‘The Departure Lounge’ is a taboo-busting and free-to-all installation opening for one month. The pop-up shop uses the metaphor of travel, findings from medical science, and personal stories from the end of life to explore what it means to have a ‘good death’. The project has been created by the Academy of Medical Sciences and public engagement specialists The Liminal Space to help empower the public to talk more openly about the inevitable last journey in our lives.
Walking past The Departure Lounge, shoppers will see what appear to be travel posters promoting exotic destinations in the windows. On closer inspection, the slogans are actually common phrases we all use to avoid talking about death.
Inside, visitors find themselves in an airport departure lounge where suitcases tell stories of lives well lived and luggage tags reveal how medical science has changed the way we die. An interactive life-size departures board will help visitors answer pertinent questions about death and explore what matters most at the end of life personally, and for their loved ones. At the departure gates visitors will have the opportunity to talk to a diverse range of experts in end of life care and death and dying research.
Visitors to The Departure Lounge will be encouraged to record and share views on what is most important to them at the end of life. This information, along with the findings from eight discussion workshops with people recruited from different ages, faiths and backgrounds conducted by Ipsos MORI, will feed public views into the Academy’s activities to inform research and healthcare policy in end of life care.
The Departure Lounge is supported by The Health Foundation and Wellcome Trust and the opening is timed to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness week (13-19 May 2019).