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UK collection strives to capture life during COVID-19

History in the Making

By The Lane Report

SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

Agricultural Information Center student assistant and graduating biology senior Duha Jassim put her creative talents to work during the pandemic.

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we are all experiencing something that will one day be analyzed and discussed in terms of how it changed everything about American life.

In an effort to record history while it is unfolding across the state and the world around us, archivists at the University of Kentucky Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) are actively soliciting and cataloging stories of individuals in self-isolation or on the front lines providing essential services during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the SCRC started accepting submissions from individuals who live, work or study in Kentucky.

“We typically think of archives as places to study the distant past, but archivists work to ensure we build contemporary and historic collections for future examination. We are in an historical moment right now and technology allows us to ask our community to take an active role in creating collective history in real time. It is an unprecedented chance for us to preserve the collective voices of Kentuckians,” said Associate Dean of SCRC Deirdre Scaggs.

SCRC would like to receive submissions from citizens across the commonwealth, and archivists are encouraging Kentuckians to share their COVID-19 stories. In particular, Kentuckians are urged to submit more photos, which will give future users a better idea of the impact the pandemic has had on community landscapes and friend and family relationships, as well as a visual representation of strategies employed to fight COVID-19 like masks, social distancing or different kinds of virtual presentations.

“How has the pandemic continued to impact your life? Let us save your experiences so that history tells your story,” Scaggs said.

To participate

“In This Together, Documenting COVID-19 in the Commonwealth”

Send submissions of COVID-19 related archival materials such as:

• photos, videos and/or art

• oral histories and other audio recordings

• written content such as diary/journal entries or documents related to the pandemic, etc.

Submissions can be made at https://form.jotform.com/201004347258043 

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