Share your experiences of loneliness and Covid-19 as part of a major new creative project
People in the South West can now share their experiences of the considerable isolating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as part of a major new project designed to collect stories of loneliness and community.
The Lockdown Blues is an online scrapbook where anyone can contribute their thoughts, feelings, or reflections on loneliness in any format – whether through poems, songs, paintings, stories, sketches, videos, letters or a few brief notes. It has been designed to promote empathy and creativity, with the hope that reading, writing, and creating may help visitors to the website feel less alone. It will also act as a public record, so that people’s experiences of difficulty during this important time aren’t forgotten or overlooked.
The website is designed so that anyone can easily submit their contributions and share their thoughts with others. It was developed by three researchers at the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, Charlotte Jones, Olly Clabburn, and Fred Cooper, as well as their community partners, Devon Libraries and Exeter Phoenix to celebrate Exeter’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Dr Olly Clabburn, University of Exeter, said: “We’ve created a community space where people can share their experiences, get creative, and read about how others are feeling. Loneliness is something that affects people very differently. The Lockdown Blues is a safe space for anyone in the South West to share what loneliness has meant to them during the global pandemic.”
Dr Fred Cooper explained: “The website isn’t just about experiences of loneliness, it’s also a place to celebrate friendships and community during lockdown. We understand it can be difficult to talk about loneliness, as it often feels like an individual failing. It isn’t, and we hope that this project will emphasise that, and help make it easier to discuss. If solidarity can be found in shared experience and expression, we hope we’ve made a space for that to become possible.”
Dr Charlotte Jones added: “We know that many people’s experiences of loneliness and isolation didn’t begin with Covid-19, so these reflections may go back further than the last six months. We’re also interested in hopes and anxieties for the future; many restrictions are in the process of being lifted and this will impact people’s well-being in very different ways.
Contributions to The Lockdown Blues can be anonymous and in any format. People can also contribute using the hashtag #lonelycovid. Charlotte, Fred, and Olly hope that as many people as possible will take part. The website also provides details of charities, services and community groups in the South West if you feel in need of support, or just want to meet new people.