“Burying the Dead Monuments”

Professor Elizabeth Scarborough muses on potential futures for discarded monumental statues: Monuments are objects designed and created intentionally to remind us of something worth honoring. According to J.B. Jackson, “A traditional monument, as the origin of the word indicates, is an object which is supposed to remind us of something important. That is to say, … Read more“Burying the Dead Monuments”

“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

I taught a course last semester, at Brandeis University, on elegy and contemporary death practices. This humanities practicum was entitled “Inventing Farewell” because every modern generation must re-invent its relations to the dead. It was a pedagogical experiment. The students in this workshop read contemporary poems to discover what they have to offer a modern … Read more“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (April/May 2022)

The next rendition of my Art of Ritual course for the Morbid Academy (the online teaching branch of the popular Morbid Anatomy enterprise) begins on April 20th: The intangible culture of death ceremony became increasingly bureaucratized throughout the Industrial Age, as hospitals, businesses, religious institutions and civic authorities overtook what had previously been intimate, participatory … Read moreThe Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (April/May 2022)

October 2021 Memoria Symposium: An Open Discussion on Artistic Innovation in Death-Positive Ritual

Artist Jill Littlewood hosts the October 2021 Memoria Symposium, a conversation between artists innovating in the sphere of memorial and memento mori ritual. Participants include: Nadia Hagen-Onuktav, artistic director of the All Souls Procession in Tucson, Arizona To-Ree-Nee Wolf, director of the All Souls Procession Urn Spirit Group Harley Dubois, Co-Founder of Burning Man John … Read moreOctober 2021 Memoria Symposium: An Open Discussion on Artistic Innovation in Death-Positive Ritual

“To Be a Field of Poppies”

Here’s author Lisa Wells’ new essay on the ethos and practice of human composting at Recompose: As a matter of convenience, one might be deluded into thinking their ecological sins in life could be absolved in death. Recompose claims that each person who chooses composting over conventional burial or cremation will prevent an average of … Read more“To Be a Field of Poppies”

A Design for a Non-Sectarian Memorial Site in Seattle

Click here to read Queena Yi’s 2013 Master of Architecture thesis, proposing a design for a non-sectarian public memorial site in Seattle: This thesis proposes a reinsertion of memorial spaces into the Seattle city core to re-establish the connection between the dead and living, replacing the rarely visited cemetery landscape with spaces woven into the … Read moreA Design for a Non-Sectarian Memorial Site in Seattle

The Goodbye Box

The DAG-Box (‘Goodbye-box’) is the creation of Dutch play therapist and primary school teacher Bonnie Jansen. Celebrant Rosalie Kuyvenhoven writes: What is the Goodbye-box? “The box helps young children to play out emotional and distressing situations. Unlike adults, children don’t tend to express themselves verbally. They rather convey messages and share feelings through play. The Goodbye-box … Read moreThe Goodbye Box