'We will remember them': Covid-19 and Grassroots Memorial Practices

Grant number: COV19\201422

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    British Academy
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    Loughborough University, School of Design and Creative Arts
  • Research Category

    Secondary impacts of disease, response & control measures

  • Research Subcategory

    Social impacts

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



In March 2020, the WHO classified Covid-19-a novel coronavirus-as a pandemic. By late-May, the UK death toll had passed 35,000. The restrictions on burial rituals and closure of faith spaces may have impacted the commemoration of Covid-19 victims but the emergence of grassroots memorial practices-from yellow hearts in the windows of bereaved households to crowdfunding campaigns for local tribute events-has demonstrated the extent to which communities have adapted ceremonial processes in a period of trauma. This project will investigate these makeshift memorial activities and their post-lockdown counterparts. Data will be analysed to assess their societal role: the methods used, the groups involved and the relationship to community resilience. Alongside scholarly publications and two exhibitions, project outcomes will include the founding of The Covid-19 Memorial Archive, a digital collection of artefacts from across the UK, reflecting the scale and diversity of commemorative responses to Covid-19.