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Resources to Support Memorial Makers

This page is for people involved in planning memorials or public events that will support collective mourning and remembrance of those who have died from COVID-19. Public health restrictions have limited our ability to gather with others to mourn and remember those who have died since the start of the pandemic. This inability to mourn in a collective, public way has disrupted our usual ways of working through grief and loss. Many individuals, organizations, and governments are now starting to think about how to build memorials and create opportunities to come together to publicly mourn and remember those who have died during the pandemic. Those designing and building memorials and organizing public events will need to consider many difficult, complex ethical and political issues. On this page, we offer some questions memorial-planners may want to contemplate and resources for those who are planning public memorials and events.

Questions to consider when planning a memorial. 

The content on this page was developed by Amber Dean, Associate Professor, English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University 

 

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‘I Have to Live with the Tragedy’: Memorials Remembering 215 Indigenous Children Found Buried at Residential School

Discussions of memorials commemorating the 215 Indigenous children found at a residential school.

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As London Honors Covid-19 Victims and Key Workers with a Blossom Garden, Experts Consider the Power of Memorials

Discussion of the London memorial garden for victims of COVID-19 and the artists who created it.

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Brazil’s Infinity Memorial commemorates COVID-19 victims

Brazil has constructed a monument to those lost to COVID-19.

Canada Honours Those Who Died of COVID-19 a Year After Pandemic Declared Social Sharing

Prime Minister Trudeau's speech to the House of Commons about losses experienced by Canadians.

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COVID Memorial

"The COVID Memorial is a place to share remembrances of loved ones lost to the coronavirus pandemic, and to encourage public health measures that can prevent more deaths in the future."

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COVID Memorials are Needed Now and for the Future

Explanation of how public memorials remind people that deaths mean something and how they can help our communities heal.

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COVID-19 Memorial Blanket

Blanket created from squares sent in by knitters across the globe, with each square representing a person who passed from COVID-19.

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Covid: Memorial Woodland to Remember Virus Victims

Plans for a natural memorial in Britain to commemorate those lost to the pandemic.

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Disability Day of Mourning: Online Vigils Remember Those Killed by Caregivers

Discussion of how vigils, tributes, and memorials have been carried out online for the Disability Day of Mourning under pandemic restrictions.

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Forever Missed: Remembering Victims of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.

Online memorials to those lost to COVID-19.

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Giving Hope, and a Place to Mourn: Memorials to the Pandemic

Examples of public memorials created for coronavirus victims.

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Hamilton Muslim Youth Plan to Commemorate London, Ont., Victims

Muslim youth discuss the memorial they plan to hold for London murder victims.

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Hardly Any 1918 Flu Memorials Exist. Will We Remember COVID-19 Differently?

Discussion of how past pandemics, specifically the 1918 flu, have been forgotten and how we can ensure that COVID-19 is not.

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Honoring the Caregivers We’ve Lost: COVID-19 Memorial

Memorial video for caregivers who lost their lives to COVID-19.

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How Do You Mourn a Pandemic? See How Artists Around the World Are Building Monuments to Those Who Died of COVID-19

"As the world continues to battle the spread of disease, artists and architects are helping memorialize those we lost."

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How Will the Future Remember COVID-19?

Article includes three visions for COVID-19 memorials through art and monuments.

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How Will We Remember This? A COVID Memorial Will Have to Commemorate Shame and Failure as Well as Grief and Bravery.

Article discusses how memorials of COVID-19 need to account for the political context in which the pandemic occurred.

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Interview with James E. Young

Interview with James E. Young, a memory/memorial expert. *Not COVID specific

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Judith Butler: Mourning Is a Political Act Amid the Pandemic and Its Disparities

Judith Butler shares thoughts on the political aspects of mourning.

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Lantern Parade to be Held in Milton Keynes in Remembrance of Hundreds Who Lost Their Lives to Covid

Information about a memorial that will be held for those lost to COVID-19.

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Memorial Poems and the Poetics of Memorializing

Article discussing how poems have been integrated into war memorials and the impact of poetry on public/collective grief. *Not COVID specific

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Memorialization and COVID-19

"Communities across the world have begun recording COVID-19 narratives for future memorialization efforts and commemorating those who have perished from the virus through online memorials. It is time to pair their efforts with national ones. Here, the author explains how."

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Memorials in Robert Lowell’s Poetry: The Synthesis of the Public and the Private

Exploration of the work of Robert Lowell, a poet whose work appears on public monuments. *Not COVID specific

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Memorials to COVID-19 Must Hold Space for Grief and Accountability

Discussion of the importance of public memorials and COVID-specific considerations such as "socioeconomic and racial disparities in mortality and healthcare, deep-seated anti-Asian racism, and the economic toll on women and their labor, among other alarming revelations." Examples of memorials (art).

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Memory and Counter-Memory

Article about German artist Horst Hoheisel and their work memorializing people of Jewish descent in Europe through "carv[ing] out an empty space in Berlin by which to recall a now-absent people". *Not COVID-specific

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Mourning and Memory in the Age of COVID-19

"Although there have been significant grassroots efforts to memorialize the tremendous losses that the United States has sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no coordinated national commemoration, no single place or moment that has channeled public grief in a genuinely collective manner. While acknowledging the political dynamics at play, I also go beyond them to consider the challenges that COVID-19 poses for meaning-making: how it creates obstacles to both ritual and narrativization."

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New York City Unveils First Memorial for Victims of Covid-19

New York's COVID-19 memorial.

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Online Memorial to COVID-19 Victims Going Live on January 30

An online memorial to people who have died from COVID-19 is being created.

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Paying Tribute to Deceased School Community Members

Resource for school personnel on constructing memorials to deceased members of the school community as well as individual memorial activities. *Not COVID specific

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Quebec City Memorial for Victims of COVID-19

Video of Quebec's memorial presentation.

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Remembering COVID-19

This article outlines the dangers of forgetting COVID-19 and the likelihood that it will happen- explores strategies to ensure that losses are not forgotten.

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Selfless Sacrifice or Failed by the State? Remembering Nurses who Have Died from Covid-19

Article discusses public monuments and mourning events for nurses who have died from COVID-19.

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Silent Suffering

Discussion of why public grief is important. *Must enter e-mail to read.

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The Cape Ann Museum COVID-19 Memorial

Examples of memorials to COVID-19 including art and quilts.

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The Lives Behind the Numbers

Memorial of the first 1000 Canadians to die from COVID-19.

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The Public Monument and Public Poetry

Discussion of how integrating poetry into public monuments can create a more intimate and meaningful connection with the bereaved. *Not COVID specific

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They Were Loved

Online memorials to those lost to COVID-19.

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Three Ontario Knitters Work on a COVID-19 Memorial Blanket to Honour the Lives Lost from the Virus

Knitters memorializing pandemic victims through making a blanket.

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Tiny Shoes and Lowered Flags: Memorials Spread for 215 First Nations Children Found Buried in Mass Grave in B.C.

Examples of public grieving activities happening across Canada for lost Indigenous children.

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Ways to Create a Memorial Away from the Cemetery

Ideas for individuals and communities to create private or public memorials. *Not COVID specific

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We Were Here

Discussion of how a memorial is important for grief as well as demanding accountability and preserving our experiences.

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What Should Britain’s Memorial to the Covid Pandemic Look Like?

Conversation about how monuments can capture the enormity of COVID-19 with connections to memorials built after WW2.

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Why We Need COVID Memorials Now — and for the Future

The importance of memorials for making sure that people don't hide their grief.

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Will There be a Monument to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Article explores memorials to past disease outbreak victims and the possibilities of creating a memorial for those lost to coronavirus.