Telling Your Story
Documenting COVID-19 in East Tennessee
COVID-19 has created an unprecedented historical moment as our region, our nation, and our world grapple with this pandemic. We are living through a transformational experience, and the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services (CASS) seeks to partner with you - members of our ETSU community and residents of east Tennessee - to document everyday life during this time.
Future historians will want to know what it was like to live through this crisis:
- how did we spend our days?
- how was our family, our life, our work or business affected?
- how did we experience the hardship and the loss, but also the connection, solidarity, creativity, and resilience that are marking this moment?
- what did we (as individuals, or as a society) learn from this?
Telling Your Story: Documenting COVID-19 in East Tennessee aims to be a gathering place to add your story of how you, your family, and your friends are experiencing the current reality. We invite you to contribute your perspective, and become a part of history.
Ways to share:
- Write: keep a diary or write poetry
- Create art: draw or paint
- Photograph your environment or your community
- Maintain records from your business that document how it responded to the crisis (social media graphics, e-mail or mail correspondence, business announcements, etc.)
- Start a video blog or record your thoughts
- Save your social media posts
CASS's Archives of Appalachia and Reece Museum will be collecting materials throughout the duration of the crisis. Don't worry about proper grammar, spelling, or writing style. Don't worry about using fancy video editing software or professional equipment.
Just share your experience in a way that's meaningful to you. History will thank you for it.
- How do I submit material?
- What should I include?
- Each of our lives has been impacted since March of this year. Future researchers will want to know how that felt and what that looked like. Maybe you're working from home, trying to homeschool your kids, caring for elderly parents or neighbors, working in the medical field, or not working at all due to layoffs and furloughs. What about this moment makes you frustrated, anxious, angry, hopeful, determined, or thankful? From searching for community in a moment of forced isolation to searching for toilet paper, tell us about your experiences. Your submission will be unique, and that's exactly why it will be meaningful.
- What shouldn't I include?
- Since COVID-19 is a public health crisis, and since personal health information is legally protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), please don't include personally identifiable health information about other people or information that could allow someone to identify other specific people. This might include members of your family, neighbors, etc. If you choose to include personal health information about yourself, you'll need to agree to the Personal Health Information Agreement, which is included in our submission form.
- I don't live in east Tennessee, and I'm not a student at ETSU. Can I participate?
- We are focusing our project on the experiences of members of the ETSU community and residents of east Tennessee. If you live outside of this region, there are many other libraries or archives who are coordinating similar projects. We'll be happy to connect you with any other libraries we're aware of - in this region or outside this region - as you determine the best fit for your materials.
- What types of materials will you accept?
- We can accept any format, in analog or digital form, so choose whatever best suits you.
- Can I submit several different types of materials?
- Yes! For example, you may want to contribute a written diary along with photographs and some brief recorded thoughts.
- I'm under the age of 18. Can I participate?
- Unfortunately, no. We can only accept materials created by legal adults, and donors have to confirm that they are over the age of 18 when completing our submission form.
- Can submissions be anonymous?
- Yes. We want all participants to feel comfortable to be honest in their submissions. There is a place in the submission form to make this request.
- When should I submit?
- Please document for as long as you are willing and able, and submit material as regularly as you'd like.
- Other questions?