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P-3 Evaluation of good grief festival, a public engagement initiative on grief and bereavement
  1. Lucy Selman,
  2. Nicholas Turner,
  3. Fiona Fox,
  4. Charlotte Chamberlain,
  5. Lesel Dawson,
  6. Aisling Mustan and
  7. Alison Rivett
  1. University of Bristol, Wild Thing Creative (Mustan)


Background Good Grief Festival was planned as a face-to-face festival to engage the public in multi-disciplinary research about grief and bereavement. Due to COVID-19, the festival was held online over 3 days in October 2020.

Aim To evaluate the festival’s reach and impact.

Methods A pre/post evaluation was conducted via online surveys. Pre-festival surveys assessed reasons for attending and attitudes to bereavement across 4 items (being scared of saying the wrong thing, avoiding talking to someone bereaved, knowing what to do if someone bereaved was having trouble, knowing what kind of help/support to offer). Post-festival surveys evaluated audience experiences and the 4 attitude items.

Results 8500+ people attended, with most attending 2–5 events. Pre-festival survey participants (n=3785) were majority women (91%) and White (91%). 9% were from Black or minoritized ethnic communities. 14% were age ≥65 years, 16% age ≤34 years. 44% were members of the public. A third had been bereaved in the last year; 6% had never been bereaved. People attended to learn about grief/bereavement (77%), be inspired (52%) and feel part of a community (49%). Post-festival participants (n=685) reported feeling part of a community (68%), learning about grief/bereavement (68%) and being inspired (66%). 89% rated the festival as excellent/very good, with a higher rating associated with attending a greater number of events. 75% agreed that through attending they felt more confident talking about grief. Post-festival attitudes were significantly higher across all 4 items (P<0.001). Free-text data showed appreciation e.g. for the online format, connection in the context of lockdown and ethnic diversity in speakers. Suggestions included improving registration, more interactive/arts-based events and reducing the volume of content.

Conclusion Good Grief Festival was successful at reaching a large public audience, with data indicating benefit in terms of engagement and confidence. The evaluation was critical in shaping future events.

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