THEY are a record of thoughts and feelings of Scots during the pandemic and have been gathered as part of plans to create Scotland’s Covid memorial.
Hundreds of I remember sentences which give an insight into the emotion people were feeling are helping to shape the Covid memorial in Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park.
We reached out to people using the I remember prompt, an idea which stems from American author Joe Brainard. While some will be incorporated into the memorial and be published in a dedicated book, others will be buried in a kist at one of the main focal points in the park.
They will also be accessible through an audio link to QR code.
However, today we can reveal that all of them will be archived and held for years to come by the National Library of Scotland who will become the custodians of the I remember forms on behalf of The Herald and the Covid memorial project.
The Herald has been campaigning to create a memorial to those lost during the pandemic.
Just days ago we revealed how Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey are backing our campaign drive and have donated £25,000 each.
The significant donation of £50,000 took our funds raised so far over the halfway mark and we have now raised more than £136,000 towards our £233,500 target.
We also received support from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and a pledge of a further £25,000 from the Scottish Government after their initial donation of just over £16,000 last year.
The memorial in Pollok Country Park is being created by artist and poet Alec Finlay and his colleagues Ken Cockburn and Lucy Richards.
I remember: Scotland’s Covid memorial is a concept which would involve significant memorial sites in the park – the Riverside Grove, Beech Grove, Hillside Grove and Birch Grove.
The key message of the memorial – I remember – will be displayed in several languages. And the link with the National Library of Scotland gives the project longevity and is a way of recording the pandemic. The NLS is Scotland’s largest library and one of the major research libraries in Europe and their collections range from rare historical documents to online journals, covering every subject.
Dr Heidi Egginton, curator of political collections for the National Library of Scotland, said: “We were delighted to become involved with this and the I remember project which will be a record of memories and in time they will prove to be sources which will be very useful to historians.
“It is about charting people’s experiences and also a little bit about how life was like in 2019 before the pandemic. They will form a memorial from within lockdown.
“From what I have read so far there is real power in them especially as they are anonymous. It is also important to think about these experiences as shared.
“It is very important that we have this national, public archive in Scotland and I don’t think there is anything comparable to collecting these memories and a record of the pandemic in Scotland.”
Glasgow City Council generously stepped in to offer the park as the location for the proposed Covid memorial.
The memorial’s figures represent supports and are formed by people conveying emotion and feelings at a moment in time.
Julie Procter, chief executive of Greenspace Scotland one of our partners said it has been a privilege to work on the project.
Mrs Procter, a member of our steering group and advisory panel, said: “Every one of us has been touched by the pandemic. Many of us are mourning family and friends that we’ve lost and reflecting on lives that have changed in so many ways. Being involved in developing Scotland’s Covid Memorial has been an honour and privilege. It has also brought a weight of responsibility to ensure that together we create a fitting memorial which reflects the voices and experience of people and communities across Scotland.
“Parks and greenspaces have been so important to many of us over the last two years: offering places of solace and sanctuary, somewhere to meet with friends and family, connect with nature and find breathing spaces during these challenging times. It feels right that Scotland’s Covid Memorial continues this connection with the restorative and healing power of nature and greenspaces through the creation of I remember in Pollok Country Park.”
Fellow steering group member and The Herald’s gardening writer Dave Allen said: “When we first began the Herald’s initiative, I saw the memorial as a commemoration of all the victims of this dreadful disease. There was no better place for friends and relatives to celebrate their lives than in a peaceful living garden as, like all life, it would bring hope and solace.
“Our project, like the concept of the garden, has grown in a positive and exciting way and will have a presence throughout Pollok Country Park and is now acting as an inspiration for similar commemorations throughout the country.”
I remembers will be collected throughout 2022. To submit one go to [email protected]
The only rule is that it starts with “I remember” and consists of a single sentence.