Lyndsey Garrett looks at some of the resources that are available online
The current crisis is unlike anything most of us will have experienced. Our daily interactions have had to change and adapt drastically in order to protect the most vulnerable and prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed. From behind closed doors we’re exploring other ways of connecting with each other, whether that’s searching out community forums or reaching out to friends and family over phone or video calls. How we write may also be adapting. When our usual resources are no longer available to us, where can we go for research and inspiration? While there have always been some online resources, many venues and institutions are now working towards making online content available. Below are just a few examples of what can be found.
Across the UK libraries have temporarily closed their doors, but they often have collections of books, journals and articles available for their members online. If you’re not already a member of a specific library you may still be able to join; many are offering either full membership or temporary membership signups online. For example the London, Hackney and Ealing libraries all have online services available.
Looking for something a little different to read? Why not check out the listings on Project Gutenburg. With many of their collection published prior to 1924 there are some truly eclectic pieces on offer to view. And all are available for free.
Along with libraries, arts venues have temporarily physically closed to the public, but many either have extensive online resources or are in the process of making media available. The Met Opera is streaming a different performance every evening, while the Royal Opera House is uploading an opera or ballet performance every Friday for the next few weeks.
The BFI has quite an extensive collection of free-to-view films. These range from full length pieces to shorter clips and public information films, with a variety of topics and genres covered.
Many museums and similar institutions also have online catalogues and resources. Somerset House has a mix of videos, podcasts and articles to view, whilst the Filmoteka Muzeum has audio visual works from Polish artists.
A medium that’s fast grown in popularity is the podcast. There are various players out there through which you can search for different themes or genres to listen to. Some personal favourites are:
- Poem Talk – in each episode a panel discusses a particular poem and poet
- Welcome to Night Vale – a fictional fantasy/horror community radio show
- MIROnline – a mix of episodes discussing particular projects with their authors and the dedicated series Author Not Present, where the team critique anonymously submitted works.
Martin Nathan explored in his MIROnline post Writing About Landscape how you can also utilise tools such as Google’s Street View or Earth satellite. As well as using these tools to see the streets, some locations also allow you to explore the interior of buildings, photographs that others have shared of the location or explore within an outdoor venue. For example, London Zoo has a network of pathways available through Street View, almost allowing you to create a virtual zoo walk-through. Though very basic in execution, it can be a great way to ‘travel’ around locations.
This list is in no way comprehensive, but hopefully it provides some ideas of where to begin in looking for resources remotely.
Lyndsey Garrett lives in London. She took a bit of a wrong turn after school and ended up as an accountant for the next several years. As a current Creative Writing BA student at Birkbeck University she’s now working hard to remedy that! Lyndsey was a Notable Contender in the 2017 Bristol Prize. She is a member of the Secret Garden Writing Club and manages the MIROnline Blog.