About us

If we each spent just half a day a year…

…actively thinking about what we do with our bodies after we die, it would be less than 1/600th of our time… Planning this as part of our funeral wishes, in a practical, calm way helps us live well and face our end calmly. It’s time well spent.

The Corpse Project can help you make the right decision for you.

The Corpse Project is a UK research and public listening project exploring what we do with our bodies after death and asking if some practices are better than others – both for humans and for the earth. Ultimately we hope our work will have accelerated progress towards those better practices. We are independent and respect the wide diversity of background views and priorities which we all have when making this decision.

Latest findings on our bodies and ashes after death

Since Autumn 2015, funded by the Wellcome Trust, we have been listening, researching and asking how change happens. Now we have published our first findings:

What we do

An outdoor cremation in the mountains of Colorado.

Working with the public, special interest groups, scientists, artists, academics and others, we:

  • Listen to what people think, feel and know.
  • Carry out scientific and social research on the body after death.
  • Take part in the wider debate about death and dying.
  • Learn from global and historic perspectives.
  • Work to catalyse change.

Please join our email list to get updates about the project.

Read our manifesto to find out more about what we stand for. Follow us on Twitter @corpseproject.

Why it matters

Abingdon Cemetery, Oxon

An Oxfordshire cemetery. The luxury of space. Copyright CWGC

Over a century ago, people in cities needed new solutions that cemeteries could not provide. Pioneers were brave enough to push for cremation, in the face of scepticism and opposition, and today over 75% of bodies are cremated in England and Wales. c500,000 deaths occur each year in England and Wales.

What we do with the body, our home for all our lives, matters on all sorts of levels. We can’t ignore the costs to us and future generations of the poor disposal of our bodies. With land scarcity, climate change, and when many feel a sense of detachment from the corpse and its treatment, it is time for practice to evolve again.

What could be done differently?

Urban composting project design

Urban composting design, copyright The Urban Death Project, Seattle

Traditional cremation and burial could be altered to be more sensitive for people and better for the planet.

New technologies such as dissolving the body are worth exploring, and could be made more widely available.

There is growing interest in projects which return our bodies to the earth through composting.

Information about the next generation of funeral practices needs to be available at the right time for those who need it, as they prepare for their death or that of a relative.

Teenagers have told us that the dead body and how it can be treated should be in the school curriculum.

“O Friend, the cloth from which your burial shroud will be cut may have already reached the market and yet you remain unaware!” – Imam al-Ghazali