How We Mourn is a collaborative project between anthropologist Maya Mayblin, and artist photographer Miranda Hutton, exploring British practices of mourning through ordinary objects and everyday spaces of memorialisation. Focusing on subtle and everyday aesthetic arrangements – from the photographs we treasure, to the objects we keep, and the way we edit and display them – this project concerns mourning aesthetics in contemporary, secular, British culture. At a time when funerals are becoming shorter, more personalised, and more private than ever, expressions of mourning beyond the funeral often seem absent. Indeed, many of the practices and visual arrangements we explore are not ones which people themselves necessarily perceive as ‘aesthetic’ or as having to do with ‘death’ or ‘commemoration’, yet insofar as they communicate that a loss has occurred and a grief journey is unfolding, they have to do with mourning.
The How We Mourn project is centred on collaboration and exchange. This website is both a platform for sharing our emergent findings, and a space for others to join us in the exploration of material cultures of mourning and grief.
Maya Mayblin is a social anthropologist and ethnographic film-maker. She lives in Scotland, and is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Maya’s research spans a range of subjects, from politics and kinship, to death, ritual, and religion. Her writing and visual work is based on long-term ethnographic research, living as a participant observer among the communities she writes about in Brazil and the UK, and has been generously supported over the years by awards from the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, and the University of Edinburgh. Maya’s current research on death and mourning in the UK grows out of a long-standing interest in ritual, and the creative practices that shape secular responses to grief.
Miranda is a photographic artist and photography lecturer. She lives in south London and lectures at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her photography projects have been globally exhibited across various media channels such as Stella magazine, Vice, Esquire Magazine. Miranda studied Anthropology at Goldsmiths University before going on to study MA Photography at LCC. She combines her interests in anthropology and photography which result in projects that develop over a long period of time and often explore challenging themes. She is passionate about opening up conversations around death and loss and explores this in her photography practice.
The How We Mourn Project depends on the willing participation of bereaved individuals, so we would love to hear from you.