Megan Pillow

is creating a digital archive of caregiver stories

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Mother's Little Helper

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Right now, all of our tiers are for general archive support. Once our website goes live, our model will shift so that patrons at this level will receive added benefits from their support.
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Right now, all of our tiers are for general archive support. Once our website goes live, our model will shift so that patrons at this level will receive added benefits from their support.
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You Bought Us Flowers!

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Right now, all of our tiers are for general archive support. Once our website goes live, our model will shift so that patrons at this level will receive added benefits from their support.
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About Megan Pillow

Journalists across the country are telling story after story after story about how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic has been on caregivers. Parents, especially mothers, and people who are caring for disabled people and the elderly are leaving and losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands and staying home in order to take care of our society's most vulnerable members. While media coverage is important, those individual stories are a piecemeal depiction of a pervasive and pernicious social problem: the lives of caregivers, the majority of them women, are being submerged beneath volumes of care work, and in many cases, no one is helping them. Most of these stories of what caregivers are facing during this pandemic will never make it to the digital or physical pages of major newspapers. Instead, they will simply disappear. 

Submerged: An Archive Of Caregivers Underwater is a new project designed to preserve those vital stories. Founder Dr. Megan Pillow is creating a digital space to house the stories of caregivers in the COVID-19 pandemic so that the United States will have a tangible reminder that during its most significant national crisis in more than a hundred years, this country was propped up not by politicians or government safety nets but by essential workers, including the critical support of millions of uncompensated and unassisted caregivers.

Dr. Pillow is using her background in archival studies, disability studies, and minoritarian literatures to create an interdisciplinary digital repository to chronicle and preserve these stories. Once it is live, Submerged Archive will preserve all submitted caregiver stories; it will, however, also honor and operate utilizing the methodologies, principles, and hiring practices of archivistsmemory workers, and scholars who have dedicated themselves to pushing back on the legacy of white supremacy in the archives.

The focus of Submerged Archive will be on preserving and uplifting the caregiver stories from the populations that the archives of the United States have often excluded: the stories of Indigenous, Black, and other caregivers of color; disabled caregivers; undocumented caregivers; queer caregivers; and working class and low-income caregivers. In order to archive those stories as efficiently and democratically as possible, this project will utilize demographic data collection and analysis (while respecting individual caregivers' needs for privacy and/or anonymity) and significant community outreach and engagement.  

The larger goal of Submerged Archive is to create not just a repository, but an archival practice of recording caregiver stories that is decolonized, collaborative, and rooted in the lives and experiences of individuals and their communities. 

But Dr. Pillow is a single mom and caregiver herself; aside from valuable and necessary assistance from the staff of Pidgeonholes - the journal publishing her column on caregiver stories which will help to launch this project - Dr. Pillow is building this project largely on her own. Until she can establish the archive as a nonprofit and is able to secure grant funding, she will rely on crowdsourced funding and community support to move this project forward. By becoming a patron, you'll help create a space to house the stories of parents and other caregivers everywhere who are watching their livelihoods, their independence, and their identities disappear.

At the same time, your funding will also provide immediate, tangible support for mothers and families: while Dr. Pillow constructs her website, establishes partnerships, and seeks out archivists and/or memory workers to help implement the project, she'll donate 25 percent of her Patreon proceeds every month to established nonprofits currently supporting mothers and families, and she'll continue to donate a quarter of all proceeds to those organizations for as long as the archive is in existence.

Together, we can create an archive that will preserve the stories of caregivers in the pandemic and eventually, the stories of caregivers at large. And in time, those stories can serve as both as a comprehensive, liberatory repository of caregiver stories and as one of many tools that can be used to promote policy changes that can establish a broader network of social support for caregivers in the United States.

That support is critical, because every caregiver, and every story, should be saved.

Recent posts by Megan Pillow

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