

• Remembrance wreath making with Essentially Hops. Essentially Hops are a family run business based in Bekesbourne and use Kentish hops and wildflowers in their displays. Participants will be using materials from the hospice garden, as well as joining in with discussion around the meaning and history of remembrance tributes as they craft their wreaths.

• Alternative funeral ideas workshop with Holly’s Funerals. Holly’s funerals are a contemporary funeral company working across Kent and East Sussex. They work quite differently from a traditional funeral directors and will be helping attendees to think creatively about some alternative ways to say goodbye and celebrate the lives of their loved ones.

• Will writing with Boys and Maughan solicitors. Boys and Maughan Solicitors are based on Broad Street in Canterbury and will be helping attendees get to grips with the ins and outs of writing a will and dealing with probate, with allotted time to answers questions and queries. • The role of a death doula Toby Lee-Manning and colleagues from End of Life Doula UK will be discussing the role of a Death Doula and taking questions on this subject.

• Living with Loss Sophie Van Walwyk, Head of Psychosocial and Wellbeing Services, Pilgrims Hospices. There will also be refreshments for sale and an Information fair open all day for anyone to come along and ask questions about anything from natural burials grounds and eco-friendly coffins to bereavement support and the role of a death doula.

The festival will take place at the Ann Robertson Centre on London Road and in the Pilgrims Therapy Centre behind it from 10am – 5pm.

The festival will also extend to Barham Crematorium which will be holding an open day and tours for those who would like to come and ask questions. Entry to ‘The Big Conversation’ is free although some workshops do include a fee to cover the cost of materials and tuition.

Places for workshops can be booked via or by calling 01227 812616.


London Road,

Entry Price

Free to attend, some workshops are charged