It’s been hard to miss the various creative responses to the restrictions, mandatory and self-imposed, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. From the weekly outbreak of applause, pot-banging and bell-ringing in appreciation of the health workers, to rainbows in windows, and comedian Janey Godley’s affectionate parodies of the First Minister, people have been making sense of their lockdown experience in a number of ways.
What people have been creating is contemporary folklore – informal artistic production and performance with traditional resonances, made by a group of people with at least one factor in common. The common factor here is our collective experience of the changed conditions in our lives brought on by the need to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The Elphinstone Institute at Aberdeen University, which studies folklore and its related discipline, ethnology, is looking to make an archive of the many responses to the pandemic. Named ‘The Lockdown Lore Collection Project’ the archive will document handcrafted objects, stories of lockdown living, songs, tunes and poems written about the pandemic, and the many digital and online initiatives (e.g. ceilidhs, quizzes, parties and games) that social isolation has brought about. The Institute will not only archive this material but share it as widely as possible.
The Institute is asking people to send in items of interest via a dedicated website (link below), and also to volunteer to be interviewed about their experience of the pandemic.
We all hope that the current restrictions will be eased as soon as it’s safe to do so. When that time comes there will be a great deal of examination and analysis of the epidemiology and the politics around the event. It will be good to have in that mix a record of everyday creative responses by people caught in the middle of it all. Let’s help to make that as full a record as we can by contributing to the project.
For contributions or questions around the Lockdown Lore Collection Project, please contact Nicolas LeBigre at the Elphinstone Institute: [email protected]