StFX’s Broch Research Collective hosted a second highly successful conference, from June 5-7, 2015, related to gravestone studies.
On Friday evening, the conference launched with an exhibit, “Beneath the Stones,” which featured the art work of Nova Scotian artists Russell Jackson, Anna Syperek, and Bill Rogers. This event was followed by Dr. George Thomson’s public lecture, “Gravemarker Research – A Never-Ending Journey,” which focused extensively on his wide-ranging research into headstone lettering styles.
The Collective’s main event, “Stones, Bones, and Smartphones: Investigating Nova Scotia’s Cemeteries,” was was an all-day workshop attended by academics, school teachers, local genealogists, heritage activists, university students, and cemetery board officials. The presentations, moderated by Ms. Susan Cameron, Dr. Lynda Harling-Stalker, Dr. Michael Linkletter, Dr. Dan MacInnes, and Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, covered a wide spectrum of topics, demonstrating that the tool box for cemetery research is an eclectic and varied one.
The Broch Research Collective’s second conference highlighted the utility of the cemetery as a research resource for school and university students to learn about local history, art history, population biology, and geology. It also underscored the importance of new technologies for enhancing the research capability of gravestone studies scholars and the potential benefits of bringing together academics, school teachers, students and community members with a shared interest in the past and future of cemeteries.
Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell, chair of the Collective, notes that the participants’ response to the conference was extremely positive.