[Nick Hillier:] Medical science has done a great job at keeping people alive for longer We have an aging population Unfortunately, we’ve all got to die of something at some point and what were going to see in the coming years is the number of deaths each year rising, potentially up to an extra 100,000 people dying each year in the UK by 2040. It’s important that we do the right research now in order to look after those people in the future [Amanda Gore:] We started this project with the Academy 18 months ago looking at the topic of death and dying and how we could encourage people to have more conversations about it. We took inspiration from the theme of travel because death is the destination for all of us and the journey can be different depending on how prepared we are just as with travel and holidays that we all experience [Nick:] And what we hope is that people will come into the space and they’ll give us their views as to what a good death means to them and we’ll take those views and feed them into some policy work the Academy is doing in order to change how we fund and how we govern end of life care research. We want to speak to as diverse range of people as possible and that’s why we chose Lewisham Shopping Centre We want to get people in who might not normally come into a science museum or go along to a science event. And we’re really hoping we’ll catch people who are going about their day to day activities so while they are doing their shopping to get them to come into the space and hear from them what a good death might mean to them [Tom:] I think choosing to do this in Lewisham was a stoke of genius because we are getting such a diverse group of people We’re getting people from all walks of life, all races there are people from everywhere in Lewisham and they’re all coming in to talk to us so that’s wonderful We worked with a team of researchers and healthcare professionals who work in hospitals or research institutions to come into the space and to have conversations with members of the public. To answer questions they may about death and dying but also to hear from them what they’ve got to say. [Bambii:] A lot of people are telling us their experiences or what they want because they’ve seen a family member go through something that they really don’t want to or its just made them think ‘okay yeah I understand now that I have a lot of options’ The under thirty’s are the ones talking the most as well like they’re really interested in the conversation they’re really interested in talking to the guides, talking to the hosts having a look at the space, bringing their friends back We had a few school kids come back like three days in a row I’m honestly surprised and proud of the younger generation in Lewisham and how much they are enjoying using this space. [Ninon:] We all reassure them that this is okay to talk about, its safe just like if you talk about sex you’re not going to get pregnant and if you talk about death you’re not going to die. They’ve been curious and its like throwing a pebble into a pond we’ll never know where those ripples go Even if they just talk to one family member its going to make a difference. [Tom:] There are people coming in thinking that we sell luggage and by the end of the conversation they say ‘actually I don’t know how to get a will how do I do that?’ How much time people spend here can be anything from a few seconds when they find out what it is and say ‘huh not for me’ and leave to people who spend hours taking it all in and then talking to us and having giant conversations with us which is amazing. I think its really refreshing to be able to have permission to talk about something that we don’t normally talk about I’ve learnt quite a lot today, my minds buzzing its like whoa This is not what I expected, I’m really glad that I came. [Amanda Gore:] Its been fascinating how much the mainstream media have picked up on The Departure Lounge I think it really speaks to the fact that people are looking for this conversation to happen It’s spreading the word and its showing that people are really interested in helping this conversation spread and hopefully that’ll help people learn what is needed in terms of medical research and support