Both Sides, Now: Living Well, Leaving Well is a programme by ArtsWok Collaborative, an arts-based community development organisation in Singapore. Both Sides, Now (BSN) develops spaces that encourage end-of-life conversations through arts practices and creative approaches. We work with and equip individuals, families and communities to explore, express, and enact what living well and leaving well might mean to them.
We believe death and dying are natural facets of life and discussing them should not be regarded as morbid or taboo. Instead, it can be gentle and hopeful, reminding us how we wish to live and what truly matters to us.
These conversations matter regardless of our age. They include planning for the end, understanding the options available, ensuring a dignified departure, and talking to our loved ones about values and choices. BSN aims to raise awareness, encourage reflection, and spark conversations. Ultimately, recognising that death and dying are an integral part of living.
Originally commissioned as a project by Lien Foundation and Ang Chin Moh Foundation, and co-presented with Drama Box (2013-2022), BSN has evolved through various editions with different place-based and cultural communities. These editions were designed with public outreach and community engagement in mind. As of 2022, more than 28,500 audiences and participants have experienced BSN, with over 500 volunteers who have supported this programme in various capacities.
From 2023, BSN’s evolutionary journey continues as an ArtsWok Collaborative flagship programme, through which we deepen our community engagement and adopt community development approaches to working with communities. Employing longer-term and more intimate engagement with communities through the arts, we aim to develop supportive communities for living well, and leaving well. In addition, our shorter-term community engagement projects generate individual capacity to have end-of-life conversations in various settings. We also offer workshops on end-of-life communication for care staff, arts practitioners, and the public.