NHS at 70: Covid Conversations
Upcoming events - details TBC
November 2020: Health and Policy
December 2020: Arts, communities and creative responses to Covid-19
Covid-19’s social significance as a public health crisis is unprecedented in living memory and a watershed in the longer history of the National Health Service (NHS). The ways in which we live, work, and think about our health have changed profoundly and the story is not over yet. We do not know how, or when Covid-19 will pan out, but we do know that we are all actors in an historic moment.
Historians, archivists and curators have a responsibility to document and preserve these socio-cultural transformations for future generations through collecting personal testimonies, objects and ephemera. The collecting process can play a vital part in helping individuals and communities to make meaning from their lived experiences as well as creating resources for now and in the future.
There are many silences, gaps and missing voices in existing collections/archives, and we know that our historical interpretations are limited by this. Our aim is to build a diverse and representative collection of Covid-19 personal testimonies across the four nations of the UK that will serve both the present and the future. So how do we choose what to collect?
• What testimonies from individuals and communities will best represent the uprooting of our daily lives, express our individual and collective trauma, and highlight the appalling health inequalities highlighted by the virus?
• How do we capture the rapid response of the NHS and the science community alongside shifting patient, staff and public attitudes to the Service?
• What place should the unexpected upsides of innovation, human resilience and fortitude have in a collection?
• How can the history of past pandemics inform our preservation of the present?
• And what are the ethical considerations of collecting in the midst of the pandemic?