Dr Avril Maddrell (SAGES) is running an AHRC-ESRC project on Deathscapes and Diversity. Against the backdrop of increasing ethnic and religious diversity in the UK, many challenges have been raised practically and politically about living together in difference within in Britain. While attention has focused upon Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) patterns of housing, education, employment and leisure, what is less well understood is migrant and established minority needs relating to cemetery, crematoria and sites of ritual and remembrance (‘deathscapes’).
While death, sites of bodily disposal and practices of mourning and remembrance are universal phenomena, they are negotiated, practiced and ritualised in diverse ways within a multicultural society. Given the lack of systematic planning policy for this at national or local levels, we argue that diversity-ready deathscapes are a necessary but currently neglected aspect of an integrated multicultural society. The project uses four case study towns in England and Wales (Huddersfield, Northampton, Swindon and Newport) in order to explore everyday deathscapes and diversity issues across a range of geographical regions and varied dynamic multicultural settings. Working with members of a range of minority and migrant communities, the project brings new insight to understanding diversity, death and remembrance in England and Wales. The project will prompt public debate around the subject of minority deathscape provision in England and Wales, especially in the case study towns, as well as providing policy recommendations to local authority Planners and public and private Bereavement Service providers. More information on the project can be found here.