Dr Kate Woodthorpe
A senior lecturer in sociology with expertise in death, bereavement and families
Senior Lecturer BA, MA, PhD, Dip
3 East 3.27
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6851
Death, Dying and Devolution
Dr Woodthorpe is working with the Scottish Government as the Social Fund Funeral Payment gets transferred.
Government Special Advisor
Dr Woodthorpe acted as a Special Advisor to the Government Work and Pensions Committee Special Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits 2016.
Since joining the university in 2010 I have completed funded research on funeral costs and practice, and professional development for staff in the deathcare industry. I acted as a Special Advisor to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits in 2016 and over the years my work has been widely disseminated through the media, including numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, BBC Breakfast, and features in The Guardian and The Telegraph. I have undertaken consultancy work with Royal London, Axa SunLife and Volunteer Cornwall.
Externally I am co-editor of the journal Mortality and on the editorial board for the journal Sociology. Internally, I am the Director of Teaching for the department.
I supervise two PhD students and was twice voted Supervisor of the Year by the University of Bath and Students' Union (2013-14 and 2014-15). I would welcome enquiries about doctoral supervision.
Prior to working at the University of Bath I undertook my bachelors degree in sociology at Lancaster University, my masters degree in sociological research at the University of Warwick, and my PhD at the University of Sheffield. My thesis investigated cemetery usage. I have completed two postgraduate certificates in teaching in higher education, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I am a member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), the UK’s only research centre devoted to the study of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.
- Funeral practice
- Families and familial obligation
- Qualitative methods and research ethics
- See Kate talk about her funeral poverty research in her lecture entitled 'Why should we care about dying?'
- Hear Kate talk about her research on Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed' with Laurie Taylor.
- Her Affording a Funeral project has also been covered in The Guardian.
Hockey, J., Komaromy, C. and Woodthorpe, K., eds., 2010. The Matter of Death: Space, place and materiality. Palgrave Macmillan.
Foster, L. and Woodthorpe, K., 2016. Funeral welfare to the grave. In: Foster, L. and Woodthorpe, K., eds. Death and Social Policy in Challenging Times. Basingstoke, U. K.: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 73-90.
Woodthorpe, K., 2015. What sociology means to me:exploring, imagining and challenging. In: Twamley, K., Doidge, M. and Scott, A., eds. Sociologists' Tales. Bristol: Policy Press, p. 219.
Tuckwell, K. and Foster, L., 2015. Funerals and the state:an uneasy relationship. In: Foster, L., Brunton, A., Deeming, C. and Haux, T., eds. In Defence of Welfare 2.Vol. 2. Social Policy Association, p. 135. (In Defence of Welfare)
Woodthorpe, K., 2012. Baby gardens: A privilege or predicament? In: Earle, S., Komaromy, C. and Layne, L., eds. Understanding Reproductive Loss: Perspectives on Life, Death and Fertility. Farnham: Ashgate.
Woodthorpe, K., 2010. Revisiting taboo: Buried bodies in an East London Cemetery. In: Maddrell, A. and Sidaway, J., eds. Deathscapes. Farnham, Surrey: Routledge.
Woodthorpe, K., 2010. Private grief in public spaces:interpreting memorialisation in the contemporary cemetery. In: Hockey, J., Komaromy, C. and Woodthorpe, K., eds. The Matter of Death. Basingstoke, U. K.: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 117-132.
Woodthorpe, K. and Rumble, H., 2016. Funerals and families:locating death as a relational issue. British Journal of Sociology, 67 (2), pp. 242-259.
Valentine, C. and Woodthorpe, K., 2014. From the cradle to the grave:Funeral welfare from an international perspective. Social Policy and Administration, 48 (5), pp. 515-536.
Rumble, H., Troyer, J., Walter, T. and Woodthorpe, K., 2014. Disposal or dispersal?:Environmentalism and final treatment of the British dead. Mortality, 19 (3), pp. 243-260.
Woodthorpe, K. and Komaromy, C., 2013. A missing link? The role of mortuary staff in hospital based bereavement care services. Bereavement Care, 32 (3), pp. 124-130.
Woodthorpe, K., Rumble, H. and Valentine, C., 2013. Putting ‘the grave’ into social policy:state support for funerals in contemporary UK society. Journal of Social Policy, 42 (3), pp. 605-622.
Foster, L. and Woodthorpe, K., 2013. What cost the price of a good send off? The challenges for British state funeral policy. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 21 (1), pp. 77-89.
Borgstrom, E. and Woodthorpe, K. V., 2013. DDB 2012 Report for Journal of Illness, Crisis & Loss. Illness, Crisis, & Loss, 21 (3), pp. 249-250.
Valentine, C., Woodthorpe, K. and Easthope, L., 2013. Opportunities and barriers to forming a professional identity:Communities of practice within UK funeral directing. Mortality, 18 (4), pp. 358-375.
Foster, L. and Woodthorpe, K., 2012. A golden silence? Acts of remembrance and commemoration at UK football games. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 36 (1), pp. 50-67.
Woodthorpe, K., 2011. Sustaining the contemporary cemetery: implementing policy alongside conflicting perspectives and purpose. Mortality, 16 (3), pp. 259-276.
Tilley, L. and Woodthorpe, K., 2011. Is it the end for anonymity as we know it? A critical examination of the ethical principle of anonymity in the context of 21st century demands on the qualitative researcher. Qualitative Research, 11 (2), pp. 197-212.
Woodthorpe, K., 2011. Researching death: methodological reflections on the management of critical distance. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14 (2), pp. 99-109.
Woodthorpe, K., 2011. Using bereavement theory to understand memorialising behaviour. Bereavement Care, 30 (2), pp. 29-32.
Woodthorpe, K., 2009. Reflecting on death: The emotionality of the research encounter. Mortality, 14 (1), pp. 70-86.
Meyer, M. and Woodthorpe, K., 2008. The material presence of absence: A dialogue between museums and cemeteries. Sociological Research Online, 13 (5).
Phillips, D., Hagan, T., Bodfield, E., Woodthorpe, K. and Grimsley, M., 2008. Exploring the impact of group work and mentoring for multiple heritage children's self-esteem, well-being and behaviour. Health & Social Care in the Community, 16 (3), pp. 310-321.
Woodthorpe, K., 2007. My life after death: Connecting the field, the findings and the feelings. Anthropology Matters, 9 (1).
Hockey, J. and Woodthorpe, K., 2006. Funeraire 2005, Report on the Salon Professionnel International de l'Art Funeraire, Paris, Le Bourget. Mortality, 11 (4), pp. 382-383.
Tuckwell, K., 2014. IPR Policy Brief - Funeral poverty in the UK: issues for policy. University of Bath.
Woodthorpe, K., 2012. Affording a Funeral: Social Fund Funeral Payments. Axa Sun Life Direct.
Komaromy, C. and Woodthorpe, K., 2011. Investigating mortuary services in hospital settings. Unkown Publisher.
Woodthorpe, K., Cox, S., Tyrell, B. and , S. L. D., 2011. The Trouble with Dying: the Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying Survey 2011. Axa Sun Life Direct.
Conference or Workshop Items
Woodthorpe, K. V., 2013. From the cradle to the grave: is the ideal funeral just a dream? In: American Sociological Association 108th Annual Meeting, 2013-08-10 - 2013-08-13.
Woodthorpe, K., 2012. Rights, rituals and resources: similarities and differences in welfare support for funerals. In: Mortality, Death and Dying: philosophical and social perspectives, 2012-08-22 - 2012-08-24.
Woodthorpe, K., 2009. Money and death: the consumption of bereavement services. In: Ninth International Conference Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal (DDD9), 2009-09-09 - 2009-09-12.
Woodthorpe, K., 2009. Making money out of misery? Consuming bereavement services. In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2009: The Challenge of Global Social Enquiry, 2009-04-16.
Woodthorpe, K., 2008. "And I thought you bastards, you must have thought more of your mother than that": The task of negotiating emotions and efficiency by bereavement workers. In: British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference 2008, 2008-09-04 - 2008-09-06.
Woodthorpe, K., 2008. Blue sky thinking from six feet under: research and practice. In: Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management Corporate Seminar, 2008-05-01.