Displaying Self: Memorialisation in contemporary society

This study comprises a review of the English language literature on all forms of memorials and memorial practices from the early 20th century to the present from academic, popular and grey literature (including trade publications) and internet sources.

The survey aims to produce a descriptive and analytical account of the face of memorialisation in 21st century Britain, identifying emerging trends, their nature, context and forms, including the use of new technologies. We seek to reach behind the objects, forms and representations to analyse the meanings ascribed to contemporary memorials through the following lines of enquiry:

  • What is the relationship between personal identity and memorialisation and when and how might memorials become a site for contested identity and representation?
  • How do public and private processes of memorialisation interface?
  • Are memorials sometimes ambiguous?
  • To what extent and how do memorials indicate ambivalent memories of the deceased?
  • How significant is permanence and what are the implications of utilising transient and impermanent forms?
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