Collecting Covid-19 archives

Making History: Collecting Covid-19 archives

What are we doing and why?

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive hold material that tells the stories of Hampshire people going back many centuries. We are now inviting you to be a part of the archive of the future, to contribute to a contemporary legacy as we actively collect and preserve details of current events during the Covid-19 pandemic, to show its impact on people in Hampshire.

We are inviting Hampshire residents to add the stories of their lives at this time to the archives. We are living through an exceptional period in our history. In the future, our descendants will ask what life was like in Hampshire in 2020. Once the pandemic passes, will the everyday experiences be forgotten – the good and bad, the ordinary and eventful, our hopes and fears, the uncertainty? Add your story to the archives for future generations as part of our shared history.

What are we looking for?

We would like to invite you to add your story to the archives. Are you already keeping a diary or writing a memoir of these challenging times, or would you like to start one? Your contribution can be brief or detailed, a written account, or a film or sound recording, anonymous or not. What is your life like during the pandemic?

We also welcome photographs documenting life during the pandemic, and leaflets, posters, newsletters or similar items issued by Hampshire organisations such as local government, schools, businesses and voluntary or community organisations, including, eg information about closures, changes in operation, and efforts to help vulnerable and isolated people.

For our project, Making history: making movies, funded via the British Film Institute and Hampshire Archives Trust, we are seeking film content that reflects people’s experience of life in 2020. Five minutes of film (edited, or a straight 5 minutes) can be submitted, to form part of this larger 2-year project to showcase the work of amateur filmmakers from 1920 to the present day. A diary in film format could contribute to this project. Alternatively, you can contribute longer diary footage to the overall collection of film archives.

We ask that you take care not to risk your own or anyone else’s health whilst gathering or creating any of this material and ensure you follow government guidelines. If you are interested in taking part in Making History, please contact us:

Further information about Making History: your questions answered

The following provides further information on this project. Please contact us to take part and we will then be able to ensure you have any necessary forms or other information.

What are the terms on which Hampshire Archives and Local Studies/ Wessex Film and Sound Archive will take my diary, film, or other items? Is there anything to sign?

We are asking that any Covid-19 related material comes to us as a gift. This means that the ownership of the item/s will pass to Hampshire County Council, to be held at Hampshire Record Office (HRO), home of Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive.

We also ask, where possible, that copyright in your diary, photographs or film etc is assigned to us.

There will be a short receipt to sign to confirm that you have donated an item or items and there will also be a form for you to specify in more detail how you are happy for your diary, film and/or other item(s) to be used.

What will happen to my contribution?

We will treat everything you give to us with care and sensitivity.

You could create an anonymous diary if you wished, but to provide context it would be helpful if you could supply a few lines of biography along with your diary, including your name, where you are from, your occupation and a little bit about yourself. Your personal details will not be made public unless you give your permission.

We understand that your diary, in whatever format, could contain very personal and private information, and that you may not want others to see this for many years to come. If this is the case, we will discuss with you the possibility of applying a closure period.

There is also the possibility that your contribution may contain information which could cause damage or distress to people featuring in it. If this is the case, then under Data Protection legislation we will need to close your diary to protect those individuals. We will discuss with you whether there is the possibility that your diary contains sensitive information about other people and we will also check, ourselves. If your diary does need to be closed under Data Protection legislation, then we will contact you to let you know.

If you plan to submit film, photographs or sound recordings, we will need to ensure you have gained the permission of any people featured in these.

With your permission we might wish to use some of your contribution of film or sound recordings in public screenings in 2021 as part of our Making history: making movies project.

Who will be able to see my diary, film and other material?

If you are happy for it to be viewed, once we have added details of it and other material you give us to our catalogue, anyone who is interested will be able to come into HRO to look at it. This might include academics, school pupils, local and family historians, and there may be some media interest.

Please be aware that researchers can request copies of material you have given to us for their own private research, unless you have specified otherwise. Copies may be provided on paper, as photocopies or electronically as scans but researchers sign an agreement to state that any copies they receive will not be reproduced elsewhere.

How will I be able to get my contributions to you?

If you are interested in taking part in Making History, please contact us at to arrange a call to discuss your contribution.

Hampshire Record Office (home of Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive) is currently closed, so please don’t bring items, or send items in the post, until we re-open. Keep an eye on our website for details of this:

Lockdown scrap book