Coronavirus: Public Record Office seeks lockdown images

By Mark Simpson
BBC News NI

  • Published
Belfast"s oldest Catholic Church, St Mary"s in Chapel Lane, reopens after the Northern Ireland Executive announced places of worship would allowed to open for solitary prayerImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Private worship is among the many areas changed by social distancing

The Public Record Office (PRONI) is seeking help from the public to build up a collection of photographs, art and videos showing how life has changed in NI during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Stay Home Memories Project aims to create a digital archive about the virus' outbreak.

As well as gathering pictures, PRONI has asked people to submit diaries, which will be digitised and returned.

Full information can be found on the PRONI website.

The aspects of life which the project seeks to capture include:

  • Home schooling;
  • Social distancing;
  • Different ways of shopping;
  • Working from home;
  • and the clap for carers

PRONI said it recognised the role social media has played during the lockdown and have already gathered material, including a sketch by Belfast comedian Paddy Raff about the perils of organising an online quiz with friends and family.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Drive-in cinemas have popped up in Northern Ireland

Historic England has put together a similar project, with more than 3,000 pictures submitted by the public during a week-long appeal.

Although the pandemic is not over, work on the PRONI project began a number of weeks ago.

"The archives at PRONI constitute the official community memory of all citizens here," said Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.

"PRONI has recently marked the centenaries of anniversaries of other global crises including the First World War and the Spanish Flu.

"The reason we have such a good understanding of these events and their impact upon society is because of the records we kept."

Online workshops and talks from guest speakers are being planned as part of the project.

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