Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Living in Lockdown: Archives of the Trinity Community in the Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

Help us archive the Pandemic

The Library of Trinity College Dublin is building a collection of personal records of life during the Covid-19 crisis, so that a detailed story of how this crisis was experienced by the College community can be archived for ongoing research.

We want you to be a part of it.

Who does it involve?

Everybody. And we do mean e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y. Including you!

Description of the project

Research has already begun on this crisis. It will go on for decades, centuries even.  Some research will look at medical responses, some will look at governments policies, some people have already started looking at Covid-19 memes. The private voice is the one that is frequently missing. It is difficult to capture in large quantities. We want to capture a snapshot of the Trinity community's experience. We want you to tell us 'what was it like for you' and together we will build a ground-up account of how these extraordinary times were experienced by ordinary people associated with Trinity College Dublin. This is a concrete and useful response you can make to the times we are going through.

What to do

If you normally keep some kind of personal or creative record and would like to talk about getting involved - drop us an email at using Living in Lockdown as the subject line.

If you have never kept this kind of record but want to get started -  Just Do It. It can be as simple as you like. Record your experiences or your reactions and donate the results to the Library. Have a look at the guidelines below and, if in doubt, let's have a chat.
A record can take any form - audio/video/Word/photo/pen-and-paper/whatever you feel comfortable with. You can keep a diary (preferably for at least a week, but as long as you like) or you can record a one-time-only response to your experiences using the prompts we included in the guidelines.
When you have completed your record send it to us, with the Submission/Consent form, to using Living in Lockdown as the subject line.

Follow-up contact

It is intended that in some instances a follow-up conversation with a record's creator will be scheduled to determine how the experience appears in retrospect. If you are interested in this, you can confirm this on the submission form.

Interested but not sure?

If you would feel more comfortable recording a Q&A session with one of the team (with a fixed set of questions), or if you want other guidance and support to take part, let us know. Email using Living in Lockdown as the subject line.



We will take whatever you make. We expect many submissions to be whatever is normal to your device - jpegs and mp4s, for instance. If you want to get more technical, or if you are creating complex formats, get in touch.


It will be useful if you can supply some subject keywords which will help in future searches for this material. You can name an activity like farming, gardening, working from home. Or a subject such as pets, wildlife, food. Or a feeling like freedom or anxiety. For photos give a date, location as well as tags.  Add these to the submission/consent form which must accompany the submission (see below)

Rights and licencing

This entire purpose of this project is research, so whatever you submit will be made accessible to researchers. The material you send us must have been created by you and when you donate them to the Library, the University will then own them. The copyright (the intellectual property) in the record, which also belongs to you, must also be part of the donation. The reason for this is to permit the Library to use and manage the material, in whatever way the Library decides, as a research collection. This includes permission for us potentially to migrate the digital objects from their original file formats to ones that are more preservation friendly to ensure they are preserved and can be accessible in the future.

There will be no commercial use of the material by Trinity. This doesn't interfere with your own rights in the material you donate. If you want to get involved but are not sure about the rights and usage agreements - let's discuss it at

Privacy and personal information

We will be careful of your privacy. You are welcome to let us have your name and that will not be made available until 2120 without your stated permission. We would like to know your association with College (alumni, grounds staff, sister of a student etc.). We ask you for details such as gender identity, nationality, and geographical location which you may prefer not to provide.

We want you to be as frank and detailed as you can be in making your records, and you might wonder how this works for material which will eventually become available to others. We have a number of ways of protecting your privacy. Material will be anonymised, so your personal information will not be shared (see submission form below). If you wish to discuss having the material closed for access for a period of years, that can be agreed also, just get in touch. In the case of audio recordings, some of the material will be made available as transcription, which can be abridged if this is desirable (on the understanding that eventually everything (apart from personal information) will become available). Images which include a person or persons who are not those that have provided consent to participate, will not be identifiable.

Trinity Privacy Notice

How long will this material be kept?

Hopefully forever.

How will it be made available to research?

Very carefully. Transcripts will be produced and this is what will be made available to researchers in due course. Some material can remain untranscribed and unavailable, or entirely closed, for an agreed period to ensure that you feel comfortable.

How to get started

  • Start a diary. Pick a time period (for at least a week but preferably as long as you can). Pick a frequency of entry - daily for a short diary, twice a week at least for a longer one.
  • If you always keep a diary consider donating the original or a copy of this year's one.
  • Audio recording - record yourself on your phone. If you would find it useful, you can look at the prompts below to get started. You can do one recording, you can do several.
  • Do you know someone else who might like to be involved? You can interview them. StoryCorps DIY is a useful site and app to get you started. Your interviewee must be an adult and must signal their consent. They could send the consent form from their own email.
  • Video  - the same as with audio. Try to have a neutral background.
  • Art - if your self-expression takes the form of any art practice we welcome your submissions (size is an issue, because of storage and handling, so get in touch first if you think big).


(pick one, pick 10 - whatever gets you started)

  • Describe the context - what's your association with Trinity, where are you speaking from, are these your usual living circumstances?
  • History of your awareness of Coronovirus - how much of a threat did you/do you perceive it as being?
  • Particular experience - has this affected underlying health issues (your own or a family member's), exams, work? Are you isolating or cocooning?
  • Where do you get your information - do you trust the information? Detail any rumours you've heard, your opinions of the official stance (restrictions, lockdown, welfare support), your opinions of public responses, what you think of public displays of community spirit (e.g., #ShineYourLight) and so on.
  • Feelings - are you feeling confident or fearful, do you feel more free, enlivened, anxious, depressed, relieved, bored?
  • Wellbeing - stress levels up or down? Able to sleep or relax?
  • Any new(ish) activity adopted to manage lockdown? For instance, reading, Netflix, baking, video chats, staring into space...
  • Working from home for the first time?
  • Relationships - benefited? Rethought-out? Any new contacts directly caused by Covid-19 circumstances?
  • Future - do you imagine this experience will have long-term impact on you or your close contacts? On the country?
  • Has this experience changed your perspective on any issues, personal or otherwise?

Ethics statement

This project has been designed with reference to the Trinity Research ethics committee standards.

Submission & Consent Form