The Cemetery Research Group aims to expand an understanding of current and past funeral culture in the UK and around the world

Three men in front of a wall of niches
Cemetery in Santiago, Chile (photo by I. Amenbar, unsplash)

Every culture must devise ways of attending to mortal remains. The Cemetery Research Group (CRG) takes an interdisciplinary approach in researching how emotional, religious and social concerns have been framed by economic and political imperatives.

Across the world, traditional practices have been gradually overtaken by the need to operate at scale, as populations move from rural to urban settlements. Dealing with the dead has become the purview of professional managers, planners and technological innovators. 

The highly charged significance of mortal remains means that societal responses to the dead can become points of coercion and conflict, celebrating or supressing identity. 

Scholars from around the globe are engaged in cemetery studies, broadly defined, and there is a substantial and growing bibliography.

Events and opportunities

Falmouth University and the University of York’s Death and Culture Network are hosting the conference DEATHXDESIGNXCULTURE: RADICAL RE-IMAGININGS FOR THE END OF LIFE at Falmouth from 4th to 6th September this year. This exciting conference will stretch the conventions of a conference format, incorporating experience design, exhibitions and pedagogic interventions, university-industry knowledge transfer and traditional academic papers. Further information can be found on the other events page.

 

The Virtual Colloquium will be taking place on Friday 15th November 2024. This virtual meeting invites speakers with a particular interest in all modes of disposing the dead, drawing principally from the humanities and social sciences. A call for papers has now been issued, and further information can be found here.

Two tightly-packed rows of headstones for cremated remains
Ripon Cemetery, 2013 (CRG Collection)

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cemeteries are there in the UK? How many people are cremated? What’s direct cremation all about, and what’s green burial? We have answers to frequently asked questions about funeral practices in the UK.