Update: Mapping Public History Projects about COVID 19
“COVID-19, a global pandemic in a world that’s more interconnected than ever before, presents us with a historic moment. It’s an unwelcome one, to be sure, but ours nonetheless. we know our day-to-day experiences, stories, artifacts and recollections will become the primary source for future generations to learn ‘what it was like.’”Made By Us
In April, the International Federation for Public History (IFPH) had the opportunity to begin a collaboration with Made By Us – a group that brings history to younger generations in innovative and meaningful ways – and develop an interactive map to situate projects that collect, archive, and document our lives and stories during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, there are close to 500 projects represented internationally, telling local, national, and global stories through archives, virtual exhibits, and oral and digital history. Although by no means exhaustive, the response has been overwhelming. It is clear that, globally, we are all seeking to make sense of this strange, difficult, and trying period through our work.
While we continue to collect new projects as the pandemic progresses, we would like to open up the conversation for next steps. We invite the international public history community to go interact with the map further. Perhaps an analysis of the map, asking the key questions we are always contemplating in our practices: who is represented and who is not? What kinds of projects are found and why? How are they related to the existing public history networks? How can we reach beyond them? Someone may also like to help create an ordered database of the projects, by institution, for example. We can even connect the projects with the reality of COVID-19: when did we receive the most submissions? As the pandemic ebbs and flows onward, should we expect new projects?
Finally, we would like to propose the map as a corpus of projects to be analyzed. What types of formats and materials are collected? By whom? How can individuals, groups and communities participate in projects? What is done with the collected data? Are items monitored and if so by whom? Are some items not accepted, not archived? What roles do historians play in the process? How are the data stored, preserved, and used? If the data are used for exhibitions, virtual collections, and other projects, who decides the selection and interpretation? Is public authorship preserved, accepted, acknowledged by institutions?
Those questions – and many others – could become a fantastic opportunity for international public history collaboration between students, scholars, or the general public to go further in understanding the historic situation. We welcome your input and ideas, and should you decide to work with this map, please let us know through a blog post submission, on social media, or by email. You can request more details, propose ideas, or volunteer by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And know an organization that should be listed on the map?Fill out this form.