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Witnessing and Documenting COVID-19


Photos by Shmuel Thaler

Regional History Project

Witnessing and Documenting COVID-19 at UC Santa Cruz and in Santa Cruz County

We are living through a unique moment in global history. Such a moment calls for the power of expressing, documenting, and witnessing our experiences during a time of such deep trauma and uncertainty. This is a way to connect and heal in a time of potential isolation and fear. Moreover, the stories of how the UC Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Community is affected by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic urgently need to be archived for the future. 

The UCSC Library seeks to collect the personal COVID-19 experiences of UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those of Santa Cruz County residents. We invite you to help create a collective and crowd-sourced living archive of how we are coping with this global reality.

We want to hear from everyone, and especially:

  • International students or those with families abroad.
  • Undocumented students and community members, immigrant communities, Spanish-speaking communities, Asian Americans, and others who are profiled and feel vulnerable.
  • Faculty and staff working remotely, or on campus.
  • People living with disabilities, medical vulnerabilities, seniors.
  • People (including UCSC students) who are homeless, and/or experiencing food insecurity, have suffered job loss and other economic struggles.
  • Those learning remotely at UCSC. 
  • Santa Cruz County residents. While we particularly invite contributions from healthcare workers, grocery employees, agricultural workers, custodians, restaurant workers, postal and UPS workers, small business people, and emergency responders, all are welcome to contribute.

How Can You Contribute?

Record Audio Interviews: Please send us audio recordings of interviews with the people you are sheltering with, exploring your lives during this time of pandemic.

For tips on conducting audio interviews, the Vermont Folklife Center's guides on remote and in-person interviews are a good place to start. Note: These links are for reference only—please send your Santa Cruz County contributions to the UCSC project.

Write: Contribute a diary or blog of your thoughts and experiences (written or audio). Contribute poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction.

Make Visual Art: Create photos, videos, or other scanned visual artwork depicting life as you are experiencing it. What do you see on neighborhood walks. Signs. Transformations in the natural environment. Life inside your house as you shelter in place. Your work if you are working outside of the home.

Record Sound: Record the soundtrack of your life in these unusual times—board games and birds, sirens, howling, banging of pots, happy pets—whatever fills your ears

Participate in an Oral History: The Library’s Regional History Project will be facilitating a series of recorded and archived oral histories with trained student interviewers, where UC Santa Cruz students can gather remotely to listen and share during these challenging times. Please fill out this form if you are interested in being considered for participation. At this time, this is for UC Santa Cruz students only.



More Questions?

If you have questions about this project or about your potential contribution, get in touch with us at