Pandemic Diaries

A patchwork of stories, pictures and quotes from the pandemic lives of our research community that we are collecting in this unique time of pandemic living. A true ‘science and technology ethnographic moment’ being explored through our project Pandemic Diaries.


We are dwelling on a
A Unique Moment in Time

The covid-19 pandemic is changing everything. The way we work, the way we socialize, our practices and tools. 

It is a true STS moment

The lab community decided to collect our encounters with inspiration from A Journal of the Plague Year: An Archive of COVID19 in a project called ‘Pandemic Diaries’.

The collection is a patchwork of short stories, pictures or diary logs/outtakes from our current experience and encounters with living in pandemic times. 

We are hoping to create A Unique Time Capsule specific for our lab community and interests.

You are welcome to share your short stories or send quotes, pictures or outtakes from your everyday pandemic life to Luuk – please state if you are comfortable with us publishing these on our website and if you want them anonymized.  


Chained 24/7

24.04.2020 [by Katrine Meldgaard Kjær]

Online Meetings

08.04.2020 [by anonymous]

“Online meetings are incredibly efficient, but goddess, how exhausting it is to be so efficient.”

Rituals & Marking

06.04.2o2o [by Rebecca Mandrup Hoeck]

In these times of lockdown, we find ourselves not only needing to adjust the routines of everyday life but also finding a way to grasp and work around the larger and more memorable events in life. This includes remembering the importance of rituals and marking of important events (as for instance the master thesis defence or graduation ceremonies). In this article, an anthropologist illuminates how rituals can provide a sense of ease in stressful times, and can perhaps comfort and inspire those in a similar situation.



06.04.2020 [by anonymous]

A friend of a friend has been suffering from a burn-out. My friend told me that for the last three months, he has been living very seclusively: He didn’t read, saw or listen to newspapers and didn’t engage in social media at all. But he did do some jogging in a park and did go to his favourite sauna, as this helped him to relax. One day in late March, the sauna was closed.

There are so many ways of learning about the new Corona Virus, and some disrupt daily routine practices more than others.


Speculative thoughts about COVID-19 & Cultural heritage

04.04.2020 [by anonymous]

Being from and raised in Central Europe, but currently living in Northern Europe, I have started to observe some discrepancies between how the two different societies of the country where I’m from and the country where I currently reside handled the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Even though both societies have taken the crisis more than seriously right from the beginning, the cultural adaptation seemed to differ. 

Within both countries media has successfully spread the message about COVID-19, people started buying supplies, government created a plan and restrictions were put in motion with the goal of minimising spread of the virus. However, the social distancing seemed to look a bit differently. When people went out in my home country it wasn’t unusual to wear a face masks and gloves while walking in quite an empty city within which in supermarkets there was only 1 person allowed per 25m2 with at least 2m distances. Whereas in the country of my current residency people were accustomed to keeping a distance approximately 1,5m and use hand sanitizers, but not necessarily wearing face masks, gloves or being in an empty city. When I wrote this the numbers of COVID-19 cases in my home country were around 8 times lower than in the country of my current residency.

It is very important to note that I’m not an expert in history or pandemic crisis, but a thought occurred to me about the cultural heritage of the two countries that have similar population size. On one side, there was my home country (with 8 times less cases) that had for most of the 20th century been under authoritarian and totalitarian regimes that were spread through propaganda and radical restrictions. On the other side, there was the country of my current residency (with 8 times more cases) that had aimed to remain neutral throughout the conflicts of 20th century, trying to fight against the authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and for equality and democracy. 

It seemed like there was a correlation between how people reacted to COVID-19 and their cultural heritage. However, there are so many other factors that influence the spread of the virus as well as the number of cases, such as testing, health-care system, population, statistics, tourism,… but cultural heritage might be one of the important factors as well. 

This observation is limited and inherently speculative as it derives only from personal experience and I was not able to observe the situation in my home country firsthand, it was just through talks with family and friends that I have gained some of the insights. The graphical story is therefore a visualisation of a wandering thought about how cultural heritage could influence the adaptation of societies in times of crisis.
I was glad about how my home country handled the crisis, assuming that the numbers are truly reflecting reality, but at the same time I thought that the acceptance of almost authoritarian restrictions might have been driven by familiarity with such regimes as well as fear of how it would be handled if the virus would actually spread.


Pandemic Diary Image for the week

27.03.2020 [by anonymous]
This is at the entrance to my local beach. I like the blown hair of the person on the right – it reflects the often strong winds!

It was put up after the police were given the powers to break up gatherings of more than 10, which may already be out of date. Perhaps only 2 can meet now?

Something for the archive!








A Dream

26.03.2020 [by anonymous]

Last night I had a dream. Our cat was howling outside the bedroom window. I got up and looked out and saw a huge, black bear lightly dormant next to the house. I felt something moving at my feet, looked down and saw two kittens. A white and a grey. It is quite telling, I feel: A slumbering threat and lots of new things to take care of every day.


Privacy in the digital age

25.03.2020 [on the community chat]

Now that CPH:DOX is online, you can watch the Edward Snowden debate on YouTube on privacy in the digital age. Snowden comments on the use of mobile data and that governments can “forget” to remove this new legislation on e.g. use of mobile data after the crisis is over. 


Collaborative Writing in Pandemic Times

21.03.2020 [by anonymous] ] A current corona glimpse into one of the junior researcher groups, currently writing their thesis. 

“The first time we sat down together to discuss whether or not we wanted to write our thesis together, we agreed that we all wanted a good process. We wanted to minimize stress and loneliness by being in a group of three so we could lean on each other when the going would get rough. All of us dreaded the renowned “thesis swamp” and we felt confident that by having each other, we would avoid it or at least not sink in too deep. While all of our good intentions were put into detailed plans, the pandemic was rapidly becoming a reality. 

Our struggle is thus concerned with how we can ensure a good process as the context changed significantly. We continuously discuss the ethics of the physical meeting in these infectious times, especially due to the public regimenting of social interaction both in physical and digital spheres. The controlling mechanisms affect all of us, and we continuously discuss whether or not we could for instance meet outside for a walk and discuss our project.”

Tips and tricks on making group work work in an online environment are warmly welcomed in the comment section.”



“I received a text at around 1:30PM. My friend is letting me know that the Prime Minister will issue a national curfew today. These are of course rumours – no one has been able to confirm them. However, I spent most of the day informing my friends – the few who have kids. Made it clear that it was only a rumour and that they shouldn’t panic but perhaps conduct their regular shopping earlier in the day, in case people start hamstring again. Turns out, it wasn’t a national curfew but the Prime Minister did take further actions to stop the virus from spreading. What I realized later that day was that we spent so much energy that day – on a rumour. This also meant that we didn’t get much work done. My roommate and I then agreed to create a corona-free environment after that day. ”


“Today’s reflection: Yesterday, my roommate and I decided to try and keep a corona free environment in the apartment. As in we don’t mention the C-word. What a productive day. Our heads have been filled up with corona related topics and we were getting tired of thinking about it constantly! She was able to finish her essay, and I was was able to focus more on my thesis. 

We then had a drink in the evening – a G&T. We are using the same strategy tomorrow. ”


“Over the past week, parents have expressed how exhausting it has been homeschooling their children (while having to work from home). I have also seen a few spots in the news about this matter. This has got me thinking about the circumstances required for parents to be able to do so. 

  1. A) All families with children should have a computer (or more in the event they have more than one child) on which their kids can conduct their daily home-schooling and submit their homework. 
  2. B) All parents should be capable of navigating the digital systems and tools set up for home-schooling. 
  3. C) All parents should be capable of homeschooling their kids – as in they all have the academic capabilities to aid their kids. 

Now we all know that this isn’t the case, and thus the current setup is reserved for children that have parents that are resourceful in all of the above-mentioned areas – and I am sure, I’ve missed some other essential ones. So how are we (Denmark) currently serving the rest? What are the consequences for the children that aren’t being homeschooled? And will we take into consideration, once these children return to their daily routine, that some of them haven’t been properly schooled in weeks? And will we cut them some slack in terms of our expectation of their performance? ”


Change of Plans

[Katrine Meldgaard Kjær, Wednesday 11-03-20 01:18]

E-mail to Australian colleagues:

Dear everyone 

I am afraid there have been some quite dramatic developments in the Danish corona-situation since yesterday. DK has now taken some drastic steps in relation to banning incoming flights, quarantines etc. Luckily, Australia and Singapore (my layover) are not on the list of banned countries, but how things will develop seems very unpredictable currently, especially within the timeframe that I’m here for – if I were here for longer, I could perhaps just wait it out and see. My main concern is access to MS medication, which needs to be given at specific time intervals which is already scheduled in DK; if I am unexpectedly delayed in my return, that would not be good. So – to make sure I’m on the safe side, I have had to change my tickets so that I plan to return home already this Friday. This feels so soon, too soon? I’m not sure and everything is confusing right now. 

Honestly, I am gutted and so disappointed. I have been thrilled to be in the lab and was so much looking forward to being here for two more weeks, and to develop things and ideas together. 

All the best 


“I follow Danish news while I’m in Sydney, on the other side of the world, a place that is handling corona completely differently. People are talking about it but formal action hasn’t been taken yet. An elderly man sitting at the table across from me in the airport is talking on his phone with the speaker on. His son is stranded somewhere in the world, it sounds like it’s Europe, his breathing is fine, someone he knows is in isolation – it’s pretty horrific when you think about it, he says. They end their phone call with a few take-cares. When their conversation ends, I’m brought back to where we are: still in the same semi-crowded room, still in the airport together, it could have been any other day. In Denmark, the country is in lockdown and everyone is advised to stay home for the next two weeks. Assemblies are discouraged and laws have been passed to prevent them. Here in Sydney, there was a street party happening outside my apartment yesterday and hundreds of students and staff are crammed together at lunchtime in the dining hall. It’s disorientating. What should I do, where should I place my concern? News of contagion in Sydney keep ticking in, but life goes on. Will it be more or less comforting to be in a country in full-on panic? 

I look at the TV running in the terminal before I board the plane. It’s broadcasting a press conference with a serious-looking politician – I think he’s the prime minister – and a loop of…..




running at the bottom of the screen: assemblies of over 500 are now advised against in Australia, schools, planes and transportation omitted. It feels like a race against time now. The airplane itself is almost empty. It’s one of those huge planes with room for hundreds of people which makes it all the more noticeable. The crew are wearing masks and gloves. The cabin smells like disinfectant after everyone whips out and diligently use sprays and wipes and gels before sitting down. I eat an almond and a bit gets stuck in my throat. I cough, guiltily. I don’t want to worry anyone. Suppressing my cough makes the tingling in my throat worse, makes me cough harder.

There are a lot of people in the airport in Singapore. There are temperature scanners set up in the halls to spot people with fevers, but I don’t see anyone stopped and people are shopping and chatting and on their way to their next flight. I had expected more of a ghost town. It seems.. normal? Perhaps things have taken a turn for the better. As I board the plane from my layover a BREAKING NEWS notification shows up on my phone: the Danish foreign minister is encouraging citizens to “come home now”. When I land, I turn on my phone and find out that the Danish border will be closing at noon. The decision was made overnight. ”


Pandemic diaries on ethos lab’s social media (1-3)

#1 – Covid19 Pandemic GIS Visualization 2020

In times like these, data and visualizations become highly geopolitical in their sociotechnical scripts. This dashboard made in ArcGis by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University shows the global cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 based on numbers from The World Health Organization.…/opsdashboa…/index.html…

Notice that the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship docked in Yokohama harbour (Japan) has been merited its own (country) category in the data compiled by the World Health Organization!…/coronavirus-japan-cruise-ship.html

Other cruise ships are currently either refused to dock in harbours and stranded in international waters or are docked in harbours where they are not allowed to leave the ships.…/coronavirus-outbreak-201…/

Published by Marie Blond20 March at 13:20

#2 -Legitimizing surveillance during covid-19 pandemic

Pandora’s boxes of data are opened and exchanged in societies that collect mobile location data. In other countries, surveillance technologies are tweaked to overcome challenges of subjects wearing protective masks as well as developing face+fever recognition! Heroic legitimacy arguments are configured for tracking ‘corona-marked’ subjects to avoid further contamination.

Socio-technical stories from Denmark, Israel and China….

CDC has requested access to cellphone location data from Danish citizens to report on whether national efforts to stop the spread of covid-19 is efficient.…/coronavirus-seruminstitut-vil-tjekke-da…

“To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data. The information, intended for use in counterterrorism, would help identify people who have crossed paths with known patients.”


“Facial recognition firm Megvii said on Tuesday it had developed a new way to spot and identify people with fevers, with support from the industryMe and science ministries. Its new “AI temperature measurement system”, which detects temperature with thermal cameras and uses body and facial data to identify individuals, is already being tested in a Beijing district.

SenseTime, another leading AI firm, said it has built a similar system to be used at building entrances, which can identify people wearing masks, overcoming a weakness of earlier technology. Surveillance camera firm Zhejiang Dahua says it can detect fevers with infrared cameras to an accuracy within 0.3ºC.”


Published by Marie Blond23 March at 15:04

#3 – Ethnography in Troubled Times

Deborah Lupton has encouraged this online resource for sharing ideas on doing ethnography during covid-19 outbreak. Creativity must flourish and new ways must be found and explored.…/1clGjGABB2h2qbduTgfqribHmog…/edit…

Published by Marie Blond24 March at 14:19