Grief and Collaborative Storytelling: The Colours of Loss

Lesel D Dawson*, Rachel E Hare, Gina Walter, Amanda Seyderhelm, Lucy V Pocock, Lucy E Selman, Mark Knightley, Harriet Madeley, Hannah Tookey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article describes a novel methodology for involving the public in a creative co-produced project about grief, which invited bereaved people to work together to create a fictional story about loss and then reflect on the experience in focus groups. Devised by Crowded Room Theatre Company and researchers at the University of Bristol, the project aimed to explore the risks and benefits of collaborative storytelling about emotionally charged subjects. Thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts generated seven themes: storytelling as protective and enabling; support and understanding; new perspectives; connecting to grief and loved ones who have died; complicated emotions; workshop anxiety; and anticipating the audio story. These findings corroborate research that suggests storytelling can provide a safe space to explore and make meaning from difficult emotions and experiences; it may also appeal to bereaved individuals who are less likely to attend conventional support groups. The audio story created from the workshop recordings is available online (
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Creativity in Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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