The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound and persistent impact – a tragic loss of life, changes to established patterns of life and social inequalities laid bare. It brought out the good in many and the worst in others, and raised questions around what is truly important in our lives.
In this book, academics, activists and artists come together to remember, and to reflect on, the pandemic. What lessons should we learn? How can things be different when this is over?
Sensitive to inequalities of gender, race and class, the book highlights the experience of marginalised and minority groups, and the unjust and uneven spread of violence, deprivation and death. It combines academic analysis with personal testimonies, poetry and images from contributors including Sue Black, Led By Donkeys, Lara-Rose Iredale, Michael Rosen and Gary Younge.
This truly inclusive commemorative overview honours the experience of a global disaster lived up close, and suggests the steps needed to ensure we do better next time.
“A timely meditation on crisis, response, resilience and death in the 21st century. A must-read.” Toni Haastrup, University of Stirling
"A powerful and moving cycle of reflective and analytical moments, different voices coming together to make sense, rummaging through personal archives and memory and finding anguish, despair and even hope." Yoav Galai, Royal Holloway, University of London
“Hugely illuminating and harrowing, laying bare how loss, burden, sacrifice and grief were mediated by existing systemic inequalities and discrimination.” Andreas Papamichail, Queen Mary University of London
“An insightful, multidisciplinary tribute to the UK lives disrupted and lost by the COVID-19 pandemic…. a poignant reminder of the worldwide shared collective trauma, [which will] hopefully inspire us to ensure we’re better prepared for future pandemics.” Adam Kamradt-Scott, Dr Jiang Yanyong Visiting Professor, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
"Empathetic and urgent ... an essential resource to challenge our ambivalent return to 'normality' and the inequities and inequalities on which it is founded and conceals." Katharine Millar, London School of Economics and Political Science
Amy Cortvriend is Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Northampton. She has worked for various refugee charities to promote the rights of, and encourage empowerment for, people seeking safety in the UK.
Lucy Easthope is Professor in Practice of Risk and Hazard at the University of Durham and Fellow in Mass Fatalities and Pandemics at the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath.
Jenny Edkins is Honorary Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester and Emeritus Professor in the International Politics Department, Aberystwyth University.
Kandida Purnell is Associate Professor of International Relations at Richmond, The American International University in London.
Foreword - Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness Black of Strome
‘When this is over’ - Jennifer Mustapha
Introduction: A record, an accounting and a memorial - Amy Cortvriend, Lucy Easthope, Jenny Edkins and Kandida Purnell
Part 1: In this together?
‘Home and away’ - Sue Bryant
1. Pandemic deaths and the possibility of politics - Jenny Edkins
‘May 8th, 2020’ - Marvin Thompson
2. Black, Asian and Global Majority experiences: a conversation - Safina Islam, Jo Robson, Amna Abdul-Latif, Yvonne Edouke Riley, Sandhya Sharma and Circle Steele
‘Illustrating grief: Lumière Tarot’ - Dipali Anumol
3. Bodies with COVID-19 - Kandida Purnell
‘Post-Covid thoughts’ - Michael Rosen
4. Grieving and collective loss in assisted living - Hannah Rumble and Karen West
Part 2: Policing in an emergency
‘Unlawful gathering’ - Gracie Mae Bradley
5. Protest and policing in a pandemic - Paul Famosaya
‘Dying declaration’ - Anjana Nair
6. Legal education after COVID-19 - Patricia Tuitt
‘I have a wall in front of all my windows’ - Manca Bajec
7. Border harms in pandemic - Amy Cortvriend
Part 3: Caring for the dead
‘Reckoning with grief’ - Mark Brown
8. Lessons from a mortuary - Lara-Rose Iredale
‘My impending adventure, a story for another day’ - Irene Naikaali Ssentongo
9. Funerals, cemeteries and crematoria: different community experiences - Avril Maddrell, Danielle House and Farjana Islam
Part 4: Commemorating lives lost
‘Photo story’ - Led By Donkeys
10. Walking the wall: COVID-19 and the politics of memory - Mark Honigsbaum
‘Pandemic Easter’ - Herbert Woodward Martin
11. A wall of pain and love - Fran Hall
Part 5: What comes next
‘Go ahead, tell me’ - Rita Coleman
12. Emergency planning is dead - Matthew Hogan
‘Waiting to exhale’ - Mehreen Hamdany
13. Moving on - Lucy Easthope
Afterword - Gary Younge