Projecting Grief: Take Part in a Groundbreaking Project with Thackray

A portrait of a man sat in a patch of grass.
One of Projecting Grief’s portraits of Poet and Spoken word artist Mstr Samuel.

Thackray is collaborating with Projecting Grief, a project which tells the stories of people finding comfort, distraction or hope in a creative pursuit after losing someone they love. 

What is Projecting Grief?

Projecting Grief is an online gallery exploring the relationship between loss, creativity and healing. The project is a collaboration between photographer Jo Ritchie and writer Laura McDonagh, who both have personal experience of losing someone close to them. Together, they photograph and interview people with a wide range of creative practices which they used as a distraction, relief or an expression after loss.  

Since the project started, they’ve collaborated with organisations such as Leeds International Festival of Ideas (LIFI), NHS Greater Manchester Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Support, Shining a Light on Suicide, the LS14 Trust and most recently Leeds City Museum. The work they’ve done on these projects includes showcasing some of the stories they’ve collected in pop-up exhibitions, and running different creative workshops with facilitators who have all also experienced bereavement. 

When is it Coming to Thackray?

We will be hosting an exhibition of their existing stories, along with some newly commissioned portraits, in the museum from September 2024. It will feature on the first floor of the museum and run for a year. We’re very excited about having something a bit different to a lot of Thackray’s permanent exhibitions on display, and which is so person-focused. 

“When we tell stories of medicine at the museum, we’re mostly telling stories of life and healing, of how healthcare helps people to ‘feel better’. However, we know that’s not the full story and that loss is a natural part of medicine too, which has a huge impact on everyone involved. Jo and Laura’s work is such a beautiful and moving way of exploring what healing can look like for people who are grieving a loved one, and we’re really looking forward to helping people to connect with those stories.” 

Jamie Taylor, Director of Collections and Programmes 

How to Get Involved

Another aim of the exhibition is to bring more stories from local communities into the museum, so that people feel from the area feel their experiences are reflected on the galleries. To build on the existing collection of portraits and interviews, we’re commissioning up to 4 people based in Harehills, Burmantofts or Gipton to take part in Projecting Grief over July and August. We’re hoping that these portraits will reflect a wide range of our neighbours’ experiences, whether that’s in the healthcare system or within their personal lives. 

These participants will have a photoshoot with Jo, and a 1.5-2 hour interview with Laura, arranged at a convenient time. These stories and images will then be made public on the Projecting Grief website, socials and in the exhibition at the museum, as well as potential future exhibitions. 

For more information visit 

Contact [email protected] if you’re interested in taking part.