About this Website

our mission

Kensington Remembers is a digital humanities project, which means it utilizes digital media to create and make accessible to the public both the process and the results of research.  The research project behind KR is inter-disciplinary and place-based.  Taking a communication perspective, this project utilizes visual ethnographic, urban geographic, and media-anthropological  methods to find, document, study, and preserve vernacular memorial sites in Kensington and other North Philadelphia neighborhoods. 

This project explores questions about place-making, collective memory, and urban media: 

  • Why do these memorials appear where they do, when they do, and in the specific way they do?  
  • How are urban media being used to construct shared memory and make public spaces meaningful? 
  • What do these memorials have in common with–and how do they differ from–other, official forms of collective memory?  
  • How are economic, political, and social forces impacting vernacular memory and the people who create and participate in it? 
  • What can we learn about life and culture in the city of Philadelphia from these and other forms of vernacular culture?
This website offers a platform for exploring these questions and communicating with and to the community about them in a way that is accessible, intentional, and respectful.

digital scholarship team

Dr. Gordon Coonfield

Gordon Coonfield, Ph.D. (Michigan Tech, 2003) is an Associate Professor of Communication at Villanova University. He is the lead investigator and  Project Director for the Kensington Remembers website.  He is also to blame for the photography, the blog posts, and any questionable design choices on the site.  His current research and teaching focus on visual culture, urban media, and collective memory from a “communication perspective.”  In addition to creating and maintaining this site, he hosts, Fovea, a podcast on visual media. While his job is in the suburbs, his home is in the Kensington section of  Philadelphia.  


Erica Hayes is a Digital Scholarship Librarian at Villanova University, where she leads Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital Scholarship Program and supports faculty and students with integrating digital methods and tools into their research. Which is exactly what she has done (and hopefully continues to do!) in this case.  In addition to finding and adapting the underlying code on which the map portion of the site is based, Erica  supported many aspects of the development and design for this project.  Her research interests include digital pedagogy, digital humanities, scholarly communication, women studies and material culture. View her upcoming presentations, publications, and current and past projects on Humanities Commons.

James Parente is a teaching professor at Villanova University, as well as a designer and animator.  He is responsible for the logo designs, prototyping, and for setting up this website.

David Uspal is a Library Technology Developer for Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University. He is responsible for the Library’s online presence – including Falvey Library’s websites, catalogs, digital libraries, journals and other online systems. In addition, David frequently contributes to the broader library community through participation in open source and digital scholarship projects like Kensington Remembers. David is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and backup of this project’s map data.

Cheyenne Zaremba is a Masters student in the graduate program in Communication at Villanova University.  She worked on drafting and copy editing in addition to supporting archival research on some of the memorials.  Her own research interests concern death culture, end-of-life communication, and critical studies of social justice issues.


Kensington Remembers was supported in part by a Summer Research Grant from the office of the Associate Vice Provost for Research  at Villanova University.  

Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University supported the project’s development and ongoing archiving through the  Digital Scholarship Program and its Technology Department.

I am grateful to Michele Gandy and the Department of Geography and the Environment at Villanova University for advice, training, and technical support for ArcGIS Online.


The research undertaken in conjunction with this site has been reviewed and approved for protection of human subjects by the Institutional Review Board of Villanova University (IRB-FY-2018-214 and IRB-FY-2020-231).    You can contact the research team at any time by clicking on the contact link at the top and bottom of every page on this site. In addition, you can read this FAQ about the project’s aims and any potential risks. If you have questions, concerns or complaints about the conduct of the researchers which have not been addressed by the research team, you can talk to the Institutional Review Board by calling (610) 519-4220 or sending an email to irb@villanova.edu.