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Capturing COVID-19: We need your help creating a pandemic archive

Can you help us build an archive of healthcare workers' experiences of the pandemic?

The current COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary public health crisis and will be a defining event in medicine for a generation.

As custodians of the history of the profession, we in the RCPI Heritage Centre are aware that this period will be central to researchers of the future.

We know this is a very busy and stressful time for everyone working in healthcare, but we are appealing to you to help us capture this moment in history as it is happening.
We are asking for volunteers from all areas of healthcare - doctors, nurses, technicians, laboratory workers, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, etc - to record their experiences of working and living during this period.

Why are we doing this?

We want to collect this material to assist researchers in the future who are looking at this period. 

While it is possible to record memories after the event, these can change over time and it is really valuable to collect people’s views of what they are experiencing as it happens.  

Recent research carried out into the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 by researcher like Dr Ida Milne demonstrates the value of this kind of first hand testimony.

 

What are we looking for?

We are trying to capture the experiences of those working in healthcare at any level in the current situation.

We would encourage you to share your experiences in written, audio or video format, whichever you feel most comfortable with. You can submit letters, diaries, video diaries, any format of material. It can be a one-off submission, or you can keep a diary and chronicle how things change over time. If you would prefer to be interviewed by someone, let us know and we can arrange that.

We are also interested in collecting visual material or items that relate to COVID-19, such as photographs, drawings, newspaper cuttings and objects. Do you have a piece of poetry, or other creative work which you would be willing to donate? If you have something you think might be of interest, please let us know. There is no restriction on the format of material you can submit, or the quantity.

As well as creating an archive of interest for future historical research, your contributions will be beneficial in the near term, as we deal with the aftermath of the pandemic and process our experiences

Prof Mary Horgan

President, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

What will happen to submissions?

Material can be submitted now, or you can collect things up and submit it in a few months time.

Anything submitted to this project will be treated in complete confidence. Nothing will be made accessible without your express permission.

All submission to the archive will be covered by an agreement between the author and the archive detailing how the material will be stored, and when and how it can be made available to researchers in the future.

How to get involved

If you would like to get involved with this project, or have any questions, please contact Harriet Wheelock, RCPI Keeper of Collection at harrietwheelock@rcpi.ie.

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.