The Departure Lounge

We want to encourage people to talk about death and dying, and ensure that medical policy develops in line with people's views.


In 2019 we launched The Departure Lounge, our most ambitious public engagement project to date. We aimed to encourage a national conversation on death and dying, & use what we heard to help policymakers and end-of-life researchers.

  • The pop-up installation was open for a month in summer 2019 in south London. It was free and open to all.
  • A website showcasing material and stories from the exhibition went live in summer 2019. Explore the follow-on website.
  • The flatpack kits took key elements of the hub installation and enabled us to take these conversations to communities around the UK. These kits were distributed free in autumn 2019. 
  • The follow-on website re-used key elements of the installation in a new mobile-friendly format to help people navigate conversations about death in the context of COVID-19.

Here’s 5 things we learnt starting conversations about death.

Read an overview of the project.

Read our independent evaluation report.

The pop-up installation

Modelled on an airport departure lounge, The Departure Lounge installation encouraged people to talk about death, dying and what it means to have a good death. It was staffed by researchers, doctors and hospice workers with experience of death and dying and was based in Lewisham Shopping Centre, south London. Lewisham was chosen to be the starting point for The Departure Lounge as a busy, diverse area which is also the birthplace of the hospice movement. The pop-up installation opening dates were chosen to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week (13-19 May 2019). 

The Departure Lounge was developed by the Academy of Medical Sciences with design agency The Liminal Space.