TRENDS Diary: Boulder Covid Stories Project Captures the Diversity of Pandemic Experiences

Carolyn Kerchof at her Boulder Covid Stories “office” in North Boulder Park

TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dear TRENDS Diary,

My name is Carolyn Kerchof. I’m the creator of Boulder Covid Stories, a storytelling and print publishing project about how people in Boulder have experienced the pandemic.

I moved to Boulder from Switzerland, where I’d been living for 7 years, in March 2020, right before the Coronavirus pandemic started in the US.

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I craved a connection to the town around me. I felt like if I could just talk to people, I could figure out where I was.

So, in the summer of 2020, I set up the office for the first time in North Boulder Park. It was just two chairs, placed six feet apart, and a sign that said “The Boulder Covid Stories office is open.” All sorts of people stopped to talk.

Since then, I’ve been conducting interviews in parks and other public spaces throughout Boulder. The people I interviewed include high school students, PhD candidates at CU, food deliverers, sorority sisters, executives, local authors, athletes, older adults, unhoused people, parents, grandparents, people who were getting divorced, people who lived alone, people who lived in a commune, and people who lived in long-term care.

The Boulder Covid Stories office offered something that was missing during the pandemic: a place to talk with a stranger about life. It also offered me insight into the diversity of pandemic experiences in Boulder, and into Boulder as a city.

This year-long interview project will culminate in a collection of creative nonfiction about how people experienced the pandemic, to be published this winter. These personal essays reflect on the broad range of experiences people in Boulder have had over the past year and a half. They also reflect on Boulder as a specific place with a local history that shapes how we live here.

To learn more about the project, visit the website, There, you can also find information about participating in the crowdfunding campaign, through which you can order an advance copy of the Boulder Covid Stories print publication. You can also follow Boulder Covid Stories on Instagram.

Last summer I met Heather Schulte at an in-person stitching session at the Museum of Boulder. On June 10th at the Museum of Boulder, Heather and I will be hosting a panel discussion about how local artists have been building community during the pandemic.

The director of the T2 dance company, Erin Tunbridge, will also be taking part in the panel discussion, which will be moderated by the local writer and musician Jennifer Davis-Flynn. I will also read from drafts of the upcoming Boulder Covid Stories print publication. You can register for the event on Eventbrite via the Museum of Boulder’s website.

– Carolyn Kerchof