Science of Grief invites Detroiters to share their pain during 14-hour performance at DIA


  • Courtesy photo

Natasha T. Miller had been lamenting the death of her brother for four years when the idea for the Science of Grief came to her.

Miller, a local and nationally renowned poet, says the overnight event is for anyone who needs to express their grief. The 14-hour speaking event will be streamed live, but locals are also invited to join an assembly of silent people who can take part just by listening.

“I’ve been grieving for four years over the death of my brother and I got to a point where I was starting to feel alone because it’s been four years and I thought people were tired of hearing about it,” Miller says. “One late night I was in bed, I started to feel sadness about my brother, but I didn’t want to talk to my circle about it because I felt like I had exhausted them. I woke up the next day and thought about how many other people must be experiencing their own personal grief in silence and from there spawned this crazy idea to open a space overnight where people could come to talk about or listen to stories about grief."

Miller works as a community engagement manager for Science Gallery Lab Detroit and was able to secure them as a sponsor. She was also able to get the Detroit Institute of Arts to host the event.

“The DIA and their team thought this was a very powerful and much needed event and they were happy to host it. It’s also somewhat of a community performance; so viewing grief as a piece of art is in line with the powerful work they’re already doing,” Miller says.

The Science of Grief will be held from 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 through 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 28. There will be a mixture of professional performers, artists, poets, storytellers, and everyday people speaking about their own experiences with grief in 15 minute increments. It's free and open to the public, and audience members are asked to be respectful of performers — no hate speech or disrespectful comments will be tolerated.

Clergy people, therapists, pastors, representatives from nonprofits, and others will be on hand to help those who are seeking guidance in their grief.

Miller says she hopes to do this every year, and feels the form of healing is much needed in Detroit.

“Detroit and Detroiters have been in pain for so long and without a safe space to vocalize that pain and grief," she says. "We’ve had our kids, our parents, our homes, our water, our everything taken from us and no one stops to ask how we are doing; we are just expected to keep pushing.”

The Science of Grief takes place at the Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit) Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. through Wednesday, March 28 at 9 a.m.

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