The art of dying: Aesthetics and palliative care

Here is an article I just had published based on my experience working as a Community Artist for St. Christopher's Hospice in South London. This institution was not what may come to mind as a typical hospice, but rather it was a holistic care and education centre, complete with a performance / music room, a large central hall with a cafe and public seating, a gym, a landscaped garden and a wonderful atrium that is used for art workshops. I was part of the Arts Team, a selection of about 8 individuals with specialities in visual arts, graphic design, music, music therapy, video and performance. My time working there was formative and I learned much about death and dying and the arts which I discuss in this paper.

Here is a link to the journal:

You do have to subscribe, though back issues are still free. If you are interested in knowing more about the article just email me.

Abstract below:

Volume 2 Issue 2
Cover Date: August 2011
The art of dying: Aesthetics and palliative care

Authors:  Roberto Sánchez-Camus
DOI: 10.1386/jaah.2.2.155_7

death and dying,liminality,aesthetics,place-making,St Christopher’s Hospice,palliative care,


The Art of Dying explores the function of arts integration into the management of death. The article focuses on a practitioner’s point of view as a Community Artist at St Christopher’s Hospice in London. Looking at how the death process itself functions as a transitory and liminal phase in life, the article proposes that the arts are an integral component of dying. With references to creative texts that have shaped how we view and manage death The Art of Dying demonstrates the methods in which arts can be integrated into the dying process. The creative process is shown through two case studies to assist the dying person in dealing with the complexities of the transitional phase, allowing a level of objectivity and critical thinking. The article concludes with the power of place-making through memory and its impact on legacy and a new narration of life when faced with death.

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