Founded in 2019 as part of the Design for Social Change project (Semester VII), the White Lines Collective is a social design inquiry into narratives of mental health and wellbeing in higher education institutions and among young adults. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, this project focused on visually documenting narratives and experiences of the pandemic from the perspectives of individuals aged 18 to 26 years through digital media. Through frameworks of co-creation and participatory design, the project created avenues for young individuals to come together and interact in one space. The inquiry hypothesises ‘collective experiences’: the notion that there is a similarity in experiences of young people during this time of distress. This was explored through ethnographically-driven documentation and research projects that collected narratives of the pandemic. It examined means to counter feelings of loneliness and isolation and the creation of safe digital spaces. This project attempts to understand how young people document their lives through digital and creative media. The outcomes were curated to develop a participatory digital platform: Whitelines-Covid Collections. The platform shares these projects as interactive exhibits and also empowers young people to contribute their stories.
Keywords: co-creation, COVID-19, mental health, participatory art, visual documentation