Early 2020 saw a veritable frenzy of rapid-response documentation of the impact of COVID-19 on everyday life across the globe, and particularly in Europe and North America. Archives of tradition were to the fore in this, often drawing on established collection platforms, contributors/audiences, and preservation and dissemination platforms. There was discussion on remote social enquiry, and on the desirability, ethicality and potential of crises or rapid-response documentation, with various positions taken. This paper documents the experience of the Cork Folklore Project's 'Chronicles of COVID-19' collection project, touching on the shift from collection in audio to text and images, strategies for inclusion, lessons learned and connections made.
Tradition archives are well placed to move between levels of life, from the intensely local to the global, and share motivations regarding representation of peoples, cultures and traditions within the context of publicly-available resources. An unsuccessful application to the European Cultural Foundation's 'Culture of Solidarity' fund on behalf of the SIÉF Working Group on Archives proposed to draw on this expertise in the creation of a shared, public archival platform. Perhaps the establishment of such a platform that would draw out connections (both in our practice and in people’s experiences) while maintaining space for diversity, vernacularity and contextualisation is possible, and would serve to consolidate and share the work done, as well as showcasing archives of tradition as important and thoughtful chroniclers of life in changing times.