Therapeutic Creativity and the Lived Experience of Grief in the Collaborative Fiction Film Lost Property

Lesel D Dawson, Jimmy Hay, Natasha Rosling

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


This collaborative project aimed to represent the embodied experience of grief in a fiction film by drawing on research and the personal and professional experience of all involved: academics; an artist; bereavement therapists and counsellors; and professional actors, cinematographers, sound engineers, and other film crew. By representing grief in a more phenomenologically-minded manner, the project sought to capture the lived experience of loss on screen whilst contributing meaningfully to the discourse on practice-as-research.
Hay, Dawson, and Rosling used a collaborative fiction film and participatory action research (PAR) to investigate whether storying loss and representing it through narrative, images, and embodied movement is therapeutic. PAR was beneficial in facilitating changes in the co-researchers’ thinking, feeling, and practice and in enabling participants to inhabit multiple roles in a manner that expanded their disciplinary boundaries. However, while the project’s effect on some of the participants demonstrated the ways that creativity and meaning-making can support adaptive grieving, it also revealed the risks of using PAR and fiction film to investigate highly emotive topics such as grief.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch for All
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 May 2021


  • grief
  • loss
  • creativity
  • Participatory Action Research
  • meaning-making
  • adaptive grieving
  • objects
  • practice as research


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