An empty freeway in Melbourne
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/collection/hero_image05-2021/covid_cc-hero1.jpg

Creativity in the Time of COVID

Creativity in the Time of COVID

Documenting a nation in lockdown

The NFSA is collecting a diverse range of audiovisual material created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

In 2020, the world as we knew it changed. Australians moved quickly to a 'new normal' that included quarantines, self-isolation and lockdown periods.

During this time, people responded to the effects of COVID-19 in many ways – to connect with others, stave off boredom and engage with their own sense of creativity. 

This collection includes some of those creative responses, as reflected in news reports from 2020 but also in drag queen lip syncs, comedic cooking videos and heartwarming web series.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons.

Main image: Melbourne's Eastern Freeway (M3) near Abbotsford, during COVID-19 lockdown. Courtesy Jamie van Leeuwen

Nat’s What I Reckon: Carbo-rona Sauce
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
164170
Courtesy:
Nat’s What I Reckon
Year:
Year

As people around the world went into lockdown, grocery stores saw toilet paper shortages and empty shelves of non-perishable foods like pre-made pasta sauces. 

Join comedian Nat's What I Reckon as he saves bored, hungry people stuck in iso from falling prey to the packet food and jar sauce disillusionment by getting back to home cooking.

This episode of his series of viral instructional videos looks at making the classic carbonara (or Carbo-rona), but spiced up with Nat's signature humour and a liberal sprinkling of f-bombs! 

Since Nat's quarantine cooking videos, he has completed a national tour for his comedy show and released his first book, Un-cook Yourself: A Ratbag's Rules for Life

You can view more quarantine cooking videos on the Nat's What I Reckon YouTube channel

Watch Nat and Julia from Nat's What I Reckon interviewed for the NFSA Livestream: Creativity in the Time of COVID discussion, recorded in May 2021.

WARNING: This clip contains coarse language
Australia Locked Down: Brendan Schonfelder interview
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NFSA ID
1640645
Courtesy:
Jamie van Leeuwen and Brenden Schonfelder
Year:
Year

Jamie van Leeuwen is the filmmaker and photographer behind the Australia Locked Down project, a crowdsourced audiovisual library dedicated to recording the impact of COVID-19 in Australia.

In this video he interviews Brenden Schonfelder, a Yarra Trams driver and photographer, who talks about the impact of the lockdown on Melbourne, the opportunity to document the beauty of the city after curfew at night and the important role of public transport staff in supporting essential workers to do their jobs.

Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton Review 2020
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640662
Courtesy:
The Chaser
Year:
Year

If 2020 was a film, it would be a disaster of a movie in almost every way.

Australia's beloved film critics David Stratton and Margaret Pomerantz reunite to review the tumultuous and bizarre year that was 2020. 

Featured as part of a series of 13 short web skits by Australian satirists The Chaser, The War on 2020 explores the topical issues that we faced over the course of the year.

From bushfires and lockdown life to 'Karens' and racial equity, The Chaser continue to challenge and entertain audiences by putting their own unique satirical spin on current affairs. 

You can view more of The War on 2020 at The Chaser's Youtube channel

Joyce Maynge: Stay Safe Stay Home
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1638414
Courtesy:
Joyce Maynge (Shane Pascoe)
Year:
Year

In this public service announcement, Sydney drag queen Joyce Maynge (Shane Pascoe) hilariously dances on the rooftop balcony of their Potts Point apartment building to Robyn’s 'Dancing on My Own'.

One YouTube commentator describes Joyce as 'like a beautiful tropical fish that fell out of the tank'.

Like many restless artists and performers during COVID-19 lockdown, Joyce’s regular performance venues were shut down. 

Watch Joyce Maynge interviewed for the NFSA Livestream: Creativity in the Time of COVID discussion, recorded in May 2021.

Instead, performers like Joyce creatively turned their bedrooms and apartments into stages to bring their artistry online.

Maynge is also represented in the NFSA collection in a series of flash mob videos and a special on the 2002 Sydney Gay Games. 

Watch Joyce Maynge interviewed for the NFSA Livestream: Creativity in the Time of COVID discussion, recorded in May 2021.

COVID-19 Pandemic Profile: Nat’s What I Reckon
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1639822
Courtesy:
Nat’s What I Reckon
Year:
Year

Nat is a comedian, rock musician, isolation cooking champion and mental health ambassador.

For nearly a decade Nat has been making hilarious videos as Nat's What I Reckon, publishing via his social media channel irreverent reviews of trade shows, tattoo events and burnout festivals, holding a mirror up to the weirdness of masculine culture and everyday life.

Joined in recent years by his partner Julia, Nat was preparing for a stand-up comedy tour of Australia when the pandemic hit, scuttling a year's worth of plans.

Responding quickly, Nat and Julia filmed and published a video episode called How to Make Quarantine Sauce, which had an overwhelming response, clocking up millions of views in a few days.

Riding this wave of popularity, Nat became the champion chef and folk hero of the darkest pandemic days, making people laugh while teaching them how to toss out the processed jar sauce and cook wholesome home-made meals.

In this clip, Nat and Julia talk about the inspiration for the lockdown recipe episodes, and why the series connected so broadly, bringing joy into the kitchens and lives of many through the simple act of having anarchic cooking fun, with a liberal dash of swearing thrown in, during a stressful time.

This interview was recorded on 2 March 2021.

Love in Lockdown: Episode 1
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1621968
Courtesy:
Gristmill Productions
Year:
Year

When the COVID-19 lockdown hits, what else is there to do but take some online ukulele lessons and fall in love? 

The web series Love in Lockdown explores the unlikely budding romance of ukelele teacher Ned (Eddie Perfect) and unwilling student Georgie (Lucy Durack) as they navigate the ups and downs of surviving a global pandemic and lockdown.  

Produced by Gristmill Productions (Australians Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope) and written by Robyn Butler and Lucy Durack, Love in Lockdown won the ACCTA Award for Best Online Drama or Comedy in 2020. 

This clip is episode 1. You can view the rest of this web series at the Gristmill website.

COVID-19 Pandemic Profile: Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope
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NFSA ID
1636537
Year:
Year

Both Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope are actors, writers, directors and producers, and together they run the acclaimed production company Gristmill.

As an actor, Robyn is best known for her starring role in the television comedy series The Librarians (2007–10), and Wayne has enjoyed a long career appearing in comedy programs and films such as The Castle (1997) and BoyTown (2006).

Robyn and Wayne's production company Gristmill has produced many successful series, such as Upper Middle Bogan (2013–16), The Librarians, Very Small Business (2008) and Little Lunch (2015–16).

In March 2020, Robyn and Wayne were deep in development for their next slate of programs when the pandemic hit – but in the spirit of 'pivoting' they were able to turn the disruption into a positive.

Approached by the recently out-of-work star of Wicked, Lucy Durack, the team rapidly responded to unfolding events by writing and producing the online romantic comedy series Love in Lockdown. They practically invented the quarantine rom-com genre over their 17-day schedule.

In this clip, Robyn and Wayne talk about the many challenges they encountered in producing the series, especially the added complication of co-star Eddie Perfect being based remotely in Sydney while Lucy, Robin and Wayne were all in Melbourne.

Anzac Day in lockdown, 2020
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1641395
Courtesy:
Nine Network
Year:
Year

Nine News reporter Andrew Lund shows that despite large public gatherings being banned due to the impact of COVID-19, families and neighbours joined together to commemorate Anzac Day in their driveways and on the streets on 25 April 2020.

While the veterans missed being able to gather together with their comrades, they were touched by the community spirit, particularly from the younger generations. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Profile: Jamie van Leeuwen
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1635107
Courtesy:
Jamie van Leeuwen
Year:
Year

Jamie van Leeuwen is a photojournalist and filmmaker, based in Melbourne. 

In this clip, Jamie talks about his personal creative response to the pandemic, and his belief that the collected work of the public is a far more realistic measure of life during the pandemic than sensationalistic news stories.

Predominantly used to covering sport, Jamie found his day-to-day work disrupted as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Australia and Melbourne in March 2020, shutting down sporting events and venues.

Attracted by the surreal and frightening sight of Melbourne's empty streets, Jamie started visually documenting the effect of the pandemic on the urban life and environment of Melbourne, using both stills camera and drone.

Through careful negotiation, Jamie gained access to areas such as the State Library of Victoria and the MCG and city streets after curfew.

He created the Australia Locked Down website to publish his work, and then he opened up contributions to the public nationally, effectively turning the website into a vibrant visual archive of life during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

Australia Locked Down: Joel McKerrow Visual Poem
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1639392
Courtesy:
Jamie van Leeuwen and Joel McKerrow
Year:
Year

Jamie van Leeuwen is the filmmaker and photographer behind the Australia Locked Down project, a crowdsourced audiovisual library dedicated to recording the impact of COVID-19 in Australia.

Featuring Melbourne-based performance poet Joel McKerrow and directed by Jamie van Leeuwen, the words and images reflect experience of the pandemic as it progressively affected Melbourne in 2020.

From international news to 'my suburb, my streets, my front door' – the city closes down and cafes, buses, trains and libraries empty.

But despite rising uncertainty, the poem finishes on an upbeat note, depicting lives slowing down and the bravery of frontline workers – 'the human spirit is nothing if not resilient'.

COVID-19 Pandemic Profile: Libby Butler
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1638272
Year:
Year

Libby Butler is an experienced freelance scriptwriter, mainly through FremantleMedia for series such as Neighbours and most recently Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries.

With the impact of the 2020 pandemic on the production of TV, Libby temporarily channelled her creativity elsewhere.

Together with Lewis Mulholland she created, wrote, produced and directed the online series Loving Captivity, a 6 x 6-minute short form romantic comedy about a single mother finding unlikely love in lockdown.

Debuting on Facebook at the height of Melbourne's second COVID-19 wave, Loving Captivity garnered huge acclaim in mainstream media and over 100K views within its first month of release.

In this clip, Libby discusses the freedom that a social media platform allowed her in the creation of the series, the public response and the bittersweet experience of having a huge hit just as Melbourne went into stage 4 lockdown.

Loving Captivity
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1631697
Courtesy:
Heroine Productions
Year:
Year

Single mum Ally (Christie Whelan Browne) agrees to an online iso-date with Joe (Lewis Mulholland), the man who dumped her before COVID-19 changed the world.

Created by Libby Butler and Lewis Mulholland, and released during the height of Melbourne's second lockdown, Loving Captivity is a frank exploration of love, relationships and family set within the constraints of a locked-down world. 

This clip is from the first episode. You can view the rest of the episode and the entire web series on the Loving Captivity Facebook page

NITV News: Quarantine Camp for Remote Community Members
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640485
Courtesy:
NITV
Year:
Year

Hundreds of remote residents locked out of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic prepare to return home, through a quarantine camp hosted by South Australia’s native title holders.

NITV reporter Sam Okely visits the camp and hears from the residents of the hardships they faced being away from their communities, but also their resilience in the face of the pandemic.

This story aired on NITV (National Indigenous Television) on 19 August 2020.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Teddy Bear Hunt: Melissa Kleynhans
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1610289
Courtesy:
3AW
Year:
Year

Dee Dee Dunleavy interviews Melissa Kleynhans who has set up Facebook page 'We're going on a bear hunt', bringing joy to children during the uncertainty of lockdown.

People join in the community spirit by putting teddy bears in their windows so children can spot them when they go for a walk.

Photos of bears in windows are posted on the Facebook page, spreading the joy to a wider community.

This clip was broadcast on 3AW Afternoons with Dee Dee on 24 March 2020.

Cover image from 3AW.com.au 

Local musicians in lockdown
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640214
Courtesy:
Prime7 Network
Year:
Year

Prime7 reporter Mel Wightman finds a positive result from the otherwise negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the local entertainment industry.

Faced with having his first album tour and gigs cancelled, Central West NSW musician Robbie Mortimer spent his time in lockdown writing songs (including 'Mountains & the Sea', heard here).

Local Orange recording studio Dotted Eight has been kept busy with a constant stream of musicians recording music.

To support the industry, owner Craig Honeysett also put on live stream events so local musicians could perform.

This news report aired on 9 November 2020.

Early news report of virus on radio 4BC
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1610367
Courtesy:
4BC
Year:
Year

A radio news report from 6 January 2020 shows that it was still unknown as to exactly what sort of virus was infecting people in China.

The report states that Chinese officials were referring to it as a viral pneumonia and have ruled out SARS as being the underlying virus.

The World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and a global pandemic on 11 March 2020.

Beyond the Bars: COVID-19 and Prisons
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1639864
Courtesy:
3CR
Year:
Year

Heather, a Noongar woman incarcerated at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre women's prison in Victoria, talks about the impact of COVID-19 on prisons and inmates, and how small infractions can send people to jail.

This interview excerpt comes from a compilation of recordings drawn on for the Beyond the Bars broadcast by 3CR radio.

Beyond the Bars is a long-running prison broadcast celebrating National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victorian jails.

In 2020, because of COVID-19 restrictions, Beyond the Bars recorded short recordings over the phone, rather than their usual live prison broadcasts.

These individual recordings were compiled and broadcast from 6–10 July, when NAIDOC Week would normally have been taking place (in 2020, it was rescheduled from July to November).

These recordings include the voices of the men and women from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Loddon/Middleton Prison, Barwon Prison, Karreenga Annex and Fulham Correctional Centre.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
SBS: How to Wear a Face Mask Correctly, Samoan Subtitles
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640463
Courtesy:
SBS
Year:
Year

To ensure that people from non-English speaking backgrounds were receiving accurate COVID-19 information, SBS produced these announcements in multiple languages on their social media channels.

This video explains how to correctly wear a face mask. It was produced by SBS Arabic24 with subtitled versions created in other languages. The videos were published on SBS Radio's Facebook pages and other channels during 2020.

This announcement is spoken in English with the subtitles in the Samoan language. 

Matthew Dino: Superheroes in Disguise
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1638502
Courtesy:
Seven Network
Year:
Year

Eleven-year-old Matthew Dino went viral with the song he wrote as a tribute to frontline healthcare workers, 'Superheroes in Disguise'.

His teacher set him a lockdown school project on something he's passionate about. Matthew has a love of music and was inspired by his parents, both nurses working with COVID patients at Westmead Hospital.

When staff at Westmead Hospital heard the song they insisted on creating a music video.

Monique Wright and Matt Doran interviewed Matthew about his song on Weekend Sunrise on 26 September 2020.

SBS: How Masks Limit the Spread of COVID-19, Punjabi Language
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640460
Courtesy:
SBS
Year:
Year

To ensure that people from non-English speaking backgrounds were receiving accurate COVID-19 information, SBS produced these announcements in multiple languages for social media.

The clip follows the World Health Organisation's guidance on the use of masks to protect against, and limit the spread of, COVID-19.

The videos were published on SBS Radio's Facebook language group pages in August 2020. The vertical portrait orientation of the clip makes it ideal for viewing on smartphones.

This announcement was produced in the Punjabi language.

Cup Day Without Crowds, 2020
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1640243
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

With crowds banned from Flemington Racecourse, Network Ten had to find other ways of reporting the colourful stories during Melbourne Cup Day on 3 November 2020.

This clip sets up what will be screened throughout the day.

Instead of interviews with fans at the track, the coverage featured people celebrating around Australia in different ways, from croc racing in Darwin to showing off their fashions on the driveway at home.

Another innovation promised here is a virtual race between former Melbourne Cup winners Makybe Diva and Phar Lap.

The impact of no crowds can be seen in an aerial shot of presenters Gorgi Coghlan and Stephen Quartermain in a crowdless concourse.

Winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup was Twilight Payment, ridden by Jye McNeil and trained by Joseph O'Brien.

SBS: COVID-19 Rules and Guidelines, Dinka language
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1641020
Courtesy:
SBS
Year:
Year

To ensure that people from non-English speaking backgrounds were receiving accurate COVID-19 information, SBS produced these announcements in over 60 languages for their newly created, dedicated Coronavirus online portal.

This video, in the Dinka language, explains what Coronavirus is, the new rules of lockdown and the guidelines to prevent the spread.

The videos were also published on the SBS Australia YouTube channel, SBS Radio Facebook pages and other social media channels.

3AW report on cancellation of Australian Grand Prix
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1610289
Courtesy:
3AW
Year:
Year

Neil Mitchell interviews reporter Shane McInnes live from the Albert Park gates on the first day of the Australian Grand Prix.

Gates were not open amidst uncertainty as to whether the event would be cancelled because of COVID-19. Fans are lined up waiting to find out if the gates will open.

The event was ultimately cancelled, hours before the first practice session was due to begin.

This report aired on 13 March 2020.