Bear in a Window: collecting Australian children’s stories of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chloé Diskin-Holdaway, Barbara F. Kelly, Joanne Arciuli, Beena Ahmed

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The Bear in a Window project captures Australian children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We focused on children’s experiences of lockdown, or extended periods of home confinement, ranging from one to 100 days at a time between 2020 and 2021. Using the online experimental platform, Gorilla, we invited children aged 3–12 to record themselves telling stories about the positives and negatives of life in lockdown to our mascot, Covey Bear. Recordings were saved on the Gorilla server and orthographically and automatically transcribed using Sonix, with manual correction. Preliminary analyses of 18 children’s recordings illustrate several emergent topics, reflecting children’s experiences of the pandemic in the areas of health and wellbeing; education and online learning; digital engagement; family and friends; relationships; and mealtimes and food. We found that in their storytelling, children engaged in a wide variety of discourse strategies to hold the floor, indicate focus, and transition to different topics. The project will contribute to a national public collection of Australian children’s COVID-19 stories and create a digital repository of Australian children’s talk that will be available to researchers across different disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalLinguistics Vanguard
Early online date18 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2024


  • children
  • COVID-19
  • discourse analysis
  • remote data collection


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