Covid Conversations

What should a national collection of Covid-19 personal testimonies contain?

 

Supported by a grant from UK Research and Innovation, through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we are developing a national collection of personal testimonies and in-depth reflections around Covid-19 that will be preserved as a permanent public resource for informing policy and practice and form part of a wider British Library Covid-19 collecting initiative.

Covid Conversations is a series of free, public, online events led by the NHS at 70 team with guest speakers. We hope you can join us and take part in the conversation 'what should a national collection of Covid-19 personal testimonies contain?'

 

 

Covid Conversations with NHS at 70 logo and illustrations of virus, sound wave and people talking

NHS Voices of Covid-19 In Conversation: Charities and the Voluntary Sector: Tuesday 24 November, 12.30pm-1.30pm

Join our panel of speakers from the charities and voluntary sector to discuss how best we can build a national collection around Covid-19

REGISTER NOW (via eventbrite)

Speakers:

Ellie Orton- Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together. She has worked in the specialist social care, education and faith sector for over 25 years regionally, nationally and internationally.

Chris Larkin- Director of Stroke Support – England, Stroke Association. He has extensive knowledge of the health and social care system and is passionate about the role of the voluntary sector within it.

Charles Kwaku-Odoi- Chief Officer of the Caribbean and African Health Network, Manchester. He has a wealth of strategy, governance and policy experience from a number of roles in the voluntary and public sectors at local and national levels.

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. Charities and the voluntary sector play a major role in supporting millions of people living with ongoing health and care needs across the UK. From neurological conditions to mental health to disabilities to cancer and much more – the third sector provides emotional support, practical help, and social activities for users, families and carers and is deeply involved in advocacy and research. Their role has become even more critical through the pandemic as they work with some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

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 best do we capture the experiences of users/families/carers and the broader contributions of the third sector through the pandemic?

• How has the third sector responded to the crisis?

• How do we best represent charities and voluntary organisations in the collection?

• What have been the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on users/families/carers?

• Which communities have been disproportionately affected?

• How do we capture the close but often informal relationships between the NHS, local authorities, charities and the voluntary sector?

• What are the priorities going forwards?

• What learning from the first phase of the Covid-19 response should be used to shape future responses?

• And what are the ethical considerations of collecting in the midst of the pandemic?

REGISTER NOW

 

 

NHS at 70: Covid Conversations: Historians, Archivists and Curators

Watch online now!

On Tuesday 20 October we hosted the first of our online Covid Conversations to consider how best we can build a national collection around Covid-19 for use now and in the future. 

Our project director, Stephanie Snow was joined by Safina Islam, Head of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust, University of Manchester, Alex Mold, Associate Professor in History, and Director of the Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Mary Stewart, Curator of Oral History and Deputy Director of National Life Stories at the British Library who all gave their perspectives on collecting through Covid-19. 

We were delighted that over 120 people joined the event and contributed to questions and discussion through chat. Thank you to all who participated, and especially the speakers for their insightful contributions.

 

Event details:

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?

 

 

NHS at 70: Covid Conversations

Upcoming events - details TBC

December 2020: Arts, communities and creative responses to Covid-19

January 2021: Health and Policy

#NHSVoicesC19