Record Covid-19 Project

Loosely based on the pioneering work of Mass Observation this informal project seeks to record people’s experiences of isolation, quarantine and the pandemic more broadly. This is an individual personal project unaffiliated with any organisation.

The Record Covid-19 project is interested to know how people feel, for example, hearing the Prime Minister’s broadcasts or hearing updates from the government, how people feel about the prospect of isolation, how they are keeping themselves occupied and hopefully how people feel when this is all over.

The project is intended to be a collection of resources available for future generations about the Covid-19 outbreak. You are free to discuss any aspect that you feel comfortable discussing which might be published anonymously in the future. Occasionally I will add a page that asks for opinions about specific events.

The intention is for diaries and accounts to be published online as a collection of primary sources for sociologists and historians to use in future research. They would be published on this page as events unfold. They will be published anonymously but with a brief description of each diarist depending on what people feel comfortable sharing: Age, Gender, Occupation, Location. To increase your privacy, we strongly encourage you to use initials or made-up names for the people you mention and to do your best not to inadvertently identify yourself. Any entries will be treated anonymously however offensive material will not be published online. 

This is a voluntary project, but your privacy is very important. Please see my General Statement – Use and Storage of Your data for information about the protection of data. An anonymised copy of all posts will be stored on place as a backup. This will be password protected and will not be made public. Contributions will be anonymised. The information, thoughts, writings, diary entries and comments will be published using WordPress and may be used for research at this time or in the future.

By submitting content to this website, I confirm that I have read and understood the Participant Information documentation on the Record Covid-19 Project website and consent to your comments and diaries being published for posterity and research purposes. Any individual can ask to withdraw from this project at any time.

An example of content to be posted publicly:

Coventry, Historian, Male, 31

23 March 2020 – The Prime Minister’s Speech

At 20.30 tonight the Prime Minister addressed the nation. It felt surreal to watch Prime Minister Johnson deliver such a serious speech. Johnson does not seem like a man who is comfortable with being serious at the best of times and this is not the best of time. You can tell from his demeanour that he was deeply uncomfortable as he addressed the nation. He was seemed restrained by an auto-cued and very unlike himself. The adjustment in his appearance attested the nature of the broadcast as it all felt incongruous.

His unusual appearance added weight to his statement. ‘You must stay at home’ he told us. This falls only short of lockdown as we are now told not to leave unless were need to shop for basic supplies, to exercise once a day, receive medical help or travelling to and from work. If we break these rules the police will have powers to enforce them apparently, through fines and dispersing gatherings. My feelings after the announcement are difficult to convey. In many ways, I celebrate this as a necessary measure (which should have been adopted earlier). We are after all doing this for the sake of our loved ones, for ourselves and for the whole nation. Yet it feels strange to celebrate such a loss of liberty. It feels strange to welcome the idea that the police will disperse us from the streets, yet I know that it is the right decision.

As an historian it feels strange to live through a moment of history like this.  Teaching continues. Marking continues. Live is meant to continue as normal as possible. But one thing we can take away from the Prime Minister’s speech last night – nothing is normal. I think I prefer studying history than living it.

 

This project will hopefully shed light during a dark time and by sharing accounts of events I hope that this will not only be an interesting resource in the future but one that comforts many of us by reminding us that although we are in isolation, none of us are alone.