We live in strange times. Social distancing, elbow bumping, clapping for the NHS, wearing face coverings, observing traffic lights at supermarkets . . .
Two years ago, who would have believed these actions would be such a big part of our lives in 2021?
And in twenty or fifty years’ time, who will remember all this, and how?
To record all these memories, the people at Sandwell Archives, the ‘custodians of history’ for our borough’s six towns, are launching a project called ‘Pandemic: The People’s Story’. And they’re inviting you to share your tales.
The Sandwell Archives team is looking for records that you have kept or created during the pandemic. These can be physical or digital: journal or diary entries, blogs, letters, recorded videocalls or emails to family or friends; poetry, prose, sound recordings; photographs or short film clips.
Whatever your age or occupation, your input will be valued, so Sandwell Archives can build up a body of material that reflects the full range of personal experiences from across Sandwell.
Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries and archives, said: “Your stories are the story of Sandwell, so tell them to us. We want history to have the most complete picture of the pandemic in Sandwell – and you are a vital part of that. So look at your pictures, emails and letters and share your experiences with us.”
Council archivist Ian Gray said: “We want to create a contemporary record of the experiences of the people of Sandwell during a seismic period in history and create a lasting collective memory of Sandwell during this period.
“The more material – of different kinds – that we have, the more complete a story we can tell and a more complete picture we’ll leave for posterity.
“Your stories are history, Sandwell’s history, and anything you can give us can be used as a primary resource for researchers over the years to come.”
The Sandwell Archives team accepts material digitally at Archives_Service@sandwell.gov.uk. If the file is large, you can send it by wetransfer.com. If you would rather deliver material in person please email the team, and they will make arrangements for this to be done in a safe manner.
Here at Think Sandwell, we’d also love to hear your business-related pandemic stories. Did you pivot your service and get your staff out delivering supplies? Perhaps you found creative ways to co-work when everyone suddenly found themselves stuck at home? Did the furlough scheme help you? Or maybe the pandemic helped you re-evaluate what’s important and make positive changes in your organisation? Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org so we can write about you.