The meaning in the stars as a memorium to the pain caused by COVID-19

As part of the Stars project (https://theconversation.com/why-do-different-cultures-see-such-similar-meanings-in-the-constellations-121981) and in collaboration with the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) we are developing an online memorial for victims of COVID-19, particularly for those that fall outside the standard media coverage or are prevented from mourning their loss due to ongoing restrictions.

Design students from DIDI, supervised by Dr Renata Morais and colleagues, are creating an online virtual universe of stars to use as a data visualisation tool. Users will engage with the space by identifying constellations amongst the ‘stars’, naming their constellation and leaving a story as a memory of someone they have lost to the pandemic. The space will be searchable and updated for as long as it needs to be. Not only do we hope that this gives some comfort and meaning to the mourning, we intend it to be a durable and dynamic virtual representation of the global suffering caused by this virus. We also hope it serves as some reminder of what we can learn from where we are now and make a better, kinder and more inclusive future.