Cemeteries and crematoria are important places to conduct funerary rites, and they offer a focal point in people’s mourning and remembrance practices. For many people it is important to say farewell to their deceased in an appropriate way. This means taking into account the personal, socio-cultural and religious preferences of both the deceased and the next of kin. Doing so can be difficult in today’s plural society, especially when you have a migration background or belong to a minority group.
Together with a team of colleagues I studied the varied cultural and religious funerary needs in diverse towns in multicultural England and Wales, as well as existing cemetery and crematorium provision and services. On the basis of the research, we argue that diversity-ready cemeteries, crematoria and remembrance sites are a necessary but currently neglected aspect of an inclusive and integrated multicultural society; addressing these issues will contribute to greater social well-being and a more inclusive civic culture.
The briefing note and longer briefing report below give an overview of our research’s key findings. They outline the challenges for community groups, local authorities and funerary experts, and include examples of good practice and creative opportunities for cemetery and crematoria providers and users.