Cemeteries and crematoria as public spaces of belonging in Europe

Project details

Full project title: Cemeteries and crematoria as public spaces of belonging in Europe: A study of migrant and minority cultural inclusion, exclusion and integration.

Duration: 1 July 2019 - 1 July 2021

Funder: Humanities in the European Research Area

Project Leader for SPE: Dr Katie McClymont

Research partners/collaborators: 

  • Professor Avril Maddrell  (University of Reading); Project Leader 
  • Professor Christoph Jedan (University of Groningen)
  • Professor Eric Venbrux (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Professor Carola Wingren (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Associate Professor Sonja Kmec (University of Luxembourg)
  • Dr Yasminah Beebeejaun (University College London)
  • Dr Tanu Priya Uteng (Institute of Transport Economics at Olso)
  • Dr Helena Nordh (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences); Postdoctoral Research Assistant
  • Dr Danielle House (University of Reading); Postdoctoral Research Assistant
  • Dr Mariske Westendorp (University of Groningen); Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Project summary

This project explores cemeteries and crematoria as public spaces of social inclusion, exclusion and integration, with particular reference to migrant and established minority needs; exploring the relationship between these and established practices in the North West of Europe. It takes, as a starting point, that appropriate care of the dead and dead bodies is widely deemed ‘sacred’ (in the broadest sense) and central to ideas and experience of home, identity and belonging.

The project recognises the public spaces of cemeteries and crematoria as highly symbolic and having a crucial role in understanding the cultural dimensions of social inclusion in multicultural societies characterised by domestic and international migration, increasing ethnic diversity, and ‘postsecularity’, ie the simultaneous increase in secularity and religious diversity.

The project uses selected case studies from across northwest Europe (specifically Cork, Dundee, Drammen, Umea, Eskilstuna, Leeuwarden, Maastricht and Luxembourg) in order to explore public and privately owned cemeteries and crematoria as public spaces of belonging and intercultural dialogue.

For further information on the project, please contact

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