Trees, Benches and Contemporary Commemoration: When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary


  • Marion Bowman The Open University


This research note results from long term observation and study of changing praxis in commemoration in relation to the employment of trees and benches in specific locations, as means of expressing a range of emotions (grief, love, loss, friendship) in the aftermath of a person’s death.  The trends referred to here are in many cases related to the growing importance of the special place, away from sites of trauma or formal burial/ cremation, and the creative actions of individuals and groups as they find tangible ways to position a person, or more correctly the memory of a person, at a beloved or significant spot. Enabling a presence to be commemorated, and by extension in some way perpetuated, at a special place or site appears to have become increasingly important – even when such commemoration might be deemed intrusive and inappropriate by others (including local councils and custodians of national parks).

Keywords: memorial benches; special place; trees; commemoration; Loch Lomond.