Curating creative responses to Coronavirus

Creative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have proliferated since the beginning of stay-at-home measures, with window rainbows, chalk drawings, poems, songs, and new digital initiatives all bringing people together.

Now the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute is hoping to preserve these for future generations through the creation of a ‘Lockdown Lore Collection Project’.

The Institute, which focuses on Scottish ethnology, folklore and ethnomusicology, wants to document and curate the country’s creative responses to the pandemic and is seeking the help of the public to populate its new archive.

Simon Gall, Public Engagement Officer at the Elphinstone Institute said: “We think it’s vitally important to document the grassroots cultural response to lockdown across Scotland and its digital landscapes as it provides a window into how individuals and communities deal with major disruptions to everyday life.

“By doing this we hope to learn something about the role of creativity in human resilience.”

A small team of volunteer fieldworkers has been put together to interview people about their lives and experiences under lockdown. In line with current social distancing, these will be conducted online,

The Elphinstone Institute is seeking people from around Scotland of any age or background who are happy to share their experiences.

Nicolas Le Bigre, Teaching Fellow and archivist added: “The collection will be of use not just for people to enjoy and explore during this crisis but will become a tool for future generations, researchers, and anyone with an interest in contemporary folklore, and social and cultural history.

“We need the public to send us photos, songs, poems, talk to our volunteer interviewers about their lives under lockdown, and tell us about participatory digital initiatives they have created or know about.

“We’re delighted to have already received responses from across the country from enthusiastic members of the public, including submissions from Aberdeen City and Shire, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.”

The ‘Lockdown Lore Collection Project’ will be divided into five sections covering handcrafted responses to the pandemic; stories of lockdown living; pandemic-related songs and tunes; pandemic-related poems and digital initiatives arising from the crisis.

Submissions from the public can be made via the Lockdown Lore Collection Project webpage:

Notes for Editors

Notes for Editors

Further guidance on submissions:

Handcrafted Responses

During your daily exercise rituals you may have come across unique and interesting responses to the pandemic, such as window rainbows, chalk drawings, graffiti, stickers, house decorations, public messages, and so on. If so, please take a few photos for this project and submit them to us using this form.

Stories of Lockdown Living

Are you willing to be interviewed online about your lockdown experiences? Or would you like to send us a text about your lockdown experiences? Whether you work from home, are a key worker, are homeschooling bairns, have been furloughed, or whatever else, we’d be keen to hear from you. We have a small team of volunteer fieldworkers (staff, students, former students) who would love to talk to you about how you and your families have been dealing with the lockdown. Whether you’d like to be interviewed or want to submit a text, please use this online form.

Songs and Tunes

We are blessed to have many friends, students, and colleagues who are wonderful singer-songwriters and musicians. Have you written a song or a tune? Would you be willing to send us a video or audio recording of you singing or playing it? Please use this online form.


Have you written a poem in response to the pandemic? Whether it’s serious or funny, and whether you’re an experienced makar or this is your first poem, we’d be happy for you to share it with us as text or as an audio or video recording. Please use this online form.

Digital Initiatives

We would like to crowdsource a database of projects, initiatives, and campaigns in which you are participating to stay connected while at home. We are particularly interested in initiatives that are participative, that bring people into the same digital space to do things together. Some examples include largescale conversations through hashtags like #CovidCeilidh or #IsolationCreation, or the many workshops, quizzes, games, being held over video-meetings apps. Please let us know via this online form. We’ll regularly upload the most recent document with all of the initiatives people have sent us, and highlight some on social media.


Issued by: The Communications Team, Directorate of External Relations, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Aberdeen
Phone: +44 (0)1224 272014
Contact: Joanne Milne
Issued on 23 April 2020

Press release:

PublishedThursday April 23rd, 2020