Thursday, April 16, 2020

COVID-19 Archive in Sheffield

What was life like in Sheffield in 2020?  This is a question that will be asked time and time again in the future.  But how much will we remember of these strange times?  It is all very real at the moment - 24 hour rolling news coverage; lockdown restrictions; a profound change in everyone’s way of life.  However, once the restrictions are lifted and the pandemic passes, we will soon forget the everyday experiences (good and bad, exceptional and mundane) that make this period in history so unique.

As with all significant events in history, the Coronavirus pandemic will be recorded in official documents.  But what of our own personal experiences in Sheffield?  The documents that are always of most interest to historians and researchers are the voices of ordinary people.
That’s why we’re encouraging you to record your experiences of these times NOW as they happen.  We’ve already been offered a number of Covid-19 diaries (currently being written) and photographs but we’d really like more.  Everyone’s experience is relevant.  We’d like you to record how you are being affected - family life, work, school (and exams), shopping, neighbourhood support networks, exercise etc. 

EVERYONE CAN TAKE PART!  Young and old; schoolchildren and adults; workers and stay at homers.

How can you contribute to Sheffield’s Coronavirus archive?

·         Keep a diary to make a daily or weekly record of life in your local area during lockdown.  This might include photographs etc.

·         Create a scrapbook of life during the Covid-19 outbreak.  You could include photographs, newspaper cuttings, notes and cards from friends and family, any leaflets you’ve received relating to Coronavirus, your own notes and observations etc. Don’t forget to add dates where possible.  This idea is particularly good for children who might have created a lot of artwork during lockdown.

·         Take some photographs or record a video that captures something unique about the impact of Coronavirus on your local area.  This might be on your commute to work or while out exercising (but do so within Government guidelines of course).

·         Songs, poems and sketches are also a great way of recording your personal experiences.  Many stories from generations ago were passed down through songs and storytelling.

·         Collecting leaflets and other ephemera.  Most people will probably have had a flyer through the door explaining how to contact their local Sheffield Mutual Aid Group. Keep these!  They’re all valuable and we’d like copies from all parts of the city.

Once life gets back to normal you can submit your contributions to us at Sheffield City Archives:

Thank you!  Let’s record this fully for future generations.

Some guidelines:

You can write a short biography at the beginning to introduce yourself and your circumstances OR you may wish to remain anonymous.  Either way we can restrict access for a number of years if necessary.

Diaries and scrapbooks can be sent in their original format (notebook, exercise book etc.) or scanned as a Word document or PDF.

Should be sent as a TIFF or JPEG file with the permission of the copyright holder.

Sound recordings:
Should be sent as WAV files if possible.

Video recordings:
Should be sent as MOV or MPEG-4 files if possible.

Preferably on paper and not larger than A3.  We cannot accept 3D works of art sadly (but we’d gladly accept photographs!)

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