How the Arts can be used to explore ‘Dying Matters’ with Healthcare Professionals

Guernsey Arts Commission has been working with HSSD to support Dying Matters week through art. You may have seen the ‘Before I Die…’ wall in Market Square.

Before I Die

This wall is part of an international project set up by artist Candy Chang. These walls have been produced all over the world in over 475 countries and now in Guernsey!!

We were then invited to deliver a workshop to health and social care professionals at a clinical presentation at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Karen Leach, Lead Cancer Nurse gave a presentation on Dying Matters, the theme for this year being ‘You Only Die Once’. We wanted the healthcare professionals to start exploring what ‘Dying Matters’ meant to them. We started the session by showing the artist Candy Chang talking about the ‘Before I Die’ wall and why she made it. Artist Nicky Colclough then encouraged the staff to talk about what they wanted to do before they die. They then put their wishes inside of an origami heart which we then displayed in the hospital.

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Watch it here

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Lottie Barnes and Antonia Ramsey then talked about the Ghanaian tradition of custom built coffins that represented that person often in a form that was symbolic of thier profession. This coffin was for a pilot.


A coffin being made in the shape of a fish near Accra

A fish shaped coffin is paraded through the streets of Accra

We asked the staff to design thier own coffins, we asked them how they would want to be remembered. Did they want to represent thier job? An achievement? Part of thier personality or a certain charateristic?

Here are a few examples:


Can you see the Guernsey flag? And the Red Cross? How do you think these people want to be remebered?

If you would like to find out more about ‘Dying Matters’ check out the website

Or go to the OSA Pop-up Shop on Smith Street where you canbget information and advice and you will also get a chance to write on part of our ‘Before I Die’ wall.

before i die

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