Future Cemetery and virtual memorialisation

Calling the Shots is involved in the consultation phase of an interesting and far-reaching project, The Future Cemetery, that is looking into the future of death.

The project teams CTS with Arnos Vale Cemetery, the University Of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society and the Pervasive Media Studio. Future Cemetery producer and CTS producer, Jeremy Routledge, writes about the possible future of memorialisation…


Technology moves on and most advances like Augmented Reality (AR) or Quick Response (QR) codes are likely to be consigned to history long before the traditional stone monument or even the hardwood teak wood of the Denty family tomb in Arnos Vale, Bristol.  What is perhaps of more enduring interest is the idea of preserving a moving image or 3D memorial to an individual (or perhaps a pet) long after their death.


If the necessary images have been gathered in lifetime, these can be adapted to whatever technology offers now or in the future, think of Google Glass (see above, much anticipated by the Future Cemetery’s Dr John Troyer), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the almost limitless possibilities of wireless and 4G, 5G, 6G etc.  When the content needs to be mediated by another piece of technology, the physical ownership of a plot or grave becomes less important.

So the idea of a “cemetery within a cemetery”, of invisible ‘on demand’ memorials, or indeed new ‘green’ cemeteries without physical memorials, becomes possible.  Perhaps in future individualised experiences or memory triggers may be popular (particularly with longer lives and the growth of memory-related conditions like dementia), tailored for a garden or treasured location.

Of course, there are so many imponderables here, and the idea of memorialisation is only one aspect of a complex industry, which includes disposal of remains, conservation of existing graves, landscape preservation, quite apart from the personal service to bereaved families. In an industry that hasn’t changed much in hundreds if not thousands of years, technological change may be slow.


The idea of the ‘Future Cemetery’ is not to sell any particular approach but to explore, examine and research what might be possible in the future for cemeteries, for the industry and for anyone thinking end of life issues.

Read more about the Future Cemetery here.