Call for contributions to Nature2020 lockdown journals project
By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Monday, 14 September 2020
Nature2020 is currently collecting writings and artwork which reflect on connections to the local natural environment during COVID-19.
2020 marks the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, and is a key opportunity to reflect on the state of wildlife and conservation both globally and locally.
Supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, a coalition of local organisations including the University of Sussex set up Nature2020. It was originally intended as a year of activities to celebrate and highlight the natural environment of The Living Coast, Brighton and Lewes’ local biosphere reserve, and to actively engage more people in the care and conservation of local nature.
However, COVID-19 put a stop to much of the Nature2020 programme over the spring and summer. Now, in collaboration with the Mass Observation Archive, Nature2020 is collecting writings and artwork from people in The Living Coast Biosphere, which reflect their connections to the natural environment during COVID-19. The project aims to record local people’s interactions with nature, hearing about the changed relationships with beauty spots, back gardens or local parks.
Sarah Dobson, The Living Coast Biosphere Programme Manager, said: “Due to COVID-19, many planned Nature2020 events had to be cancelled.
"We have found that the time during lockdown has given people a new perspective on nature, and the importance of being outside even for that one hour a day.
"We want to capture people’s experiences so we can remind ourselves of the positive impact of nature during these challenging times. We are asking for people to contribute writing or artwork of any form – you don’t have to be an expert artist. We’ll accept digital artwork, photos of diaries, children’s drawings, anything goes!”
Once collected, submissions will be given to the Mass Observation Archive, a national collection of people’s everyday lived experiences, based at The Keep, part of the University of Sussex.
Fiona Courage, curator of the Mass Observation Archive, explained: “The Archive values the importance of capturing and using records of everyday life. At the heart of its work is safeguarding these records for inspiring learning and research and ensuring they continue to be made available for future generations. These submissions will contribute to our wider collection of people’s experiences of COVID-19.”
People from across the biosphere known as The Living Coast (TLC) are invited to take part and provide submissions as part of the Nature2020 initiative.
Dr Katy Petherick, Public Engagement Coordinator for the School of Life Sciences, sits on the steering group for Nature2020. She said: “The project targets people living in both rural and urban areas. As well as in the countryside, nature exists in every city, and we know these spots have been vital for people seeking a break from indoors during lockdown.
"Collecting everyone’s experience of local nature is one of the best ways to reflect on the importance of local natural spots, and to make a case for maintaining these areas for the future.”
Anyone can submit their writings or artwork through the Nature2020 website. Submissions will be published on the website and social media, before being transferred to the Mass Observation Archive.
Please submit your contribution by 30 October 2020.