UvA scientists Julia Noordegraaf and Tobias Blanke are collecting experiences from people in isolation during the corona crisis. They hope to start a platform where everyone can share pictures, photos and diaries. Noordegraaf: ‘We want to document the lives of ordinary people today.’
Why did you start this project?
‘We’ll be conducting historical research on the recent past in order to document the way people experience the crisis. We’re still investigating the appropriate policy to follow in the Netherlands, and if we face a similar crisis in the future, our research might be helpful to develop a policy that is aligned with human behaviour during the currentcrisis.’
When do you want to launch it?
‘We hope to launch our site in two weeks and are looking for material! But we’re not the only ones with an idea like this. The Amsterdam Museum is also building an exhibition around the stories of the people of Amsterdam.’
What are you looking for?
‘We’re looking for people to share their experiences with us. Diary notes, photos, audio-visual material… Maybe a creative project they’re working on, be it pictures of their chalk-drawings on the sidewalk or pub quizzes they’re doing on WhatsApp. Stories about people celebrating their birthday in isolation… Anything really. And this is all on an anonymous basis. We want people to feel comfortable sharing something personal.’
Will there be a role for artificial intelligence in the process?
‘Yes, we’ll use A.I. to help process the material to make it useful for research and analysis. If everything goes to plan and we can interview people via a computer, we’ll be able to quickly collect data and transcribe the audio with speech recognition software.’