Reconfiguring Grief in Film: Creative Collaborations in Lost Property

Lesel D Dawson, Jimmy Hay, Natasha Rosling

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


This is a case-study of a collaborative project that aimed to represent the embodied experience of grief in a fiction film. It involved academics; an artist; therapists and counsellors who work with the bereaved; and professional actors, cinematographers, sound engineers, and other film crew. Drawing on interviews with grief counsellors and palliative health care professionals and their own personal experiences of loss, Dawson, Hay and Rosling explored different cinematic techniques and forms of storytelling, and considered how the creative process impacts memories and emotions. By representing grief in a more phenomenologically-minded manner, the project aimed to capture the lived experience of loss on screen whilst contributing meaningfully to the discourse on practice-as-research.
Dawson, Hay and Rosling had different aims and working methods: whereas Hay and Rosling were interested in capturing the embodied experience of grief through non-linear cinematic techniques, Dawson wanted to explore the subject through narrative. While these approaches were sometimes in conflict, the differences between them invigorated the creative process and framed the overarching design of the final film. In this article, we will share: our research methods and processes; the creative and practical problems we faced; the impact of the project on our research; and how our different agendas and approaches led to the tensions which were crucial to the making of the film, Lost Property.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch for All
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2020


  • grief
  • loss
  • practice as research
  • creativity
  • cinema
  • film
  • objects
  • memory


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