Urban Death Project; wants backing on Kickstarter

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International Conference – Heritage of Death: Landscapes, Sentiment and Practice

I’m very excited about this forthcoming international conference organized by the Department of Ethnology – Stockholm University and  CHAMP/Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy – University of Illinois to be held in Stockholm on the 10-11 September 2015. I really hope I can go as I have always wanted to visit Asplund’s cemetery!

The conference organisers are currently making a CfP:

Call for papers

Death. We all face it. It is the greatest of the life crises and since time immemorial all human societies have devised ways to cope with and explain death. Around the world death is being reconceptualized as heritage, replete with material markers and intangible performances. These heritages of death are personal, national, international and global. They are vernacular as well as official, sanctioned and alternative. The heritage of death has religious, political, economic, cultural, and aesthetic aspects as well. This conference explores the many dimensions of death as heritage.

The highlight of the conference (in addition to Stockholm itself) is a guided study tour of Skogskyrkogården, Stockholm’s Woodland Cemetery, designed by Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz in 1914-1940, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.


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Natural Burial Trends in Germany

Going green – also in death

Unusually, a news story about natural burial that isn’t from Britain or North America!

Forest funeral (Photo: FriedWald/Thomas Gasparini)

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CDAS conference: Death and its Futures

CDAS is 10 this year and will be celebrating all the work that’s been achieved during the annual conference, which this year has the theme ‘Death and its Futures’. Meanwhile, for those of you who can never attend the free CDAS seminars, they are now available online as podcasts. Enjoy!

I also want to plug a fascinating and stimulating event that is happening through Manchester Metropolitan University called ‘Encountering Corpses

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Urban Death Project

If any of you have ever read my academic work you’ll be familiar with me stressing the cultural significance of cremation in Britain and the huge social and cultural impact it had on British society over a century ago….if I were a futurist I’d be claiming that the Urban Death Project (UDP) is the next cultural ‘game changer’ in funerary rituals and our expectations of death and beyond in so-called ‘Western’urban societies. There’s a lot of similarity between the rhetoric used to promote ‘natural burial’ and the UDP, but they bare little resemblance to each other with regards to the place, space, materiality and temporality of grief, mourning and ensuing funerary rituals…what do you think? Is the UDP viable? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

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