Meeting – May 30, 2018

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We opened this meeting by discussing how everyone felt looking at the memorials. Some people expressed the inability to do more than a few a day because of the emotional investment, and others said that sometimes you'd have this feeling of voyeurism while viewing some memorials. An idea was proposed to keep a journal, as well as we discussed updating the template for memorial analysis.

Summary of Discussion

Thoughts About the Previous Assignment

  • An idea was implemented to start keeping a journal when doing the memorial analysis work to capture all of the thoughts and feelings experienced while going through the memorials. 

Developing the Memorial Analysis Approach

  • In the SSHRC proposal it was stated that this project would be looking at memorials from a 5-year timespan of 2013-2018, so going forward we wouldn't have to just look at the most recent memorials.
  • In reference to our talk last week about the vocabulary of death, Yasmin noticed that many of the common phrases that were used to talk about the loss of a loved one and the afterlife were entrenched in Christianity. 
  • Going forward - it would be useful to look at how the memorial websites refer to creating a memorial: is called a legacy? A tribute? 
  • Also to pay attention to the digital footprint, by this we mean what is needed to login to leave a condolence or a gift. Do they ask you to register to the website or do you have to login through Facebook?


  • We've decided that this project will not include memorials of minors (people under 18), pets, or those with the cause of death being suicide

The aim of this project and the analysis

  • With the memorial analysis, we are trying to put the people in the memorials into a context i.e. if you’re an immigrant – how are you going to commemorate your dead? 

  • Every memorial is an annunciation. It is a way of making sense of something.

  • By examining these websites you start to get a real sense of the difference between an obituary and a memorial website. An obituary is very flat whereas the memorial websites are multidimensional. They are open to different ways of associating to the bereaved, through many different voices and structures.

Team Observations

  • Bipasha noticed that there were different things highlighted for memorials that were about men and those about women. Whereas, with women there was an emphasis on their role as a maternal caregiver. 
  • Aurelia also noticed that there was commonly an association of men with their careers
  • Shanice noticed that with the POC memorials that she looked at, there was a mention of careers and education with the women.
  • Maya was curious about how the memorials are used i.e. the memorial website presents a template of the idealized use of the platform, but not every user takes advantage of these features. 

How to talk about the people who are racialized

  • This meeting also cleared up how we are identifying the people who are racialized
  • We are determining racialized people based on where they were born, their names, community associations, images, language, country of origins - looking at particular indicators, 
  • We discussed the act of confronting a memorial of a person where race isn't identified
    • Yasmin stated that if they don’t make mention to it, they are in a place where these identifiers don’t make sense. She related this idea to the Douglas Kellner article about community
    • For example – African Americans may not explicitly make mention of their racialized category and this may be due to a transition to Americanness

Breakdown of Assigned Work


  • It was advised that each member should start a journal to record their feelings and observations when viewing and analyzing memorials
  • Feelings:
    • What was your reaction to the memorials you viewed or what were you thinking/feeling while doing the work?
  • Observations - should address the following:
    • What did you encounter?
    • How many of the POC accounts that you observed did not have any written content?
    • We trying to understand what makes people want to interact with memorials by looking at the cultural capital - which is a Bordieu term that refers to the "social assets of a person (education, intellect, style of speech and dress, etc.) that promote social mobility in a stratified society" (wikipedia)
      • For instance, there was one memorial about someone named Big Joe who had a lot of people commenting and sharing stories, and he was also a man who had travelled a lot, and had a lot of business ventures in different parts of the world
    • Pay attention to the patterns you are noticing across memorials
    • Cultural capital across generations - here we discussed the role of the children
      • are the memorials written my children, grandchildren, etc., trying to recuperate the person they are writing. For instance, there was a memorial where a son discussed how his mother couldn't read, but she was exceptional in many other ways and always valued the education of her children
      • Generational capital also refers to looking at the virility of life through the mention of children and grandchildren, and where they are located or what their professions, accomplishments in life are

Memorial Analysis

  • Include any information that you may have left out when doing your original memorial analysis of the POC memorials
  • Send the POC memorials that you found when locating your 10 memorials to Nicole
  • Maya and Aurelia are responsible for examining the 5 websites (,, Forever Missed, MuchLoved and Qeepr) and looking at how the websites utilize a neoliberal. Look at the language that is being used to describe these websites or the act of creating a memorial. How easy is it to create a memorial?
  • Nicole and Shanice are to look at the overall design of the 5 websites. What colour schemes are suggested, and the assumptions that are made about death and dying. Also looking at the interfaces and the presets for music, images, etc.

A detailed explanation of the work can be found in the Meeting Tasks Folder and the Wednesday, May 30 document.

Deadline: Thursday, June 7, 2018



  • Listen to Yasmin's lecture at the University of Ottawa
  • Read the Insight Grant
  • Read Moncur & Kirk - An Emergent Framework for Digital Memories
  • Read Carmack & Degroot - Exploiting Loss?

You can find links to these readings in the literature section


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