Loss is a normal part of lived experience.

The Grammar of Grief Handbook is a living online resource for people seeking performance practices which can help them work through losses in their lives.

Memorials are typically thought of as stone structures rising above eye level in a public square. The Handbook reimagines bereavement through writing, audio, or physical movement that can be created at home and come out of the body’s unique relationship to grief.

Indira Allegra would like to acknowledge the contribution of Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University with participants from the Fabric Workshop Museum and engagements with the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University, and Oxbow School of Art and Artists Residency in 2020 and 2021.

The Grammar of Grief Series began as a commission from the San Francisco Chronicle and is generously hosted by Temple Contemporary at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Invaluable support for the online Handbook from the Minnesota Street Project Adjacent Virtual Residency in San Francisco, California.

Indira Allegra

Indira Allegra’s work explores memorial as a genre and a vital part of the human experience. Allegra re-imagines what a memorial can feel like and how it can function through the practices of performance, sculpture, and installation.

They are the 2019/2020 Burke Prize winner, Fleishhacker Eureka Fellow, and a triennial 2019-2022 Montalvo Art Center Sally and Don Lucas Artist Fellow.


Minnesota Street Project Adjacent

Adjacent is a space where art happens online. Collaborating with galleries, creators, and partners around the world, the site showcases virtual talks, live performances, and more.

Adjacent is a direct response to the 2020 pandemic, re-imagining and re-contextualizing the Arts in this new reality. The site is an extension of the Minnesota Street Project’s physical space in San Francisco — breaking boundaries, inspiring curiosity, and championing conversations about the Arts.


Design and development by @paperbeatsscissors
Handbook maintenance by Shanna Sordahl


Your loss is worthy of memorial. Your practice of memorial can be a resource for others experiencing the same kind of loss. Look to the website for inspiration, then create your own sound-based, movement or written practice or practice in your environment which comes out of your own experience of grief for others to try.

Submit your own practices and prompts anytime. The Grammar of Grief Handbook selects and publishes new submissions four times a year. The first publication period is November 6 — December 31, 2020. Submit here.

Find a payphone with a disconnected line. Preferably in a phone booth. Make it into a confessional. Call the person you wished you could have said the thing to. Say the thing. Hang up. It is released now.

Image Description: A wooden telephone pole is centered with its wires running to both sides. More phone poles and wires are strung in the near distance. In the background, the top of an orange setting sun beams from behind low dark hills creating a saturated orange sky. Birds take flight to the left of the pole, beneath the sun.

In a poem about the loss of a long-distance love, I pray to Archangel Gabriel, the patron saint of telecommunications, in a phone booth. I am not religious, but there is something holy about our use of technology to give our deepest longing and desires up as offerings to the ether.

Claudia Leung is a mixed race queer Asian activist with a disability whose experiences inform the form, content, and ethos of her work. Her practice includes printmaking, zines, graphic design, writing, and protest art, and has worked in arts philanthropy.


Listen to the recording. Follow the prompts and make your own work in response. Notice how you feel. Submit a sound-based practice which comes out of your own experience of grieving loss that other people can try.