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COVID-19 Remembrance and Reflection: Lessons from the Past and Attitudes in the Present

‌Partnered with the Marie Curie charity, Professor David Tollerton led an AHRC-funded project on emerging public remembrance of the COVID-19 pandemic. It focused particularly on the National Day of Reflection planned for each 23 March, but also considered the wider context of memorialisation initiatives in the UK. These included digital platforms, public ceremonies, and new physical memorial sites. Based on a series of workshops and interviews, the project explored links with how we remember other past events and also tensions associated with how British society now reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic. Should we focus only on loss and bereavement, or also wider experiences of the pandemic? Should the state organise remembrance, or is it better left to grassroots organisations? How can public reflection initiatives create an inclusive narrative that highlights varied identities in relation to the event? And how should the digital, the in-person, and the building of physical sites all interrelate? These are a few of the questions explored in this project.

The full 56-page project report is available here: AHRC report COVID-19 Remembrance and Reflection.

Professor David Tollerton