I Remember / Alec Finlay


A communal memory of the pandemic, composed for Scotland’s Covid Memorial.


In Spring 2020 The Herald established a public fund to create Scotland’s Covid Memorial. The final artwork in Pollok Country Park was designed by poet and artist Alec Finlay, and is accompanied by this book of remembrance, illustrated by the artist with brush and ink paintings of some of the contributions.

Hundreds of people from across Scotland – poets, artists, healthcare workers, care home staff, bereaved families, people with Long Covid – have contributed their memories. Together the resulting chorus describes a narrative arc, from the early days, before anyone had died, to the most recent wave of infections.

I Remember is the first truly collective response to the historic event of the pandemic, and a reminder that it remains an ongoing reality for those whose lives have been altered by loss, chronic illness, economic hardship, and heartfelt anguish. This project furthers a culture of recuperation, allowing the diversity of lived experiences of Covid to rest alongside one another – from harrowing loss and affliction, to nurture, loving care, humour, and touching acts of witness. The resulting collection is an act of solidarity, demanding that the left behind not be left behind, and insisting we create a kinder and fairer world in response to the pandemic.

An I Remember audiobook, read by Robert Carlyle, can be heard on Bandcamp.


Alec Finlay is an artist & poet whose work crosses over a range of media and forms. Much of Finlay’s work considers how we relate to landscape and ecology, including place-awareness, hutopianism, rewilding, and disability access. Recent work includes HUTOPIA, for the Fondazione Prada exhibition ‘Machines á penser’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

The ‘I remember’ form was first devised by Joe Brainard in the 1970s and has been adopted, with gratitude, by a number of artists and writers since.