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"It just brings me closer": Reflections on Memorial Tattoos An Exhibit of Photographs

Drs. Jennifer Buckle and Sonya Corbin Dwyer (Memorial University - Grenfell)

(Photographs by Dean Peckford)

This photography exhibit, first touring Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014-2016, is on display in the library until the end of October. Dr. Corbin Dwyer writes:

"There has been an increase in popularity in the range of individual expressions of grief and memorialization; however the research literature has yet to fully explore the significance and intentions of these choices for the bereaved. Tattoos have become a popular means for people to honour and pay tribute to deceased loved ones. While the research on memorial tattoos is very limited, especially from a psychological perspective, results suggest they are a way that people can express and process their loss and make this experience visible not only to themselves but also to the public.

Our study is an in-depth exploration of the meaning and purpose of memorial tattoos for the tattooed. Twenty-two participants volunteered to participate in the study and have their memorial tattoos photographed. This resulted in 25 images of tattoos.

This exhibit of photographs presents the visual narrative component of our study and is the first component of the presentation of our research findings. The exhibit includes quotes from the individual interviews with participants and incorporates an interactive component: a bulletin board and index cards which provide an opportunity for visitors of the exhibit to share their feedback, thoughts and experiences."

Drs. Buckle and Corbin Dwyer will be giving a presentation on this research October 29, 2018 at 4:30 PM in the MacDonald Room (main floor of the library), with opening comments by Dr. Mary Bluechardt, MSVU President and Vice Chancellor. All members of the University community are welcome to attend. 


For more information on the researchers, please visit their profiles on the Memorial University website

Dr. Jennifer Buckle

Dr. Sonya Corbin Dwyer

Can't make it? View the exhibit online here.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the departments of Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and Women's Studies.