ARU launches digital archive for Frontline stories

StoryLab research institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has launched an important project to collate and archive the incredible personal stories emerging from the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seed funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Research In Film Award, ARU’s StoryLab and Professor Topun Austin (The Rosie, Addenbrookes Hospital) have established The Frontline as a way of preserving the thoughts and emotions experienced by NHS staff, health and social care practitioners, and other key workers during the pandemic.

Key workers are encouraged to send in photographs, vlogs, letters, poems, podcasts, drawings and artwork to The Frontline website. They can also use #frontlinestories on social media and follow the project via its Twitter account, @Frontline_ARU.

The multi-media stories will be kept as a digital archive of living memories designed to give an insight into the emotional and physical resilience of health care practitioners and create a permanent record for future generations of the role played by key workers during the pandemic.

Dr Shreepali Patel, Director of ARU’s StoryLab, said:

“Doctors, nurses, healthcare and other key workers are on the frontline.  As the pandemic spreads havoc around the world, Britain’s healthcare practitioners and key workers have been battling more than just the virus.  They are putting their lives at risk for the public and have been praised, but also abused.

“Some of individual stories are filtering through on social media sites, but many may be lost.  The Frontline serves as a vehicle to give a voice to health and key workers during the pandemic.  We hope by engaging the public and policy makers with this material that key worker roles will be reframed and re-evaluated.

“By utilising social media platforms, the power of hashtags, letters, cards and online communication tools, frontline healthcare staff and those affected are asked to share their own unique perspectives during the outbreak.

“These consolidated stories will also serve as historical records, preserve memories, and support and empower key worker communities, creating a powerful, permanent reminder of the resilience of our frontline workers.” 

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