Curating creative responses to Coronavirus

Creative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have proliferated since the beginning of stay-at-home measures, with window rainbows, chalk drawings, poems, songs, and new digital initiatives all bringing people together.

Now the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute is hoping to preserve these for future generations through the creation of a ‘Lockdown Lore Collection Project’.

The Institute, which focuses on Scottish ethnology, folklore and ethnomusicology, wants to document and curate the country’s creative responses to the pandemic and is seeking the help of the public to populate its new archive.

Simon Gall, Public Engagement Officer at the Elphinstone Institute said: “We think it’s vitally important to document the grassroots cultural response to lockdown across Scotland and its digital landscapes as it provides a window into how individuals and communities deal with major disruptions to everyday life.

“By doing this we hope to learn something about the role of creativity in human resilience.”

A small team of volunteer fieldworkers has been put together to interview people about their lives and experiences under lockdown. In line with current social distancing, these will be conducted online,

The Elphinstone Institute is seeking people from around Scotland of any age or background who are happy to share their experiences.

Nicolas Le Bigre, teaching fellow and archivist added: “The collection will be of use not just for people to enjoy and explore during this crisis but will become a tool for future generations, researchers, and anyone with an interest in contemporary folklore, and social and cultural history.

“We need the public to send us photos, songs, poems, talk to our volunteer interviewers about their lives under lockdown, and tell us about participatory digital initiatives they have created or know about.

“We’re delighted to have already received responses from across the country from enthusiastic members of the public, including submissions from Aberdeen City and Shire, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.”

The ‘Lockdown Lore Collection Project’ will be divided into five sections covering handcrafted responses to the pandemic; stories of lockdown living; pandemic-related songs and tunes; pandemic-related poems and digital initiatives arising from the crisis.

Submissions from the public can be made via the Lockdown Lore Collection Project webpage:

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