Lothian Lockdown: The Lothian Video Diary Project


This project involves collecting self-recorded video diaries from residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians, to understand the range and type of different experiences with the stay-at-home order.

Core Methods

Contributors upload a self-recorded video diary and then answer a survey about their identity, lifestyle, attitudes, and experiences. The research team is comprised of linguists, political scientists, psychotherapists, and data scientists, so our methodology will be varied depending on the particular output. Initial output will be a quantitative analysis of group-level differences in experienced, accompanied by a qualitative analysis of relevant case studies.

Methodological Challenges and Questions

We are hoping to collect video diaries in multiple language varieties, and it will be a challenge to process that data correctly and quickly, but it could also raise interesting questions about how lockdown is experienced by the members of our community whose voices are not usually heard. Similarly, we are hoping to collect video diaries from any age group, which introduces some ethical challenges in terms of those under 16, but also raises the opportunity to hear directly from the voices of young people.


  • Automatic transcription by Peter Bell (Centre for Speech Technology Research) will provide a first pass of transcribing the videos, which will then be manually corrected.
  • Automatic phone alignment by Nina Markl (UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Natural Language Processing) will segment out every vowel and consonant of every video, which will allow for linguistic analysis.
  • Phonetic analysis, demographic coding, and Bayesian mixed models will provide an overall picture of the data.
  • Discourse analysis, stance coding, and semiotic interpretation will provide the context for the interpretation of the data.



  • Dr Lauren Hall-Lew, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  • Dr Claire Cowie, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  • Dr Catherine Lai, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  • Dr Sarah Liu, School of Social and Political Science
  • Dr Nini Fang, School of Health in Social Science
  • Dr Beatrice Alex, School of Literature, Languages and Culture and School of Informatics
  • Dr Clare Llewellyn, School of Social and Political Science


  • Museums & Galleries Edinburgh COVID-19 Committee
  • Scottish Parliament
  • Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh


e: lothiandiaries@gmail.com 

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