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.

Public Dialogue

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 and use what we heard to help policymakers and end-of-life researchers.


The original pop-up installation was open for a month in May and June 2019 in Lewisham Shopping Centre, south London. It was free and open to all.

Modelled on an airport departure lounge, the 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.

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 original installation dates were chosen to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week (13-19 May 2019).

Here’s 5 things our innovative installation taught us about starting conversations about the end of life.

Evaluation: read an overview of the project with our independent evaluation report (also available to download from the side of this page).

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