Accepted paper:

Technology and the humanist funeral practioner


Simon Allen (self-employed)

Paper short abstract:

Across 25 years of taking Humanist funerals, the progression of technology in funerals has increased steadily and these are the ways it affects my work.

Paper long abstract:

1. Families use e-mail and TXT for information, music, images of deceased. 2. Crematoria had no tape or CD players. Now standard, also digital play-out systems. 3. Showing analogue video/slide of deceased. Some Crems now have screens and digital projectors. Commercial companies offer this service. 4. Webcasting of funerals started in The Netherlands. Now becoming standard. 5. Mourners asked if they could photograph the coffin and floral tributes. Now they just use Smartphones. Commercial companies offer photography services. 6. Family used analogue video camera at the funeral, now iPads, digital cameras and Smartphones. 7. A family defeated by the passwords of their son (an IT professional) so there were very few at the funeral as they could not notify his friends. Public recognition of the problem and action by Facebook et al. 8. Whilst I am still shown photo albums, I am referred to Facebook, given temporary membership to gather information and view images. Also sent from other social media and online Obituaries. 9. Audio conferencing during my family visit. Family now use video Skype, to include a relative overseas. 10. Mourners read tributes/poems from Smartphones and Tablets during the funeral. I can provide examples of all of the above and more, from my direct experience, in an illustrated paper.

panel P11
Death and technology