About Together/Apart

Together/Apart is intended to gather and preserve our community's reflections about our lived experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We're seeking reflections in many different genres and formats, and hope that you can contribute. Together/Apart is being facilitated by the University Library's Special Collections and Library Technology and Initiatives Development departments.

Why are you archiving this time at all?

What is happening right now is scary, momentous, and unlike anything that has happened in our lifetimes. Archives play an essential societal role in collecting and preserving our historical and cultural records. Looking towards future generations, providing them accounts of what is happening now, in as close to "real time" as is possible, is critical for future generations of Americans to understand what this period in time has been like for those of us living through it.

How will my contribution be used?

Your contribution will become part of an archive intended to illuminate future researchers about this time in our lived experience. As such, your contribution will be preserved for future use and made accessible to researchers through CSUSM's Special Collections, a department of the University Library. 

Additionally, your contribution may be used in exhibitions, retrospectives, and other analysis of the pandemic. It may also be used in scholarship or by media. It will not be used for commercial purposes by the University or by the Library. You will retain copyright to your contribution. Attribution and credit will be given to contributors whenever possible (please note that this will not be possible with anonymous submissions). 

What types of documentation is appropriate for Together/Apart?

We're seeking anything related to your lived experience during the time of COVID-19. Share your experience with us by submitting a physical or digital story, journal, letter, essay, artwork, photograph, poem, song, short video, lesson plan, or other creation that documents your lived experience in these unsettled and momentous times. You can also answer a short questionnaire about your experience if you’d prefer. 

But I'm not a professional artist/photographer/writer!

That’s OK! We’re interested in the lived experience of our community, not polished works of art. We don’t care if there are grammar mistakes or misspellings, or if you draw in stick figures. We do care about your thoughts, experiences, and feelings about living through these extraordinary times.

I'm faculty. Is there anything specific you need from me?

Yes! In addition to any personal reflections you may have, we're also interested in how your philosophy of teaching has changed. Together/Apart is interested in acquiring your lesson plans from this time, and also we have a short faculty questionnaire that we're hoping will give future researchers insight into education during this time.


45 CFR 46.102(l)(1) deems activities such as these as not being research and thus not applicable to IRB approval. "For purposes of this part, the following activities are deemed not to be research: (1) Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research, and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information, that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected."