Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact us if you can't find the answer to your question below. 

What does taking part involve?

We hope you will feel inspired to write something in response to our prompts. We aim to send out a prompt every week to move you to write about your lives in a creative way. The prompt might include an image, a question, a link to short article or video. 

You could respond with a short piece of life-writing in the first or third person, a poem, a piece of bio- or autobiographical fiction, a journal entry, letter. It is up to you. You can write as much or as little as you wish.

Who will see my contributions?

When your contributions reach us, a member of the OCLW team will read your writing and, if you have given your permission, consider it for publication on our website. We will store all the contributions on the University of Oxford’s password-protected system. 

If you are happy for us to share what you have written, please make this clear when you send us your writing. We strongly encourage you to use initials or made-up names for the people you mention, and to do your best not to inadvertently identify yourself within your reply. 

Will I receive feedback on my creative work?

We will read everything but unfortunately, we won’t have time to provide feedback on any one piece of creative work. However, if we have invited a writer or researcher to suggest a prompt for us, we might ask that person to write a short blog post summarising their general reflections on the writing people have sent in. 

How much should I write?

That depends entirely on you. We are never going to say that you've written too much or too little, we know that some subjects inspire some people and leave others cold. If you don’t feel inspired by a prompt, please feel free to send us a diary or journal entry or write about something that happened that week.  

Do I have to write every month?

We would love it if you did, but we understand that inspiration ebbs and flows, and life gets in the way of even life-writing. We will be happy to receive as many or as few contributions as you would like to send us. 

Is there a deadline?

We won’t usually specify a deadline unless a guest writer has set the prompt, and only then because we will send them a bundle of responses to read and reflect on. But you are welcome to respond to any of the past prompts at any time, we just ask that you make it clear on your submission to which prompt you are responding.

If my writing appears on your website does this count as a publication?

The copyright of your writing will remain with you, but you should be aware that many literary publications count publishing work on a blog or website as a publication, so if you intend to submit your creative work for publication elsewhere we suggest you ask us not to publish it on our website. If you want to simply use our prompts and keep what you have written to yourself, you are welcome to do so. 

Can I leave the project?

Of course! You can stop participating at any point, just click ‘unsubscribe’ on any of the emails we have sent; or let us know by email that you want to withdraw. If you would like us to delete your contact details and contributions, simply write to

Is this research?

One of our aims in starting the Life-Writing of Immeasurable Events project is to contribute to the public record of the CODIV-19 pandemic as events unfold, and to understand how people might respond in creative and literary ways at this particular moment in history. 

How will my personal data be used?

We will take all reasonable measures to ensure that any personal information remains confidential. We strongly encourage you to use initials or made-up names for the people you mention, and to do your best not to inadvertently identify yourself. 

Your data will be stored in a password-protected file and may be used in academic publications. Your IP address will not be stored. Research data will be stored for a minimum of three years after publication or public release.

Who will have access to my data?

The University of Oxford is the data controller with respect to your personal data, and as such will determine how your personal data is used in the study. The University will process your personal data for the purpose of the research outlined above. Research is a task that we perform in the public interest.  Further information about your rights with respect to your personal data is available here.

Responsible members of the University of Oxford and funders may be given access to data for monitoring and/or audit of the study to ensure we are complying with guidelines, or as otherwise required by law.

This project has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through, the University of Oxford Central University Research Ethics Committee.

Who do I contact if I have a concern about the project or I wish to complain? 

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, please speak to Dr Katherine Collins. I will acknowledge your concern within 10 working days and give you an indication of how it will be dealt with.  If you remain unhappy or wish to make a formal complaint, please contact the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford who will seek to resolve the matter as soon as Possible: Chair, Department of Education Research Committee Email: Department of Education, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford, OX2 6PY.