A new community project is being launched today aimed at recording the Island’s experience of the Coronavirus pandemic so that it can be officially documented and shared in the future.
Jersey Heritage is tasked with protecting and providing access to the Island’s history and it needs to collect and record evidence of what life is really like for Islanders – both positive and negative – to enable it to tell the story of this significant moment to future generations.
Islanders are being asked to record their reactions to life during the crisis, as individuals, families, professionals and communities, and to submit these to Jersey Heritage so that they can be catalogued and stored. Submissions could be a blog; comments online through www.jerseyheritage.org; videos; audio; diaries – physical or digital; letters; artwork; or images.
Linda Romeril, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Archives & Collections, explained that waiting until after the crisis had passed to gather this evidence was not an option. She said: “We need to start recording how our Island and community are dealing with the current crisis now. If we leave it until after the crisis has passed, we will all be looking at our experiences in hindsight and our views will have changed. To play our part in sharing the story of this significant moment in our Island’s history – and the consequences it will undoubtedly have – we need to record the moment as it happens.
“We can document the official government response to the pandemic, but we need the community’s help to record how it is affecting people, whether as an individual, a family, a business or a section of the community.”
Islanders are being asked to record and share their thoughts, hopes and fears about the following topics:
Personal experience: how have you adapted to life, work, shopping? How do you interact with friends and family and share your news and views? How are you keeping yourself entertained? How are you taking exercise?
Community experience: how is the community changing? What is happening to public gatherings of different types? How are businesses adapting and developing?
Material culture: how are objects and digital communications reflecting the changing experience? What new things are being invented?
Communications: how are you getting your daily news and information? What has changed in the way you access this information?
A changing experience: how is the experience of Coronavirus changing as the virus spreads across the world? How have your feelings changed as you navigate through this experience? How has what’s happened with the world and with other Crown Dependencies shaped your experience?
To submit their records, Islanders can email an attachment to DocumentingNow@jerseyheritage.org; arrange to hand over content in person when Jersey Archive re-opens; or make a comment online at https://www.jerseyheritage.org/athome/documenting-coronavirus
Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience, said: “Documenting the Coronavirus crisis in a safe, virtual way lies at the very heart of what Jersey Heritage is all about and the values it stands for; guarding, communicating and understanding the Island’s heritage, as well as, inspiring and collaborating with others in order to do so.
“One of the best ways to explain what we are trying to achieve is to relate it to the recent ‘80s exhibition, which captured the nature of that decade in a whole range of different ways. If we are to do the same for the current crisis, we need to start the collection process now. In 50 years’ time, we will want to be able to tell the wider story of Jersey and the Coronavirus, and all the positives and negatives that go with it.”