Record YOUR History: Covid Diaries

Leeds Libraries is partnering with CEG, Leeds City Council, Leeds Libraries, Leeds Museums & Galleries and Child Friendly Leeds on the Covid Diaries project – an attempt to record and capture the daily reality of life in Leeds during lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic more widely. Entries will form a permanent historical record and archive. The project is now one-month old; below, we present some highlights from submissions by the public – together with a call for YOU to record YOUR history! Visit the Covid Diaries website to submit your response to recent events.

And remember: no history is ever too small; whether it is a full-blown diary, or a poem, a painting, one-page of reflective writing, a photograph of something you’ve thought was interesting or important in the last few months; anything at all – it is ALL part of the story we can tell future generations about the way Leeds lived, loved, laughed and supported each other during this difficult time. 

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The project launched on May 1 2020…

The sorts of material you can submit (anything and everything!) were highlighted a few weeks later…

Less than a week after the project launch, the first submission was shared…

The same day, something quite different – a ‘zine nature journal…

Then, another poem – shared on May 7, but actually from April 2 (you can submit material collected, taken, created, written or made during any time of the crisis)…

And it’s not just static material – this TikTok video is just as valid a record of history as a diary, a book, a newspaper…

The same applies to this entry – we may be living through difficult times, but we still love and laugh; that needs reflecting too…

The Yorkshire Evening Post is another partner, sharing details of the Covid Diaries website, but also highlighting a brilliant record of a community initiative that needed recording in some way – exactly the sort of detail of everyday life usually missing from the history books…

While the project is called Covid Diaries, it’s not just traditional, written diaries we need – but they are still a brilliant and easy way for people to record their daily lives…

Short films like these are also an important way of giving a tangible sense of lived experience during the strangeness of lockdown – they don’t need to be professionally-filmed, however; any film footage you have taken could become part of the archive…

Any art you have made can also be submitted…

The reflections and responses from children are particularly important, whether that takes the form of a poem…

…or anything else a child might choose to express themselves with…

…like Ziad’s brilliant entry!

Records of volunteering are also important, whether a single image…

…or even a whole book!

We also need the kinds of ephemera you might normally throwaway or walk past without thinking – leaflets, posters, notices, thank-you notes, one-off productions from your local brewery, coffee shop, baker, restaurant, business, school : it’s ALL part of the story!

Finally, remember: this is YOUR history; your chance to shape the records, archives and narratives we leave to future generations. So, if you’ve got anything at all to share – visit the Covid Diaries website to submit your record of Leeds life during lockdown…

Further reading 

“How Are We Going to Look Back on This Time?” Oral Historians Record Daily Life During COVID-19.

Socials
Twitter: @Covid__Diaries

Facebook: CovidDiariesLeeds

Instagram: covid__diaries

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