Digital archive created to preserve stories of Front-line workers.

The Story Lab a multifaceted research institution based at Anglia Ruskin University has launched a new project to collate and preserve the personal stories from front-line workers during the corona virus pandemic.

The project called The Frontline was established by Dr Shreepali Patel Director at ARU Story Lab and Professor Topun Austin based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to archive the thoughts, emotions and experiences of NHS staff, health and social care practitioners and other key workers working on the front line.

Professor Austin said: Over the past few weeks the world has literally come to a standstill – the result of one tiny invisible virus causing disruption, fear, sickness and death. While the world has locked down, for one group their world as never been busier. These are the healthcare professionals, whether in hospitals, in care homes or in the community, who represent ‘The Frontline’. As the media and politicians jostle for a narrative, it can be difficult to hear the voices of people on the Frontline, who are experiencing on a daily basis the devastation and suffering this virus can cause.

Shreepali and I recognised how important these voices were and that there was a unique opportunity to try and compile a digital archive – whether audio, video, written or drawn – of the experience the people and those that they were looking after were going through. And from this could emerge a powerful historical picture of what it was really like in 2020 for those working on the Frontline.

Frontline received seed funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Research In Film Award.

Key workers are encouraged to add to the archive their personal photographs, videos, letters, poems, podcast and artwork. They can also use hash tag #frontlinestories on their social mediums.

Dr Patel considers the project historical and said: “These consolidated stories will also serve as historical records, preserve memories, and support and empower key worker communities, creating a powerful, permanent reminder of the resilience of our front-line workers.”

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