The Grief Gallery




The Grief Gallery


Curating Grief Pop-Up


September 2022

London, UK and Online

As part of the 20th edition of the London Design Festival,  The Grief Gallery presents the Curating Grief pop-up in the Shoreditch Design Triangle.

This installation of The Grief Gallery features curator and grief coach Charlene Lam taking to the streets of East London with a travelling exhibition plinth. We welcome visitors to acknowledge personal and collective losses through the contemplation and celebration of objects: the ones left by people we’ve lost and kept by those left behind.

Festival visitors visitors and the community were invited to share their stories and to add a cherished object to The Grief Gallery’s collection, either in-person in Shoreditch where the item can be photographed and recorded, or virtually at the online gallery wall at www.thegriefgallery.com

Where: Arnold Circus bandstand, E2 7JS, Shoreditch, East London

Opening Times: Thu 22nd – Sun 25th September, 12-3pm

How to Take Part: Reserve a time to meet with curator Charlene Lam in-person in Shoreditch. Alternatively, you’re welcome to just show up!

Additional times around the Shoreditch neighborhood by whim and by appointment, to be announced here and on Instagram @curating_grief

Arnold Circus

Arnold Circus, and its surrounding public gardens, is a leafy oasis and a place of solace for many in the neighbourhood. When I lived in Shoreditch, I spent a lot of time wandering the streets that radiate out from the roundabout, and especially after my mother died, just sitting on its benches, soaking in the quiet and greenery.

The bandstand is perched on a hill built from the remains of a notorious Victorian slum torn down to build the UK’s first social housing, the Boundary Estate. That vision of building on ruins is yet another reason I’m drawn to this spot as a location for healing and connection.

The Boundary Gardens and Arnold Circus are maintained by the amazing volunteers at The Friends of Arnold Circus. Check out their site to learn more about the history, and consider donating to support their good work!

The Gallery Plinth

As an independent curator, art lover and gallery goer, I’ve always been fascinated by what a difference a plinth makes. In a gallery, it’s the display pedestal or box that artwork is placed on.

Putting an object on a plinth elevates it — literally and figuratively. People see the object differently. It’s been deemed important — by someone. Well, the people we lost and their associated objects and stories are important — to us. They deserve at least a moment on the proverbial plinth.

Soy Sauce bottle on gallery plinth
Tomato pin cushion
Red vintage travel bag in a gallery


Contribute to

The Grief Gallery’s Collection


What objects and belongings did you keep after a loved one died?

Contribute your selected object and stories to The Grief Gallery’s online collection (ongoing).


The Grief Gallery monthly gathering

Wednesday Oct 26th , 2pm ET (NYC) / 7pm UK time

Part of the Reimagine End of Life Event Calendar


Do you need help?

Need help with grief, or know someone who does?


She Was Asian American

Part of NYCxDESIGN, May 2022

Featuring photographs, belongings and stories of Asian American women, including the curator’s Chinese-American mother and other family members

The Grief Gallery at DesignTO

Part of the DesignTO Festival in Toronto, Canada, January 2022

During Toronto’s annual design festival, The Grief Gallery welcomed visitors to acknowledge personal and collective losses through the contemplation and celebration of objects: the belongings of loved ones lost. 


Part of NYCxDESIGN, November 2021

An online exhibition exploring the role of the camera in processing grief and loss during New York City’s annual design festival. Three New York creatives who have lost loved ones share their photography-based projects.

The Grief Gallery at LDF21

Part of the London Design Festival and Shoreditch Design Triangle, September 2021

Visitors are invited to explore these universal themes through creative work commissioned in memory of loved ones.


Why a Grief Gallery?

When my mom died 9 years ago, I was working as an independent curator in London. My pop-up exhibitions showcased the work of designers, makers and artists, under the names Creative Clerkenwell and The Creative Edit.

When it came time to pick out an urn for my mom’s ashes, I commissioned a custom porcelain urn from an East London ceramicist whose work I loved.

That was the start of my work as a Grief Curator. Over the years, I’ve commissioned illustrations, paper art and photoshoots in memory of my mom and others’ loved ones. I’ve presented exhibitions in London and Brooklyn about grief and loss.

Channeling my grief into creating and commissioning work from designers and makers has been an incredibly rewarding and healing experience.

After an extended period of grief and loss on many levels, I invite visitors to explore the universal themes of grief and loss through this creative lens. Out of darkness and pain, we can craft beauty and create meaning.

– Charlene Lam, Curator and Founder, The Grief Gallery


Why a grief gallery? Learn More

The Grief Gallery was founded by curator and grief coach Charlene Lam.

Interested in learning more about grief coaching? Get in touch to book a complimentary 30min call.





Join us for The Grief Gallery's monthly grief gathering the last Wednesday of the month.