Project uniting people across the globe through sharing personal experiences of lockdown

People are uniting across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic through a project in which people share their personal experiences of lockdown.

The World From My Window (TWFMW) is a global project that uses arts and creativity to bring people together and help them process their experience of this unique, shared time of crisis.

It was was founded by two Dans who met at school who both went on to have careers in the arts.

Its goal is to gather stories from as many countries and societal perspectives as possible, to build a collective, shared anthology of the voices of the people experiencing life under lockdown.

The two friends, Dan Shipton and Dan Boyden, who have not seen each other for over 20 years, were discussing lockdown on Facebook and both realised that the global community was leaning heavily on the creative arts to help process and make sense of people’s anxieties and emotions during this time of crisis.

Dan Boyden (left) and Dan Shipton (right) decided to set up TWFMW to help others process their anxieties and emotions during this crisis.

It was actually Dan Boyden’s contact with a friend the other side of the globe which inspired the idea, however.

He said: “I was talking to a friend in Kampala who told me a story that got me thinking; Uganda was in total lockdown, no movement allowed after 7pm. She had left the house to get some medicine and at 6.55pm she found herself a 15-minute walk from home. No cars [were] allowed on the roads, so she ran, faster than she’d ever run before because she knew that if she got caught on the road after 7pm she would have been beaten.

“This time in history is unique; one third of the world is unable to leave their homes and are sat looking up at the same night sky through their windows. While these windows will be different, some of the feelings we’re experiencing will be the same. We need to capture these stories.”

So far, almost a hundred people from nearly 30 different countries across the globe have shared short stories with the project including, Pakistan, Uganda, North America, Sudan, the UK, Belarus, New Zealand and Palestine.

Some of the excerpts include those from Barcelona to West Sussex, such as:

“I can hear my downstairs neighbours and I am eaten up by envy that they have someone to talk to in person; someone to share jokes and ideas with.” Aurora, Barcelona

“I’m grateful for this moment of calm. The pressures of having to be the smartest, the most successful, the prettiest, the thinnest have disappeared and I am now free.” Sophie, West Sussex

After setting up an Instagram account and shouting out into the void, both were amazed and encouraged by the response, and are even more excited to see what comes next.

TWFMW co-founder, Dan Shipton said: “We have been overwhelmed with the amazing stories and perspectives that have been shared so far and it’s brilliant to see how creativity can be used as a force for good when it feels like our lives have been completely turned upside down.

“We hope that TWFMW can become another medium through which people can harness their own creativity to make sense of their experiences, as well as take comfort and solace in the accounts of others, knowing that they’re absolutely not alone.”

The date of the launch has significance in itself.

The project was launched on 12th April, the 59th anniversary of solo astronaut, Yuri Gagarin’s first ever space expedition.

The World From My Window has almost 100 stories from 30 different countries shared since it launched last month. (Karolina Karalinko)

Thinking of Yuri, who was the first human to look down on the world from space, the pair realised that in a strange converse reality, most people are doing the same right now during individual lockdowns in looking out of windows onto the world from a place of isolation.

Dan Boyden, a theatre practitioner, consultant and Director of The Change Collective added: “We didn’t imagine the overwhelming response we would get. People have been telling us that the process of writing, and also reading the stories from the different windows of the world, has been moving, hopeful and cathartic. People are feeling more connected to each other, they’re enjoying having a creative way of processing and sharing their experiences.”

The overall ambition of the project is that these words can go towards an initiative which can benefit causes and charities that support and raise awareness of a variety of mental health issues.

All stories are read with as many as possible shared across The World From My Window platforms.

If you are interested in telling your story or reading some of the other stories shared, you can visit The World From My Window’s website or Instagram.

On this day…

In 1999…  Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.

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