About the Festival of Life and Death…
The Festival of Life and Death (FoLaD) was founded and developed by Alan Chapman with considerable help and inspiration from many other much more clever and brilliant people.
The first FoLaD launch event was in Leicester in November 2017, and the first main FoLaD events were 8th Sept 2018, and that weekend. The first main ‘satellite’ FoLaDs were Bournemouth UK, and the Blaby District of Leicestershire.
The Festival of Life and Death (FoLaD) is a broad bold innovative movement, or concept; a new sort of social enterprise for the modern age. While FoLaD’s ‘HQ’ and founding hub is in Leicester, UK, its purpose (global suicide prevention, and all that this implies – actually a peaceful well world without suicide) requires a highly accessible, adaptable, adoptable ‘open-source’ constitutional model. Arguably much else in the world would benefit from such openness and invention, for example governance, economics, education, politics, environment, law, technology, etc., and while these are separate subjects they all potentially fall within FoLaD’s interests, not least because the archaic and bureaucratic systems by which these areas are controlled and managed, are responsible for much of the distress in the modern world.
FoLaD at a founding level is constituted with clear aims (stated on this website), transparency of reporting, and completely open membership. FoLaD (founding HQ/hub) is not an officially registered company or charity, and will remain so until/unless there is compelling reason for official registered incorporation. Regional or international FoLaDs may constitute in whatever ways are helpful for their local interpretations and needs towards suicide prevention.
FoLaD emerged from many years’ work in different fields related to societal/human wellness, ethical leadership education, and notably from the aftermath of the suicide of Alan Chapman’s partner Liane Ashberry in 2015. Many other people lost to suicide, bereaved by suicide, and affected in other ways by suicide and suicide attempts, and the growing mental health iceberg beneath this, internationally, helped inspire and create FoLaD. Thank you all.
The Festival of Life and Death is a completely FREE open inclusive concept for anyone to use, if you are interested in improving wellness for people and societies, especially addressing suicide awareness and prevention, and to help make a better world.
The underpinning ideas of FoLaD – and the growing network of FoLaD supporters – will increasingly be extended to the commercial and governance sectors – i.e., workplaces, employers, training, etc. The corporate and employer sectors offer vast potential to help improve people’s wellness, to educate about and reduce suicides and suicide attempts, and also to help fund the provision of FoLaD suicide awareness and prevention activities to sectors/communities that are less able to pay for such intiatives.
If you are in the corporate sector, and wish to explore how you can help educate about and prevent suicides, please get in touch. We are looking for innovative forward-thinking compassionate organizations and leaders in the corporate world who want to address mental health and suicide much more deeply and meaningfully than ever before.
Also please get in touch if you:
- want simply to attend and be part of FoLaD,
- or want to help spread the word,
- or start your own Festival of Life and Death event – Please do it – no need to ask, just do it
- or participate as a speaker,
- or as an artist or writer,
- or a musician or dancer or poet,
- or you have a choir or orchestra or dance school and want to perfom,
- or you have a drama group, or you can juggle or play the spoons,
- or you are therapist or gardener,
- or you are a carer or nurse,
- or you are an academic or expert or researcher – and you know what works because you have the evidence
- or you work with horses or dogs, or clay or wood, or flowers or fish,
- or water or sand, or sticks and stones,
- or you are grieving or troubled,
- or you know what it is to be grieving and troubled,
- or you are an expert or practitioner or leader or worker of a group/organization in any aspect of mental health or wellness or suicide,
- or you might have something else to offer, such as a venue or product or service, or transport, or merchandise or mindfulness
- or you want to make cakes or serve tea,
- or you want to sit and talk and listen and be heard and understood
- and laugh and/or cry, and sing or dance, and eat cakes and drink tea…
…really anything qualifies you to become involved and to make a difference.
You might also want to change the world in some way – to question why society is so unwell, and why life is so much less fair than it could be.
The Festival of Life and Death is a way for ordinary people to get together and make a very big impact, and to enable a great amount of good to happen.
There is so much that we can do to live better.
Suicide is a central issue within the Festival of Life and Death because suicide is the most dangerous tip of the mental health iceberg.
Suicide is also a very reliable indicator of how well the world is.
Suicide rates have risen by 60% since 1970.
If we can dramatically reduce suicides, especially among young people, for whom suicide rates are rising fastest, we implicitly improve most other things in life.
This starts with awareness and breaking taboos, and enabling people to gather and talk, and to understand how we can all be well.
Suicide prevention is not the solution though.
The solution is living well, in every possible way, which means improving the modern world and modern life.
To live more like we are designed to live. To eat well, sleep well, exercise, socialise, sing and dance, and laugh and play, and to work in ways that make us happy and fulfilled, not ill and sad.
There are countless wonderful groups and organizations and pioneering individuals, all working in different ways to improve how we live, and the world we live in.
Joining and working together, to understand and help make the differences we want to see, is a very big part of the The Festival of Life and Death.
Change happens when people work together.
Leicester is the founding venue. 8th September 2018.
Other places and cities anywhere in the world can run Festival of Life and Death events.
Start a Festival of Life and Death event. Be part of the solution.
The Festival of Life and Death is FREE. Any donations are entirely voluntary. Organisers can decide which charities locally to support if they choose to do so.
The purpose of the Festival is to raise awareness, to educate, offer inspiration, hope, comfort, friendship, and hopefully help improve how we all live.
The Festival of Life and Death is open to everyone – to attend, to participate, and to offer and innovate and create your own activities to support the aims.
The aims of the Festival of Life and Death are basically to…
- Educate and raise awareness about suicide.
- Extend this to as many aspects of mental health and especially wellness as possible.
- Help to improve how we live and die.
- Raise some money for relevant charities if you choose.
- Do all the above with integrity, passion, love and joy, and as inclusively and simply as possible.
- Do all the above with strong emphasis on wellness, positivity, entertainment, fun, laughter, openness, diversity, imagination and innovation.
We will probably find better ways to define all this, and we are open to input and feedback about this and anything else any time.
The reason for and the Festival of Life and Death…
The Festival of Life and Death was founded and developed by Alan Chapman, with considerable help and inspiration from many other much more clever and brilliant people. The Festival of Life and Death event name was suggested by Jed Spittle, a friend and founding director of the Haymarket Theatre consortium. I’m grateful also to Michael for suggesting the term ‘open source’ in describing the free use of the Festival of Life and Death concept and branding.
Alan Chapman was born in London in 1957 and after a career in business he founded the free ethical work/life/leadership education website Businessballs.com, which remains important in his work. Alan lost his partner Liane Ashberry to suicide in April 2015, and afterwards experienced further life-changing traumas and stresses. This caused ongoing suicidal depression/anxiety, and deep personal growth and work, including conceiving the Festival of Life and Death.
The Festival of Life and Death grew from the urge to find meaning, good, and purpose from deep personal loss and trauma.
Many other people experience similar urges and produce extraordinary legacies and help for others, borne from loss, personal struggles, bereavement, and disasters, etc. Many such people, including Liane Ashberry, continue to inspire the Festival of Life and Death.
Alan has lived/worked at his farmhouse base in Anstey, near Leicester UK since 1991. Alan is not an academic. His main skills are communicating, creating and enabling. Alan’s passions and his work, music, hugging, writing, reading, the love of friends and family, running, eating/drinking clean natural things, and mindfulness.
FoLaD founding Aims and Constitution
Please note that FoLaD’s open format means that other FoLaD groups/initiatives are free to develop their own interpretations and constitutions.
The Festival of Life and Death is a recent concept (2017) and still evolving.
FoLaD’s primary aim is to reduce suicides, by:
- breaking suicide taboos and encouraging people to talk about suicide
- raising awareness and educating about suicide
- advocating and enabling wellness ideas and experiences, especially via local groups and communities, and especially using arts, entertainment, food and drink, nature, and human interaction (hence festivals and gatherings)
FoLaD’s secondary aims are to:
- offer comfort and platform for people bereaved or threatened by suicide, via festivals/support networks/other agencies and initiatives
- contribute to educating and shifting attitudes and policies at corporate and governance levels, internationally
The Festival of Life and Death determinedly has the lowest possible infrastracture and costs.
FoLaD as founded is not strongly focused on raising money. FoLaD’s priorities are raising awareness and enabling positive change.
FoLaD seeks to grow organically as a movement with minimal infrastructure; open to all, making best use of modern peer-to-peer communications and collaborative technologies.
At some time FoLaD, or initiatives/groups within FoLaD might choose to constitute as a formal charity or Limited Company, such as a CIC. Until such time, FoLaD is operated as a non-profit movement, founded and led (notably formation, and Leicester/London FoLaDs) by Alan Chapman, alongside Alan’s other social enterprise work, constituted as a sole trader. Alan has funded FoLaD to date, and has received some donations towards the costs. Details of accounts will be published within the second year of operation, i.e., during 2019.
Meanwhile here is a rough summary of expenditure and income:
Broad financial summary of FoLaD to date (after FoLaD events Sept 2018):
Design, publicity, website costs – £4,980
Travel, admin, events costs – £550
Main payment to Haymarket Theatre – £400*
Appx main costs to date – £5,900
Anonymous donation – £390
* Funds of c.£2,000 were raised by Leicestershire NCS (National Citizens Service) during summer 2018 for FoLaD will be used to pay Haymarket Theatre outstanding balance, and (stipulated by NCS Leics) to fund central FoLaD development and activities in Leicestershire; for example website, design/marketing, and FoLaD suicide/mental health/wellness initiatives in the workplace and corporate/employment/governance sectors. Incidentally these ‘corporate’ activities are opportunity/need to extend FoLaD-related activities into these areas, and importantly also to generate income, thereby funding free activities/events in the state/community sectors, which have much less ability to pay than in the corporate world.
The Festival of Life and Death (FoLaD ) is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.