Has the coronavirus pandemic devastated or overturned your life? Are you stuck at home with but naught to do, hoping to leverage the shutdown by starting to learn more about your parents, grandparents and other küpuna (elderly community members)? Have you uncovered the artist within, composing original poems/songs/lyrics (such as haiku or mele), or creating your own written or video-recorded stories—even producing handmade, photographic, or digital artwork—that captures your experience of the viral outbreak, thereby illustrating this extraordinary time in world history through your imagination? The Center for Oral History of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa encourages the sharing of this information with the UHM COHES oral history archives, including your honest life writing, video or audio documentation, and/or creative works, to demonstrate what this era has meant to the Hawaiʻi people who lived through it, for the education of later generations.

Community contributors may participate in the “Hawaiʻi Life in the Time of COVID-19” oral history project through four avenues (further details on the COHES website https://sites.google.com/hawaii.edu/hawaii-life-in-covid19/share-your-story):

• Record your own oral history — “interviewing” yourself following standard oral history protocols and recommended interview questions provided by the Center;

• Share your journal or diary entries — testifying to your personal encounters with the coronavirus or with the quickly evolving world so deeply impacted by COVID-19;

• Showcase your creativity — sharing your written,  recorded, or visually expressed (sketched, painted, photographed, digitally crafted, etc.) stories or artwork that you made during the coronavirus crisis; or

• Interview a family member — using social distancing tools such as a phone, long-distance video-phone technology (Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Skype), or video recordings to document and learn their life story and/or your familial genealogy.

Project organizers hope that collecting this data will aid future researchers in understanding how local people’s worlds have been impacted by the virus, especially in their “island ways of life, livelihoods, health, families, communities, education, values and outlooks for the future.” For more, visit the project website at https://sites.google.com/hawaii.edu/hawaii-life-in-covid19/home.

Chance ‘um!  Email your questions to cohes@hawaii.edu; or post social media messages to “uhmcoh” (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook).


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