COVID-19 Pandemic Project

Now that all research centres are closed, many are unable to progress with their research as not everything is online. If you have some spare time in between all your history projects, how about creating some history yourself? In other words writing about daily life on similar lines to the Mass Observation project.

FACHRS is suggesting that members keep a diary during this terrible time – a record of how each of you is coping with the lockdown, what you are doing to occupy yourselves, your thoughts, your frustrations, your ways of dealing with various situations.

Are you going out shopping or getting it delivered?
Are you cooking more or relying on ready meals from the supermarket?
Are you queuing for ages just to buy the bare essentials in a supermarket or are you shopping locally?
Are you going out exercising? If so what are you doing and where/how far are you venturing from home?
If you do go out, have any of you been stopped by the police wanting to know where and why you are going?
How are your family/friends coping?

These ideas and more are similar to the Mass Observation diaries kept by many people since 1937, and still continuing today, describing everyday life for posterity.

There is no word limit. The idea is that you write what you feel and what you find important during this unprecented time. Please keep your diary until such time as it is deemed we are finally out of lockdown and life can return to something near normal. At that point, you will be sent an e-mail requesting that you submit your diary in either a Word document or alternatively an ODT or RTF format, so that the file will be easily converted to a format suitable for uploading onto the Members’ Only section of the Society website. You will also be asked to provide a general geographical location, i.e. either a town or village, to facilitate future research using the diaries should a researcher wish to compare different locations. No names, addresses or occupations will be disclosed so that all diarists remain anonymous, as far as the website is concerned. The e-mail requesting your diary will ask you a few questions, such as whether you are happy for your name to be linked to your diary, amongst others.

All we ask is that if you are willing to do this during the COVID-19 crisis, please register with FACHRS by sending an e-mail to stating that you are taking part and that you agree to send your diary to us when this terrible crisis is over. We will then keep all the diaries together on the Member’s Section of the website as a future resource for researchers to use.

This is a unique, if somewhat sad, opportunity for us as historians to leave a legacy for future generations of social historians to benefit from first-hand observations and knowledge of an unprecedented event not seen in 100 years – the longest time in our known history that this island nation has gone without a pandemic.

Please join us in recording this period in our history.