Creatively Chronicling Covid19
Explore this website to understand what life is like during the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspectives of creative asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants in the UK and around the world.
Read our Blogs – testimonies, creative writing, as well as research reports and briefings.
Browse our Gallery– videos, photos, word art, audio recordings, paintings and drawings.
Visit our Exhibition – a space of encounter and community engagement
Contact us if you want to share your experiences.
Why are we doing this? Our rich archive of digital cultural artefacts, images and voices, enables those who are often invisible or silenced to be seen and heard. This public intervention challenges the conventional politics of representation.
It documents acts of artful and creative resistance to marginalisation, and resilient responses to multiple overlapping crises. Together, in collaboration and solidarity, we are documenting this extraordinary moment in history, and co-creating a unique, living, growing archive giving insights into how we are coping creatively with Covid19.
Informed consent offered for all images. Full names withheld to protect contributors’ identities, unless otherwise requested.
Andrea, an 18-year old art student represents COVID19 quarantine with a photo called “Anguish”. Fleeing political persecution, she recently moved to the UK with her family from Venezuela.
There is a big ‘No’ to traditional European greetings such as hand shakes and hugs according to health instructions. Hence the Sri Lankan community was very excited about their traditional way of greeting ‘Ayubowan’ as it is very safe.
This picture symbolises what feels like a lifetime’s pursuit of freedom, despite the personal costs, and how nice it is to not walk this path alone. We took this photo on our first hike during semi-lockdown. It is a dedication to my quarantine-buddy!
Bad haircut from behind
I decided to cut my own hair because the barber was closed, and I knew that if my hair grew, I would look bad and feel bad. I would feel ugly, I don’t want that. The lockdown affects me personally.
The family kept chickens during lockdown to give their children something to do and look after. Chicks were born. Eggs were hatched. Vegetables were also grown.
Under lockdown cooking, artistically arranging, taking and sharing photos of home-made dishes has become a pleasurable pastime.
We are all in this together... the media keeps repeating that we're all in the same boat and this isn't quite right. The virus is impacting the lives of people differently and there is no point in denying this.
During those weeks, my books became my weapon to fight my boredom, anxiety, worries about the future and feelings of immobility. I used my plenty of time in doing the thing I love most - reading books.
If you think artists are useless try to spend quarantine without music, books, poems, movies and paintings.
Lockdown and other restrictions present an opportunity for the mainstream population to better understand the lives of asylum seekers and refugees, who have long since known confinement, isolation, fear of visible and invisible
enemies, and uncertainty about what the future may bring. Their “small acts” of artistic and creative resistance, documented here, prove their resilience and show the power of solidarity. Together we continue chronicling the dark
and lighter sides of Covid-19.
Here you will find our latest academic papers, policy briefings, testimonies from asylum seekers and refugees, as well as creative writing.
Unlocked Archive exhibition is a powerful testimony to the courage and hope kindled in every act of kindness. It documents the light and dark sides of the pandemic. Marie Gillespie and Helen Hintjens Since the sudden intrusion of COVID-19 in all our lives, its economic, political and...
“Just Like Food on a Plate” Tom Cheesman, Marie Gillespie, Thanuja Hettiarachchi Digital poverty for asylum seekers now means almost total exclusion from society. This isolation has a devastating effect on mental health and wellbeing and creates enormous practical problems. It’s a human rights...
Intro by Marie Gillespie This blog shows the December 2020 newsletter of Lesvos Solidarity – our partner in this project – consisting of a coalition of 450 organisations, movements and politicians working together in the struggle for refugee rights. The island of Lesvos has been a gateway to...
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