SPEAR: Digital Diaries

In this project, healthcare workers and community members in Indonesia, Nepal, and Vietnam documented their personal experiences of Covid-19, using a range of creative tools and with technical support from the project team.

These diaries formed part of the SPEAR project: exploring the experiences and impacts of COVID-19 on healthcare workers and vulnerable communities.

The digital diaries gathered a wide range of stories. They included reflections on participants’ challenges and difficulties during this time. They also documented the positive experiences, they might have – of cooperation, resilience, and inspiration – whether personally, within family, or within their workplace and their community. To create the diaries, participants were invited to use videos, photos, drawings, recordings, or other artworks to express their experiences of Covid-19.

We hope these diaries would reach a wide audience through social media and be shared within each author’s community directly.

We anticipated that watching these stories would help prompt viewers to consider their own economic and emotional situation as a result of the pandemic and to evaluate how they managed as individuals. We also hoped that these stories help people to consider strategies communities could adopt for supporting one another in future challenging contexts.

Members of the project team have written about ‘Digital Diaries as a Platform for Participating in Covid-19 Research’ in a paper available online here.

You can visit the virtual exhibition: Digital Diaries: Voices from the Pandemic, COVID-19 experiences in Asia here.

Key Milestones / Activities

Digital Diaries in Indonesia

The traditional leader in Sumba, Indonesia talks with Diana Timoria, OCRU Indonesia Public and Community Engagement Officer, about his experience of the Covid-19 pandemic for the SPEAR project. Photo credit: Ragil Dien

In Indonesia, members of communities in Jakarta, Bandung, and Sumba participated in the project to record their experiences. Their stories were shared on an Instagram account called Stories from the Islands


Digital Diaries in Viet Nam

Project participant reflecting on her Covid-19 experience to create her digital diary, Dak Lak, Viet Nam. Photo credit: Nguyen Hoang Yen

This project aimed to enable healthcare workers in Vietnam to share their personal experiences of Covid-19, both during and after, including periods of lockdown and social distancing by using a Digital Diary as a creative tool. This included stories and reflections on some of the challenges for participants during this time and the positive experiences they might have, either personally, within the family, within their workplace, or in their community. Participants in this project were invited to share these stories as openly and honestly as they felt comfortable using videos, photos, drawings or recordings, and other artworks of their own free will.

Digital Diaries in Nepal

In Nepal, stories were shared by healthcare workers and community members from various regions within the country, ranging from cities to remote mountainous areas.  Below are six community-led stories recorded in Nepal, a country that endured a prolonged lockdown between 2020 and 2021.

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